For vendors interested in doing business with Columbia University, there are several points to be aware of:
- The University has a set of preferred vendors, selected through a competitive sourcing process, that schools and departments are encouraged and often required to use for many goods and services. Agreements with preferred vendors are multi-year contracts. Vendors who are interested in participating in future competitive sourcing opportunities should contact the Purchasing Department to inquire on opportunities. It is recommended checking in on an annual basis on preferred vendor opportunities, but not any more frequently. Vendors should inquire about basic requirements for consideration.
- Outside of preferred vendor sourcing, many sourcing decisions are made at the school and department level. There are hundreds of decision makers across these decentralized departments. There is no one way to become visible to these decision-makers. As word-of-mouth is one method, once a vendor has been awarded business by a department, providing excellent service, high-quality good, competitive pricing and effective compliance support are often best strategies for getting known by other departments and considered for other opportunities.
- Sourcing at both the central Purchasing and school/department level is done on University and department determined schedules, and reflect University strategic priorities. Some sourcing schedules are a matter of weeks while other sourcing activities can involve a process lasting many months.
The authority to enter into and sign goods and services contracts on behalf of the University is limited to specific University personnel who have been authorized by the University Trustees or a specific written delegation. In most cases, the Vice President for Procurement Services is the officer authorized to sign goods and services contracts on behalf of the University. (Agreements where the University is the service provider, such as sponsored project agreements where the University is performing research, and subcontracts with third parties issued under these agreements, are handled by other university departments - please contact Sponsored Projects Administration). University employees who have been granted signature authority by the Trustees or a written delegation receive confirmation of that authority each year, and only employees with authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University may enter into or sign contracts. Any questions on whether a document or other proposed arrangement is considered a contract and questions on signature authority should be directed to the Purchasing Office. See Policy >>
- For more information about the range of goods and services that the University sources, please refer to the Purchasing website.