Penn Purchasing Services
University of Pennsylvania
Home About Us Supply Chain News Buying Information Procure-to-Pay Social Responsibility
Buying Information
>> Purchasing Training

Sponsored Projects
>> Policies & Guidelines

Use of Confidential Data
>> Purchasing Basics

Supplier Categories
Purchasing Forms
Buying Tips
Product Recalls
>> Commodity Matrix
>> Cost Savings Opportunities

New Lab Start-up Program
Equipment Maintenance Program
>> Purchasing Contract Suppliers

Supplier Classifications
Penn Marketplace Suppliers
UPS Express Shipping
>> BEN Buys Approved Suppliers

Deactivated Suppliers
Supplier Name Changes
Approved Caterers
EDI Suppliers
Local Community Suppliers
Diversity Suppliers
Restricted Suppliers
>> Supplier Showcase

>> Green Purchasing
>> Equipment Leasing

Surplus Property
>> Personal Purchase Program
Home > Buying Information >

Final Purchase Order & Contract Approval Procedures

All purchase orders with a total aggregate cost of $5,000 or more are to be forwarded to Purchasing Services for review and final approval. All supporting documentation, including supplier contracts to be signed by a Sourcing Manager, are to be forwarded to Purchasing for distribution to the appropriate approver.

The Process Flow

All incoming purchase orders are received by the PO Router and forwarded to the appropriate Sourcing Manager based on assigned commodity responsibilities. All purchase order supporting documentation is received and forwarded to the appropriate approver. Supporting documents are to be sent directly to Purchasing via email to At no time should documentation be sent via e-mail or mailed/faxed directly to a Sourcing Manager as this may cause an unnecessary delay in the approval process if the Sourcing Manager is away from the office at meetings, business trip, or vacation.

The Approval Process

The goal of the department is to final approve all purchase orders, that meet all established purchasing requirements, within one (1) business day. Purchase orders referencing a message such as "attachments to be sent to Purchasing Services" in the Notes to Approver will be held for up to three (3) business days. If the attachment is not received within three (3) business days, the purchase order will be rejected with a note stating the reason for the rejection. Purchase orders that do not reference a note of forthcoming documents will be rejected with a note stating the reason for rejection.

Competitive Bidding Requirements

University financial policy requires that any purchase order with a total aggregate cost of $5000 or more must be competitively bid. Purchases from contract suppliers and Penn Marketplace suppliers, regardless of dollar value, are exempt from the University's competitive bidding requirement.

In the absence of competitive bids, a reasonable request to waive the competitive bidding process may be requested by the ordering department. It is the responsibility of the Sourcing Managers to exercise good judgment when reviewing and approving requests to waive the competitive bidding process.

Purchase Orders with Supplier Contracts

When a supplier contract is required for a specific transaction, the Sourcing Manager is responsible for reviewing the terms and conditions of the contract. The Sourcing Manager is responsible for working with the supplier and ordering department to address or resolve any contact language issues. Sourcing Managers will consult with the Office of the General Counsel as required for specific terms and conditions.

Conditions for approving supplier contracts:

  1. Purchasing Services will require three (3) business days to review and approve a supplier contract. The review and approval period may take longer than three days based on unique business requirements or supplier terms and conditions. The Sourcing Manager will advise the requisitioner if the approval period will take longer than three (3) business days.
  2. Emergency contract requirements will be processed on case-by-case basis.
  3. At no time will a supplier contract be approved and signed by a Purchasing Services representative without prior issuance of an approved BEN Buys purchase order.

After-the-Fact Purchase Orders

After-the fact purchase orders create significant payment and supplier relationship problems for the University. A BEN Buys requisitioner is not permitted to create a purchase order for payment of an invoice for product(s) already received or service(s) already performed by an external supplier.

All questions regarding this process and procedures document are to be directed to

Home About Us Supply Chain News Buying Information Procure-to-Pay Social Responsibility