Methods of Procurement

Goods and services may be obtained in a number of ways. However, all purchases must be in compliance with State of Arkansas procurement law and reporting requirements, including those contained in ACT 557. 

Procurement Services will assist all ordering departments in obtaining documents, following proper procedures, and reporting requirements prior to order. Any requisition that is a suspected or obvious attempt to circumvent the appropriate procurement method will be returned. 

The method of procurement used is determined by the type of purchase and dollar threshold. Thresholds include labor and shipping. Tax is not included.

The following procurement methods are for acquiring goods or services, not capital improvements.

Competitive Quote Bid ($20,000.01-$75,000.00)

A Competitive Quote Bid must be completed for all purchases totaling more than $20,000 but less than $75,000, freight included, sales tax excluded. Cooperative and exempt purchases are exceptions.  

NOTE: Purchases of up to $40,000 can be made without competitive quote bids if using an AEDC certified minority business or AEDC certified women-owned business enterprise.

Departments may solicit competitive quote bids themselves, with the exception of items listed in Amendment 54, but Procurement Services is available to assist in processing these bids if departments do not have the time or qualified staff.  

A minimum of three (3) suppliers, one of which should be a minority supplier, if available for that commodity or service, should be included in the bid process.   The form should be sent by mail, fax, email, or Workday Supplier Portal. Please remember that all suppliers must receive the same request within the same time frame and be issued the same parameters for bidding.  The following steps should be followed sequentially to complete the Competitive Quote Bid Process.

  1. The department should use the Competitive Quote Bid Form to reduce the risk of protest and increase the integrity of the bid. The following information will be required in quote requests, whether the provided form is used or not
    • UA Little Rock Requestor Contact:  Enter contact for the person on campus that will be managing the bid request. 
      • This individual should be available throughout the entire bid process and available to answer related questions.   
    • Bid Submission Deadline:  Enter a time, date, and location that the bid must be submitted. This lets suppliers know when quotes should be completed and submitted by fax, mail, or email. Quotes should not be accepted past the specified day and time. 
    • Specifications: Provide minimum specifications of the item or service needed. Specifications should be clear, concise and identify quantity, color, details, and make and model of items. If it is not listed in the specifications, the supplier will not be held responsible for providing the unrequested specification.   
  2. Send the Competitive Quote Bid Request to a minimum of three (3) suppliers.   
  3. Complete the Official Bid Tabulation Sheet. Once the bid submission deadline has passed, the submitted quotes should be processed and entered into the bid tabulation sheet.  Note: Departments may only identify an apparent low bidder; the awarding of the bid may only be completed by Procurement Services.
    • The department will enter the unit price for each item and any additional charges that may have been submitted, such as shipping, artwork, storage, or other approved costs. 
    • If you receive a “no bid” or “no response” from a supplier, include that on your tab sheet by typing “NO BID” in the supplier’s line-item field.  
    • The items may be awarded on an all or none basis or by line item, whichever is in the best interest of the university.  
    • The apparent low bidder will be the bidder with the lowest cost that meets or exceeds the specifications. If there is a tie bid, contact Procurement Services.  
  4. Submit a requisition to Procurement Services with all supporting documentation. The following items must be submitted with the requisition prior to issuance of a purchase order:
    • The completed Competitive Quote Bid Form with specifications provided to the prospective suppliers.
    • Proof that the solicitation was sent to at least three suppliers who can provide the requested good or service.  
    • The completed Official Bid Tabulation Sheet.  
    • Copies of each bid response (quote) in their entirety. Includes “no bids” if received.
    • A copy of the Israel Boycott Restriction form if the competitive quote bid form was not used or the supplier did not check to verify. 
    • Purchases exceeding $25,000 will require an EO-98-04 Contract and Grant Disclosure Form. If the purchase is also a service, then a copy of the supplier’s Equal Employment Opportunity statement and an online illegal immigrant certification form will also be required. 
    • Emails from any correspondence with prospective suppliers (such as prospective supplier questions).
  5. Once the apparent low bidder has been identified, Procurement Services will need to review the bid prior to the award. While Procurement Services will work as swiftly as possible, the department should allow five (5) working days after the requisition has been approved for this process.

Contracts

See Contracts

Emergency Procurements

Emergency procurements are the acquisition of commodities or services which, if not immediately initiated, will endanger human life, health, university property, or functional capability of the university. Failure to anticipate a need is not considered an emergency.  

In the event of emergency procurement, approval must be obtained in writing from Procurement Services prior to purchase regardless of the total cost. The requesting department or individual must also include in the request a written explanation providing details about the emergency and how the emergency was determined.

Below $20,000 Emergency 

A purchase order should be completed prior to the purchase of any goods or services.  However, if an emergency procurement is below the bid threshold of $20,000 and time does not permit the normal procurement process, the department may submit a request to deviate from the established procedure. A requisition and resulting purchase order should be completed as soon as possible. 

Above $20,000 Emergency

If an emergency procurement is over the bid limit, a minimum of three (3) competitive bids must be obtained on an authorized Bid Tabulation Sheet unless the emergency is critical. If three (3) competitive bids are not obtained, the forms must show the names of at least three (3) firms contacted in an attempt to obtain competition.

When submitting the request for approval, which shall be made in writing, shall include:

  1. Confirmation of a requisition having been created in Workday; a requisition number will suffice. If time does not allow, this step may be completed at the earliest practical date. 
  2. Attach Quote Documents to include but not limited to: 
    • Names of the suppliers contacted (minimum of three)
    • time and date that each supplier was contacted
    • the quoted price obtained from each contacted supplier
    • the method used for contacting each supplier
  3. The requester must also include in the request a written explanation of how the emergency was determined (give specific reasons why the procurement is an emergency)
  4. With the exception of critical emergencies, all services must be presented for legislative review as required by Act 557. 

Critical Emergency:  

A critical emergency is defined as an emergency in which human life or health is imminently endangered. Procurement Services must give approval.

Exempt Purchases

Arkansas Code Annotated §19-11-203 (14) does exempt some items from the bidding process. The purchase still must follow established purchasing procedures and may require special approvals. Procurement Services will work with departments to determine if a purchase is an exempt item defined by these laws.

According to Ark. Code Ann. 19-11-203 (14), “Exempt commodities and services” includes, but is not limited to:

  • Actual advertising cost of multiple media formats (newspapers, periodicals, and related publications and on television, radio, billboards, and electronic media) 
  • Animals procured for medical research
  • Commodities and services for use in research, education, and treatment for the diagnosis, cure, and prevention of disease
    • These may be procured with administrative approval through a group purchasing entity serving other public health institutions when substantial savings are available
    • A report shall be filed annually with the Division of Legislative Audit reflecting the justification of and the estimated savings accruing due to the use of this exemption
  • Commodities procured for resale in cafeterias, commissaries, bookstores, gift shops, canteens, and other similar establishments. However, these commodities procured shall not be sold or transferred to any agency with the intent of circumventing applicable procurement procedures
    • Commodities procured for resale do not include items used to support the sale of goods or services such as reusable items or items used in preparing, serving, dispensing, or packaging, except for vendor packaging included with the item purchased.
  • Contracts awarded by agencies for the construction of buildings and facilities and for major repairs-These contract exemptions shall not extend to the procurement of any commodities not otherwise exempt that are to be furnished by the agency under any such contract
  • Fees, including medical fees and physician fees
    • Fees that are uniform and fixed in advance by an authoritative body, such as fees for membership in professional associations, court filing fees, witness fees, workshop fees for professional conferences or training, medical fees, and physician fees, are exempt from Arkansas Procurement Law. 
    • Fees that are payment for professional services for which there is generally free-market competition and which may reasonably be subject to negotiation are not exempt from Arkansas Procurement Law.
  • Freight and storage charges and demurrage
  • Licenses required prior to performance of services. This does not include software licenses. 
  • Livestock procured for breeding, research, or experimental purposes, including ova and semen.
  • Maintenance on office machines and technical equipment
    • Technical equipment for maintenance purposes shall include, but not be limited to, medical, dental, laboratory, and health aid equipment, climate control equipment, water treatment services, elevators, musical instruments, communications equipment, data processing equipment, and specialized research equipment.
  • Medical items specifically requested by a physician for treatment or diagnosis of patients in his or her care, including prosthetic devices, surgical instruments, heart valves, pacemakers, radioisotopes, and catheters
  • Membership in professional, trade, and other similar associations
  • Perishable foodstuffs for immediate use or processing
  • Postage
  • Published books, manuals, maps, periodicals, films, technical pamphlets, and copyrighted educational aids for use in libraries and for other informational or instructional purposes in instances in which other applicable law does not provide a restrictive means for the acquisition of these materials
  • Services of visiting speakers, lecturers, and performing artists
  • Taxes
  • Travel expense items such as room and board and transportation charges
  • Utility services or equipment that is defined, recognized, and regulated by the Arkansas Public Service Commission as a monopoly offering
  • Works of art for museum and public display
  • Capital improvements valued at less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), subject to minimum standards and criteria of the Arkansas Building Authority
  • Services related to workforce development, incumbent workforce training, or specialized business or industry training
  • The following commodities and services relating to proprietary software after the initial procurement:
    • Technical support
    • Renewals
    • Additional copies
    • License upgrades
    • Software exemption does not apply to the initial purchase of proprietary software. Nor does the exemption apply to the purchase of software that is part of any mandatory software contract. 
    • Exempt software purchases shall include the purchase of additional proprietary software licenses, copies, license renewals, software upgrades, and proprietary software support for proprietary software after the initial purchase. 
  • Repair services for hidden or unknown damages to machinery already purchased.
    • “Hidden or unknown damages” refers to damages to machinery needing repair that were not visible, readily apparent, or otherwise not within the knowledge of university personnel at the time a supplier was servicing the piece of machinery. 
    • By way of example and not limitation, if the university takes a piece of machinery to a supplier to repair one or more problems, and in the course of such work the supplier notices one or more additional problems that need repair, the university may, but is not required to, authorize that supplier to undertake such additional repairs without having to solicit competitive bids.
    • This exemption does not apply to damages that are visible, readily apparent, or are or could be within the knowledge of university personnel with the exercise of reasonable inspection or investigation.
  • Renewals of termite protection contracts with the contractor who performed the initial treatment of the facility are exempt. Not exempt are termite protection contracts which include the initial treatment.

Formal Sealed Bids ($75,000.01 and greater)

Goods and services not covered by a state or university contract exceeding $75,000 require that a formal, competitive sealed bid be completed by Procurement Services exclusively. This method is a complicated process dictated by State Procurement Law and often requires approvals outside of the university, which can be time-consuming. Any need that falls under this procurement method will require advance planning as the average processing time, due to bid development, advertising, evaluation, and awarding, is 12 to 14 weeks. Many service contracts take even longer for the legislative review and reporting process. Note: It is never too early to work with Procurement Services on minimum specifications, scope of work, and delivery requirements.

Small Order (Less than $20,000.00)

Orders totaling $20,000.00 or less*, including freight but excluding sales tax, will be considered small orders and do not require the bidding process (some exceptions apply). Price comparisons should still be used to obtain the lowest market price available for the best quality product or service. 

*This limit does not apply to state or university contract items. 

Procurement Services may determine that while an individual order does fall under the small order criteria, the procurement of a like item or service collectively does not meet that criteria, and combining of orders or alternative procurement methods may be needed. While Procurement Services will work as swiftly as possible, the department should allow three (3) working days after the requisition has been approved for this process.

Caution: Repeated small quantity purchases of similar items to circumvent the $20,000 bid limit are prohibited.

Sole Source/Special Procurement

Sole Source (SSJ)

Sole source procurements are those procurements which, by virtue of the performance specification, are available only from a single source. Brand-name or design specifications shall not be sufficient explanation for sole source. Procurements from a preferred or selected supplier are not considered sole source and will not be approved as such.

To request a sole source procurement, the requestor should complete the Sole Source by Justification Request, providing detailed answers to each of the seven statements.

Special Procurements (SPJ)

Special procurements are those procurements above the bid threshold, which are an unusual or unique situation that makes the application of all requirements of competitive bidding, competitive sealed bidding, or competitive sealed proposals contrary to the public interest.  

To request a special procurement, the requestor should complete the Special Procurement Justification request providing detailed answers to each of the five statements. 

Process

If the need for a sole source or special procurement is identified, the requestor should complete the appropriate form and submit it to Procurement Services along with any other supporting documentation. The department should provide detailed answers to each of the statements and must be approved by Procurement Services and the CFO prior to requisition. Please note that no purchase or contract may start until the request and resulting purchase order, or supplier contract are approved. Upon receipt of the request, a buyer will review and determine if the request meets the state law requirements.

If the answers do indicate that this is a sole source or special procurement situation, the buyer will forward the request for APO and VCFA/AVCF approval. The buyer will return the fully signed form, and the requester will start the Workday requisition process. The signed request form, fully executed contract, quotes, and other supporting documentation should be attached to the requisition or supplier contract in Workday.

If the request does not meet the requirements for a special procurement, the buyer will communicate other options to the requestor.

Reporting

Procurement Services is required to report all special procurements to the Office of State Procurement through the ALC submission portal. The report shall include a copy of the written determination of the basis for the procurement, and for the selection of a particular contract, and a copy of the contract. 

Supplier Invoice Request (SInvR)