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Procurement Guidelines

How to Buy
Purchase Limit Requirements
After-the-Fact Purchase Orders
BuyMissouri Program


UM Procurement facilitates the process required for departments to acquire goods and services which:

  • Meet user defined needs
  • Are obtained in a manner that assures best value
  • Take into consideration total cost of acquisition and total cost of ownership
  • Require minimal use of University resources
  • Are obtained through a process that is fair, open and competitive
  • Assure all University's ethical, legal and fiduciary responsibilities are satisfied

UM Procurement provides services that are both strategic and tactical -

  • Strategic Consulting for the purpose of helping plan for large purchasing events that minimize duplicative efforts and assure the university best value
  • Negotiation planning support and leadership in conducting Procurement activities
  • Facilitation of Request for Proposal and Bid events
  • Timely processing of routine requisitions and purchase orders
  • Customer support for issues related to suppliers or process challenges



How to Buy

The University uses various methods to acquire goods and services. Requestors should use the following decision process in determining which purchasing method is best suited for a specific procurement need.  Good faith effort must be given to using the most efficient purchasing method available for a given purchasing event. Please reference the How to Buy website or a summary list of various items/services and the appropriate procurement method to utilize for each.

  • Show-Me Shop (SMS) is the preferred method for purchases made by campus departments. SMS is an online catalog of items from contracted suppliers. SMS suppliers currently include commodities such as scientific products, office products, computers, peripherals, lab supplies, MRO/facilities maintenance supplies, custodial supplies, and books. SMS purchases may be made for any amount. Information on suppliers available in the SMS and their contact information is available online at
  • Campus users are to use SMS as the first choice to meet their needs. Purchases for items available in SMS should be made through SMS unless there is a compelling reason for using another method.
  • One Card - For items not available in Show-Me Shop that are $5,000 or less, the preferred method of making the purchase is with a university issued credit card. Purchases must comply with the University of Missouri One Card Policy Manual and ALL other University policies.
  • Purchase Orders - Purchases that cannot be made in Show-Me Shop, that cannot be processed by using a University One Card and that exceed $5,000 MUST be submitted using the PeopleSoft requisitioning system.



After-the-Fact Orders

What is an After-the-Fact (or Confirming) Purchase Order? An After the Fact Purchase Order is when a department makes a purchase commitment without proper authorization, or before a University purchase order is issued. The after the fact part refers to having to obtain proper approval after the commitment was made instead of before.


  • Supplier doing repair work for a department without having an official Purchase Order established first.
  • Ordering materials or supplies from a Supplier and then realizing they don’t accept a credit card for payment.

As defined in University Policy #26101, authority to make purchases on behalf of the University is limited to Procurement staff and contract administrators to assure compliance with federal and state law, university policy, and prudent business and financial practices. If a University employee has been assigned a University OneCard, they have authority to make purchases if it is allowable by the OneCard policy, and within their delegated spend limits.

Risks of Unauthorized Procurements:

  • Equipment non-compliance or non-compatibility with existing equipment/systems
  • Acceptance of legal terms, liability, and risks outside of University standards
  • Spending more than what would have been spent, had university purchasing agreements been utilized
  • Potential for misuse of purchasing power



Authorized Purchase Limits/Requirements

  • Less than $5,000 - Bids are not required. Show-Me Shop is the first option for these purchases and if not available in SMS then One Card is the preferred method of payment for items except as limited by the purchasing card program.
  • Between $5,000 and $10,000 - These orders can be placed using Show-Me Shop if the goods needed are available there, if not a purchase order will be processed upon receipt of PeopleSoft requisition.
  • Exceeds $10,000 - Competitive Bids or Proposals are required unless the items or services are already on contract with the University. If the product needed is not available through Show-Me Shop then the campus department must enter a requisition to initiate the purchase process.  Purchases exceeding $10,000 require a competitive bidding processes.  Contact the appropriate Strategic Sourcing Specialist BEFORE proceeding with a purchase over $10,000.  They can assist with the proper process required.
  • Request for Bid or Request for Proposal - Purchases that exceed $100,000 must be processed with a formal Request for Bid or Request for Proposal.  These are processed by a Strategic Sourcing Specialist in UM Procurement.  Consult the Commodity Assignment list for the appropriate person to contact.

    • Request for Bid (RFB) - A request for bid is utilized to provide the cost of meeting a specific need. The supplier proposing the lowest cost and meeting specifications is awarded the Bid. 

    • Request for Proposal (RFP) - A request for proposal is utilized to evaluate the merits of each vendor compared to each other.  This process requests more than just a price.  The supplier's response is evaluated to determine the Best Overall Value.

  • Sole Source - A purchase of goods and/or services of $10,000 or more may be exempt from a formal solicitation process if it is determined by the Strategic Sourcing Specialist that a competitive process will not add reasonable value.  When a requestor seeks such an exemption, justification for the reason must be submitted with the PeopleSoft requisition.  A Sole Source request over $500,000 will require additional requirements.  Consult with the appropriate Strategic Sourcing Specialist as soon as you are aware of this type of purchase.

  • Group Purchasing Organizations - The University has the ability to access many competitively solicited bids awarded by group purchasing and State organizations.  Contact the Strategic Sourcing Specialist for the related commodity to identify if the desired product/service is available on an existing contract.



BuyMissouri Program

The University of Missouri has a desire to support small and medium sized Missouri based businesses whenever possible. In competitive bidding and in instances in which competitive bids are not required, preference shall be given to Missouri products, materials, services and firms when the goods or services are of equal or better overall value.  In assessing overall value, consideration will be given to the extent to which proximity or Missouri preference of the supplier provides potential advantages or reduction of risks. 

Reviewed 2023-10-12