How to Sell to the University of Alaska
The intent of this booklet is to provide helpful information to potential University vendors. We want to work in partnership with you to get things we need to operate the University and to use public money efficiently.
The University spends about $130 million each year on goods, services and construction to provide for its needs. We need reliable businesses to offer quality goods and services at competitive prices.
Competition and fair play is the name of the game. We will treat each vendor with fairness, honesty, and equity; and we expect the same. Our goal is to accomplish this through sound ethical purchasing practices.
- What does the University Buy?
- How do I know if the University wants to buy what I sell?
- How do I market my goods and Services?
- How can I get on the Consolidated Bidders Mailing List?
- Who do I sell to?
- Where can I sell my goods and services?
- What guides our actions?
- How does the University make purchases?
- What types of specifications does the University use?
- How do I submit a proposal?
- What if I have questions or suggestions?
- What if I believe the solicitation is improper as issued?
- What happens at bid opening?
- Is a proposal opening the same as a bid opening?
- What if my bid or proposal is late?
- How will the University evaluate my bid?
- How will the University evaluate my proposal?
- What preferences may apply?
- What may cause my bid/proposal to be rejected?
- How do I know I won?
- What if I disagree with the contract award?
- What happens now that I have the contract?
- What if I can't deliver as promised?
- How do I submit invoices?
- Are there ethical rules that apply?
- Where can I get more information?
1. What does the University buy?
We acquire all types of supplies, equipment, and services, including construction. We use these to fill out needs for offices, laboratories, buildings, classrooms, boats, farms, research projects, and so on. You name it, we probably buy it because of the many programs we sponsor.
2. How do I know if the University wants to buy what I sell?
We may contact you verbally or in writing. If you are on the Consolidated Bid List for the type of goods we intend to buy, we will notify you of formal bid or proposal opportunities. For small purchases, the Purchase Officer invites price quotes from vendors in the local area, and beyond if necessary.
We also publish notice of formal opportunities for large purchases in the Alaska Administrative Journal, published by the Alaska State Legislative Affairs Agency. Most state offices have access through the network, or you can use a modem. Their help number is (907) 465-3858. We also invite bids for construction in the Daily Journal of Commerce and local newspapers. Copies of current invitations for bid or requests for proposals are available from the pertinent University Purchasing Office, upon request.
Public notices can be viewed at the following web sites:
State of Alaska Public Notices: http://notes.state.ak.us/pn/pubnotic.nsf
University of Alaska Notices: http://www.uaf.edu/procurement/community/solicitations/
3. How do I market my goods and services?
First, get on the University of Alaska Consolidated Bidders Mailing List. The UA Statewide System Procurement Office maintains this bid list for use by all of the campuses. We use the Bid List to let you know of large purchases. We may also use bid lists for small purchases. You only get on the Bid List by applying. Just because you have received a purchase order from the University does not necessarily mean you are on the list. So, even though you may still bid if you are not on the Bid List, but we may not know to send you a notice of an upcoming bid.
Second, provide current brochures and catalogs to the Purchasing Office. You may provide this information to departments for small dollar purchases as well.
Third, be competitive and responsive. When submitting a competitive offer, do exactly as the invitation requests. We can only consider your bid if it meets the stated requirements. We award most contracts to the responsive, responsible bidder that offers the lowest price.
Finally, when you receive an order or contract, do exactly as it states. If you run into trouble, let the purchasing officer know immediately.
4. How can I get on the Consolidated Bidders Mailing List?
Call or write for a form: Bidder’s application packet
University of Alaska
Statewide Procurement Office
910 Yukon Drive, Suite 208
PO Box 755100
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5100
phone: (907) 450-8026
fax: (907) 450-8023
The only requirement necessary to be placed on the Bidder’s mailing list is an Alaska Business License. There are no fees.
If you want to stay on the bid list but don’t want to respond to a particular bid, just write “no bid” on the first page of the bid request, jot the bid number on the lower left corner of the envelope and send it to us before the bid opening. If you want your named dropped from the bid list, write to the bid list custodian. We will remove your name on request, if you do not tell us of a change of address, or if you do not respond to several consecutive proposals your company will be removed.
5. Who can I sell to?
- Purchasing is largely centralized at Purchasing Offices at each campus. Only persons with specific authority may place orders or bind the University.
- You may deal with one of five offices, depending on the situation.
- The Statewide Procurement Office takes care of matters affecting all campuses and colleges. They maintain Bid lists, set policy, standardize contract terms, and act as an appeal point in bid protests or contract disputes.
- The Purchasing Offices at the major campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau issue bids for all large purchases in their region. They also make small purchases for their own campus.
- Each major department of each campus may make small dollar purchases (generally under $5,000 each) without going through a centralized Purchasing Office. Departments also have the use of a Procurement Card (Mastercard) as the primary vehicle for small purchases.
- At the UAA and UAS rural campuses, the Business Office at the campus usually appoints a person to serve as the purchase officer for small purchases.
- Construction and related services are handled by the Division of Design & Construction office at UAF, by the Facilities Planning & Construction office at UAA, and the Physical Plant at UAS.
6. Where can I sell my goods and services?
The address and phone number for the Purchasing Offices for each campus are located on the back page. You can provide information to people who do not have procurement authority, but an order or award can only be issued by a Procurement Officer. If you proceed without an official order, you do so at your own risk.
7. What guides our actions?
As a public entity of the State, special rules guide our business dealings. These rules include the State Procurement Code (Alaska Statute 36.30), UA Board of Regent’s Policy, the Uniform Commercial Code (Alaska Statute 45.02), and our purchasing procedures. Our purchasing rules are similar to the State of Alaska’s.
8. How does the University make purchases?
In short, we must get a competition for the purchase of goods and services. The total amount of the purchase normally controls the type and formality of competition.
Large Procurement (Over $50,000): We commonly use the Invitation for Bids (IFB) or Request for Proposals (RFP) processes to make large purchases. We send solicitation notices to everyone on the Consolidated Bidders Mailing List for the class of the item or services we want to buy.
Small Procurement: We get adequate competition through Requests for Quotation (RFQ) for small purchases. We contact several firms, generally beginning in the local area and extending statewide or out of state as necessary. To increase the likelihood of contact, it is helpful to keep the Purchasing Office updated about your company’s product line and capabilities.
Small procurement limits are defined as follows:
- Supplies & Non Personal Services ($5,000 to $50,000)
- Professional Services (up to $50,000): Services that are primarily intellectual in nature.
- Concession contracts, hotel, convention, or catering services (up to $50,000)
- Construction ($5,000 to $100,000)
- Leased real property (less than 3,000 square feet)
- Commercial passenger transportation, including charter services (up to $10,000)
Small dollar purchases (less than $5,000): Small dollar purchases are considered discretionary and are made by the various departments without formal intervention by the campus Purchasing Department.
There are also exceptions to some competition requirements when sound justification exists. This includes emergencies, certain copyright material, resale items, guest speakers, medical research supplies, and several other situations.
9. What type of specifications does the University use?
Whenever possible, we will use nonrestrictive purchase descriptions. We may also use brand name or equal specifications where you can offer a brand that, in the opinion of the University, is of substantially the same quality, function, and specifications. Occasionally, we may limit bids to a specific brand if required for compatibility reasons, or to ensure consistency of research results.
10. How do I submit a bid or proposal?
Read the entire invitation for bid or request for proposals carefully. It will explain the item or service we need and the terms of the contract if you are the successful bidder. It will instruct you as to how to submit your response and how the University will evaluate your response.
We award bids to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. Thus, to get a contract:
- Be the low bidder. Calculate your BEST COMPETITIVE PRICE.
- Be responsive. Submit your response according to the specific requirements set out in the solicitation. Offer goods or services that meet our specifications, delivery needs, and other terms. Include any descriptive literature or other items required. Do not include samples unless requested.
- Be responsible. This is a capability term meaning that you clearly have the financial capacity, personnel, equipment, and experience necessary to meet all the terms and conditions.
- Review the bidder’s or proposer’s checklist. This is provided by the University to ensure you take care of all necessary paperwork. Do exactly as it states.
- Identify and seal your submittal envelope. Write the solicitation number (IFB or RFP number), date, and opening time on the outside of your envelope. Your response may be inadvertently revealed early or not opened timely if it is unmarked or improperly marked.
- Mail your response early. Your bid or proposal cannot be considered if it is not received in the Purchasing Office by the submittal deadline.
11. What if I have questions or suggestions?
You must let the Purchasing officer know of any ambiguities or errors in the bid or proposal. Depending on the nature of the comments or questions, either call or write to us. If necessary, we will issue an amendment to let all bidders know of any necessary changes.
You may request a pre-bid or pre-proposal conference if we have not already scheduled one. We invite all bidders or proposers to bring their questions and concerns to theses meetings. If any changes are necessary, we will send an amendment to all interested parties even if they did not attend the pre-bid/proposal conference.
12. What if I believe the solicitation is improper as issued?
A bidder/proposer who believes that the terms and conditions of a solicitation are in violation of the law must submit a written protest within 10 days prior to the submittal deadline or as otherwise required in the solicitation. The protest must specify the portion of the solicitation that he/she believes is wrong and explain what changes are requested. In order to be upheld, all protests must identify errors in fact or violations of law. A disagreement with the purchasing officer’s judgement alone does not constitute grounds for protest. A protest of a solicitation does not stop the bid/proposal process unless the purchasing officer determines that the protest has merit, is likely to be upheld, and is not contrary to the best interest of the University.
13. What happens at a bid opening?
Any bidder or person may attend a bid opening. We will publicly open all bids at the time, date, and place stated in the bid invitation. The bid opener reads the price, delivery dates and brand/model number aloud. The bid recorder logs this information for public review. You may inspect the actual bids after we issue the Notice of Intent to Award a contract.
14. Is a proposal opening the same as a bid opening?
No. Proposals are submitted for evaluation against the criteria set out in the solicitation. Discussion with proposers may follow. Best and final offers may be requested. Accordingly, there is no public opening of proposals, nor will the names and number of proposals be announced until the Notice of Intent to Award is issued.
15. What if my bid or proposal is late?
We cannot accept a late bid or proposal unless it was late because of fault of the University. No exceptions will be made for US Postal or any other private or commercial means of delivery. We keep late bids or proposals unopened in the solicitation file and notify those bidders/proposers that the response was late. We will return bid guarantees upon request. Late hand-delivered bids or proposals will be refused.
16. How will the University evaluate my bid?
Each bid request identifies how we will evaluate and award the bid. We will make awards based only on the evaluation criteria stated in the request. We verify that the low bid meets all the specifications, terms, and conditions. Then, we make award to the lowest responsible bidder.
17. How will the University evaluate my proposal?
The proposal will be reviewed to determine that it is responsive to the submittal terms and conditions similar to the way a bid submittal is reviewed. Unlike a bid, a proposal is not awarded on the basis of price alone. Other criterion used to determine a “best buy.” These may include experience, references, quality, completeness, and quality of the offer and others. These will be weighted and listed in the RFP. Evaluation usually involves a review and recommendation by a committee. Award is made to the proposer receiving the highest score, price included.
18. What preferences may apply?
Alaska law grants price preferences to certain Alaska bidders (unless we use federal grant funds). All preferences reduce the Alaskan’s item or bid price for price comparison purposes only by the applicable percentage.
- Alaska Bidder Preference = 5%. This applies to bids submitted by firms owned and operated by Alaskans, in Alaska for at lease six months.
- Alaska Products Preference = 3%, 5%, or 7%. This applies to bid prices for products manufactured in Alaska. The preference granted depends on how much value is added in Alaska. The bidder’s product must be pre-certified as eligible for the preference by the Alaska Department of Commerce.
- Employment Program Preference =15%. This applies to bids by state certified nonprofit programs that exist to assist and hire people with physical or mental handicaps.
- Disability Preference = 10%. Sole proprietorship owned by a person whom the state has certified to have a disability, partnerships if each partner is certified by the state to have a disability, or corporations if 50% or more of the employees are certified by the state to have a disability.
19. What may cause my bid/proposal to be rejected?
We will reject your bid/proposal if it:
- Is late
- Doesn’t meet the item, quality, or delivery terms
- Is conditioned upon receiving other awards
- Proposes alternative terms or conditions (unless allowed)
- Contains more than one bid per item (unless allowed)
- Did not comply with the Bidder’s/Proposer’s Checklist
20. How do I know who won?
After evaluation of an Invitation for Bid, or Request for Proposal, we send each bidder/proposer a Notice of Intent to Award. This notice identifies the successful bidder and their bid price. For RFPs the high selected offeror, their score and their price is included. The notice of award becomes final unless we receive a protest within 10 days or unless amended. This is not a notice to proceed. The contractor can proceed only after we send a signed purchase order or contract.
21. What if I disagree with the contract award?
It is not enough to simply disagree with the award. You must be able to document that the University failed to comply with the terms of the solicitation, miscalculated costs or scores, or otherwise violated State Procurement Law AS 36.30 in determining the successful bidder/proposer. Check the solicitation bid package to see if we made the award as promised. If a problem exists, call the purchasing officer to see if we made an error or to ask for an explanation.
If you still disagree with the award, you may file a formal written protest in compliance with the instruction in the solicitation. A bidder/proposer who believes that the intended award is in violation of the law must submit a written protest within 10 days after the issuance of the Notice of Intent to Award. The protest must specify the issues in fact or law that are in error, include copies of supporting documents, and state the form of relief requested. A disagreement does not stop the bid/proposal process unless the purchasing officer determines that the protest has merit, is likely to be upheld, and is not contrary to the best interest of the University. We will respond within 14 days.
22. What happens now that I have the contract?
Once you have an official purchase order, or contract, proceed expeditiously to meet the delivery and other terms of the contract. If the written contract does not agree with your understanding of it, call the Purchasing officer. Do not accept verbal orders or changes. Orders and change orders are only authorized by formal writing. If you proceed without written authorization, you do so at your own risk.
23. What if I can’t deliver as promised?
Call the purchasing officer immediately if you are unable to deliver as promised. Whether conditions are within or beyond your control, we need to know about problems in order to help you meet your part of the contract.
24. How do I submit invoices?
We usually make invoice payments within 30 days or less of the date of a correct invoice or receipt of goods and services, whichever is later. We will take any discounts for prompt payment if earned.
Unless the contract disallows, we will make partial payments based on partial deliveries. We cannot make pre-payments (except minor amounts for subscriptions and similar small orders). Since we have no way of paying for C.O.D. (cash on delivery) orders, we will return these to you freight collect.
If you experience payment delays, be sure:
- You have a valid order issued by authorized personnel,
- That the ordering department at the ‘ship to’ address has received the order, and
- That the accounts payable department received a correct invoice with any supporting documents.
Any of these problems will delay or prevent payment. Call the proper campus department if you need help.
25. Are there ethical rules that apply?
Absolutely! Prospective bidders, contractors, and University staff must abide by a code of ethics. University staff must report any attempts to improperly influence contract awards. The University monitors and reports any suspected anti-competitive activity.
26. Where can I get more information?
Please visit or call the purchasing offices for more information. We are here to help. Contact information follows.
University of Alaska
Statewide System Procurement Office
910 Yukon Drive, Suite 208
PO Box 755100, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5100
Phone:(907) 450-8026 Fax: (907) 450-8023
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive, DPL 405
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
(907) 786-6500 Fax: (907) 786-6515
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Procurement & Contract Services
103 Administrative Services Center
PO Box 757940 Fairbanks, Alaska 99775
(907) 474-7315 Fax:(907) 474-7720
University of Alaska Southeast
11120 Glacier Highway
Juneau, Alaska 99801
Phone: (907) 796-6371
Fax: (907) 796-6469