Suppliers Interested in Doing Business with Columbia University


For suppliers interested in doing business with Columbia University, there are several points to be aware of:

  • The University orders goods and services from a variety of suppliers. There are two types of suppliers that the University relies upon to provide goods and services. Preferred Suupliers (UWPA's) and approved suppliers:
  • The University has a set of preferred suppliers (UwPA's), 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 suppliers are multi-year contracts.  Suppliers who are interested in participating in future competitive sourcing opportunities should contact the Purchasing Department to inquire about possible opportunities.  It is recommended checking in on an annual basis on various sourcing opportunities, but not any more frequently.  Suppliers should inquire about basic requirements for consideration.
  • Approved Suppliers are those suppliers from whom specific departments wish to receive goods and services on an ad hoc basis. These suppliers are not preferred but have undergone a supplier verification process and been approved as legitimate suppliers. The process to become an approved supplier must be initiated by a requesting department or school. Many sourcing decisions are made at the school and department level.  There are hundreds of decision makers across these decentralized departments and suppliers need to seek out opportunities with these decision makers to gain visability.  Once a supplier has been awarded business by a schools or department, providing excellent service, high-quality goods, competitive pricing and effective compliance support are often the best strategies for getting known by other departments and considered for other opportunities. To clarify an approved supplier is not a prefererd supplier. All procurement requirements associated with non UWPA vendors apply.
  • 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 much longer.
  • 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 Office of Procurement Services maintains the authority to execute goods and services contracts on behalf of the University. Agreements where the University is performing research, providing services or goods for third parties are not handled by Procurement Services. 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