Preferred Vendor Contracts FAQ

The use of preferred supplier agreements is a State of Ohio initiative aimed at efficiencies and cost savings. Kent State University supports this initiative. We acknowledge that not all purchases will fit within the framework of designated preferred suppliers we have initially established and encourage you to continue to feed information our way. By working together we will strengthen the buying power of the university. Be sure to watch our webinar on the Procurement Policy Update to learn about the purchasing process and important policy changes.

Below is a list of common questions, with responses:

Questions about Vendor Selection

May I request other suppliers for preferred contract considerations?

Kind of. Some contracts are state-mandated through the IUC-PG; we may not be able to consider new suppliers in those commodities until available. Additionally, if spend with one vendor exceeds policy limitations, Procurement must post its commodity-driven good or service for public bid. Any vendor may respond and will be given equal opportunity. However, we welcome feedback and offerings toward strategic supplier considerations on all commodities.

What if the item I need to purchase is not available from a preferred supplier?
What if I find an item cheaper from another vendor, rather than the preferred contracted vendor?

We understand and acknowledge there will be instances in which this will occur. We also recognize budget limitations. However, the success of these contracts is captured with pricing based on the entire university community. When we can demonstrate aggregation of spend over time, we can then negotiate further cost considerations with these suppliers. If the price differential is not significant, purchase with the preferred supplier and forward appropriate information to Procurement. For large price disparities, please email for advice or approval. If we cannot resolve with the preferred supplier, we will work with the departments on alternative sources.

Important considerations before using a vendor

Purchasing or servicing with a vendor is not as simple as "lowest cost" or "best overall value". As a steward of university funds, and state funds, there are important considerations to question before placing an order or service request.

These requirements are constituted within university policy, 7-12.1; however, before using a vendor, ask these questions:

  • Is the total accumulative annual dollar spend with this vendor within policy? This includes all cross-university purchases; under $25,000 for goods and $50,000 for services.
  • Have you considered all diverse vendor options? If not, please contact Supplier Diversity for suggestions.
  • Have you considered all local, Buy Ohio, or Made-In-America options?
  • Is the vendor a member of a valid consortium agreement or State of Ohio contract? The university may benefit from rebates or pricing discounts, if yes. Please contact Procurement for assistance and regulations.
  • Do the good(s)/service(s) to be procured include software, computer hardware, digital content, web-based information or applications, or 3rd party web services (such as marketing, research, monitoring.)? If yes, please review policy 4-16 and respond as necessary.
  • Will the vendor have access to classified Kent State University data? And/or will the vendor need to share this institutional data with partners to accomplish its mission? If yes, a Vendor Product Assessment must be performed prior to purchase or award.
  • Is there a personal relationship between a university employee and the referenced vendor? If yes, a Conflict of Interest form must be completed as found on the Procurement website.
  • Will the vendor accept a SUA (single use card)as payment? If yes, please note to the Accounts Payable department when processing the order
  • Is the vendor in compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) requirements of Executive Orders 11246 as amended by 11375? If not, you may not use this vendor as subject to the Ohio Revised Code and university policy.
  • Did you certify the vendor is not debarred in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Section 9.4 from receiving federal and state funded procurements and has no "unresolved findings for recovery" under Ohio Revised Code Section 9.24? Reminder, state agencies are prohibited from awarding a contract for supplies or services, funded in whole or in part with federal and/or state funds, to a person who appears on any debarment list.

Thank you for considering these questions before using university funds to make your purchase. Take the time to plan your purchase and ask the Procurement Department for help in mitigating risk and vendor selection.