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Purchasing glossary

The following terms are used in technical procurement and asset management at Carnegie Mellon. Offsite links will open in a new browser window.

CMU Procurement Services (PS) Department
The University's centralized purchasing-management group, responsible for setting and enforcing CMU and government purchasing policies.
Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)
Liaison with University Departments, all rebudgeting requests, responsible for sponsored project PO approvals.
Purchase Order (PO)
The formal document, generated by SCS Purchasing group staff and approved by CMU Procurement Services, that authorizes a vendor to proceed
PCard (TTC)
An acquisition tool, similar to a credit card, for which a specific employee is authorized use and assigned responsibility.
Competitive bid process / Purchase Order Checklist
Three (3) quotations (two when approved by CMU's PS Director), are required when a purchase from a nonpreferred vendor is $2,500 or greater and you are buying with government funds or if your equipment purchase will exceed $5,000 and you are buying with University funds from a nonpreferred vendor. The bids (quotes) should contain price, quantity,description, and the supplier's terms and conditions (if any). Supporting documentation of price/cost analysis must be attached to the Purchasing Checklist and Bid Summary form and attached to the SCS Purchase Form or sent to the purchase@cs.cmu.edu who will then forward it to the PS Department before the PO will be approved.
Preferred vendor
A vendor selected by the University through the Preferred supplier program, a competitive proposal and negotiation process designed to provide consistently the best overall quality, pricing and service to the university. When purchasing from a preferred vendor, you need not obtain competitive bids nor complete a Purchasing Checklist and Bid Summary form, since the University has already negotiated the lowest competitive pricing.
Nonpreferred vendor
A vendor not on the preferred-supplier list. Buying from one of these companies usually requires a competitive-bid process.
Technical equipment
Items (including but not limited to computers, monitors, racks, disks, etc.) that directly support SCS research
Technical supplies
Technical items whose total cost (including any shipping charges) is $1,000 or less
Capital equipment
A technical equipment item with an original cost of $5,000 or more and a minimum useful life of two or more years. Capital equipment is exempt from overhead charges.
Noncapital equipment
A single item of technical equipment whose total cost (including any shipping charges) is more than $1,000 and less than $5,000.
Fabricated equipment
Technical equipment developed and constructed at Carnegie Mellon by combining discrete components and/or materials into one identifiable unit. To be considered a "fabrication," all components must work as one unit; parts alone are not considered a fabrication. All items that comprise the fabrication project are considered "equipment" regardless of the dollar amount of those items. Fabricated equipment is exempt from overhead charges.
CMU asset number
A number assigned to capital and noncapital equipment purchases for University property-management and insurance purposes. The number also appears on a colored, bar-coded label affixed to the item.