Considering that the entire Department of Astronomy purchases approximately
$250,000 worth of computer related items annually, it is important to have a
set of procedures in place to ensure that the items are ordered efficiently,
and to help track outstanding orders. This document covers the steps that the
Department of Astronomy IT Staff follow for the procurement of computer related
items, and the follow-up procedures to make sure the item is delivered.
Verification involves the following steps.
Suitability Verify that the item will meet the needs of
the person requesting it. Is the component compatible with their existing
equipment? Will additional adapters be needed? Will it function as expected,
or is there another product that will better suit the needs of the
Price and vendor Verify the price with the vendor. Check with other
vendors (GovConn, etc) to see if the product is available at a better price
Funding Approval What account will pay for this item? If it is an
expense that should be charged to the department, verify with the Office
Manager that there is adequate funding to cover the item (get approval). If it
is billed to a grant, verify with either the Office Manager or Grants Manager
that there is adequate funding in the grant to cover the amount.
Placing the Order
If the item is less than $2000 it may be purchased on a P-Card once funding
approval has been obtained. This is the simplest, quickest, and most efficient
method of obtaining an item.
For items that cost more than $1999.99, a purchase-order must be generated. The
steps involved in generating a purchase order are as follows:
Get a quote for the item (e-quote, web-quote, etc).
Take a copy of the quote, along with
a filled out copy of the Purchase Request
Form to our Purchasing Agent.
Obtain confirmation that the PO has been generated.
Please note, at some future point we will be able to generate a PO Request
through My-UFL Marketplace.
If the item is a rush order, and costs enough that a PO would normally
be required to procure it, it may be possible to use a departmental P-Card to
purchase the item, but only after special approval from Purchasing has been
granted. This will require the coordination of the IT staff, the Office
Manager, and central purchasing.
Tracking the Order
Whether the item was ordered with a P-Card, or PO, the purchase should be
tracked. We use the chalk board in 221A to track the current orders in the
For each item ordered, the following information is placed on the board:
Description, Company Ordered From, Date Ordered, Who it was ordered for, And
the person placing the order. If it is an item for the department (toner, for
example), then we do not need to specify the "who".
JRTI, Tesla C2050, 2/24/2010, Ford, KS
The above example shows KS ordered a Tesla C2050
from JRTI on 2/24/2010.
Some vendors, notably Apple, have the ability to send an email alert with
information on the expected delivery date. I have contacted Dell to find out
if they have the ability to provide this information as well.
Deliver the item to the person requesting, remove the item from the board, and
deliver the invoice to the Office Manager or Fiscal Assistant.
Order NOT Received
Sometimes the order process takes awhile. Generating a PO at certain times of
the year, such as between the end of May to mid-June when UF is closing the
books and generating several PO's before fiscal year end, is sometimes slower
than normal. As such, it must be understood that it is not uncommon for an
order that requires a PO to take as much as a month, or more, to be delivered.
However, if the order has not been delivered after five weeks, it is time to
start looking into the process to see what the delay is.
First, verify that the PO has indeed been generated. This can be done
internally, and should have been done as part of the steps required to generate
Next, contact the vendor to verify that they have indeed received
the PO. If they have received it, inquire as to when they expect to ship the
item. If they have not received it, try to get them a copy of the PO.
Next, verify the expected ship date and the ship-to address. There have been
times where items ordered were delivered to CNS and were left sitting in the
CNS mail room.
If there is a hold-up due to a manufacturing or assembly delay, see if it is
possible to get the order expedited by changing the component list.
Special Orders / Urgent Requests
It is important that each person requesting an item takes some
responsibility to make sure that ample lead time is provided so the item can
be procured to meet your schedule. You must plan ahead. If the item that
is being purchased must arrive by a certain deadline, you
need to let us know about that deadline in advance. However, we
understand that sometimes emergencies crop up, and under those circumstances we
may be able to help, but we often are limited by those aforementioned details
that require lead time.
For items that can be purchased with a P-Card (less than $2000), we can often
order them with next-day shipping once we have been given approval from the
front office. Of course, the requestor will need to pick up any applicable
freight and rush order charges.
Unfortunately, items that cost $2000 or more require a PO. And PO's are a
different matter entirely. Because of the various steps involved
in generating a PO and getting it to a vendor, you should assume
a four to five week turn-around time between the time any PO request is
submitted and delivery of the item.
If the item costs more than the P-Card limit of $2000, and if this is truly an
emergency, there are options. But those options are limited.
The quickest course of action would be to use a personal credit card and then
seek reimbursement from the university. However, there is substantial
paperwork involved with justifying this course of action after the fact, and so
this should be considered the option of last resort; essentially the front
office will need to put in for an expense reimbursement.
Other courses of action will be undertaken on a case-by-case basis.