Purchasing – Frequently Asked Questions

 Purchasing Office

Englemann Hall, Room 220
2033 E. Hartford Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211

 Mailing Address

Purchasing Office
PO Box 966
Milwaukee, WI 53201

 General Inquiries

(414) 229-4301

The following is a list of questions frequently received by the Purchasing Office, but is not expected to be exhaustive. Please contact the Purchasing Office with any queries, big or small.

Which purchasing agent can help me with _____?
Please view the commodity listing here. If your commodity is not listed, please contact the Purchasing Office at x4301
Where can I find the Approved Catering List?
You can find the current list here.

If there is a specific caterer you want to use that is not on the list, please have the caterer fill out this form and send it to purchasing@uwm.edu. Purchasing will inform you when they receive the document and have updated the Approved Catering List to include your caterer. If there are any problems, Purchasing will keep you informed while they communicate with the caterer.

Where is my requisition/PO?
External Requisition and Purchase Order status and assignment can be viewed on WISDM (instructions on use of WISDM and other Financial Reporting are provided by Accounting Services staff). All requisitions are time-stamped when they are received by the Purchasing Office. Most requisitions are entered into SFS within 24 hours of receipt – if the requisition/PO is not visible in WISDM, it likely has not been received by the Purchasing Office. You should check with your Department to ensure all the appropriate approvals were received, and that the requisition/PO has been sent to Pre-Audit, and allow appropriate time for inter-office mailing. If a PO is in ‘Approved’ status that means it is entered in SFS; only once the PO is in ‘Dispatched’ status does that mean it is sent to the supplier.  It is the goal of the Purchasing Office to provide electronic requisition submittal and approval in the future – watch this space for exciting news about the Procurement Automation project!
Does the Purchasing office deal with P-Card inquiries?
The P-Card program is administered by Pre-Audit. Please contact Angie Schmocker at x6656
How do furniture purchases work?
Wisconsin State Statute mandates that agencies and UW campuses must buy from Badger State Industries (BSI) – the mandatory State Contract is #505ENT-M15-BSI OFFURN-01 .
If BSI cannot provide the item(s) needed you must obtain a waiver from them before proceeding to order from any other vendor. Please contact the Purchasing Agent responsible for Furniture (Kathy Kercheck, x7162) to discuss whether a waiver is appropriate.
The “Tips for Ordering Furniture” guide provides in-depth information regarding the furniture purchasing contracts and process.
How do I purchase an ergonomic chair?
Please see this helpful guide
How do I make a complaint against a contracted vendor?
The Purchasing Agent who manages the contract can best guide you in resolving problems with Vendors.  In cases where a formal complaint is necessary, please complete and submit form DOA-3686 to the Purchasing Agent managing your procurement.
Can I have the Foundation make this purchase?
Generally speaking, No, the Foundation should not make purchases on behalf of UWM. See this useful Guidance document, and call Purchasing or the Controller’s Office with any questions.
Does a blanket order guarantee the vendor the amount on the PO?
No. The blanket amount is set based on the Department’s estimated requirement, but the Vendor is not guaranteed this amount.
If I'm retiring, how do I purchase my computer from the Department?
Sales of University property to employees are prohibited unless items are sold at announced public sales or auctions. The intent is that state employees cannot be provided with preferential treatment when it comes to surplus sales. The surplus property must be made available to the public at large, to give them a fair chance to acquire it. UWM uses an online auction to sell its surplus property to the public.
Do software or CLOUD purchases go through the Purchasing Office?
Yes. University regulations require that only the Purchasing Office sign procurement contracts, and Wisconsin law has determined that software license agreements (End User License Agreements) fall in this category – including those innocuous seeming ‘click to approve’ agreements. EULAs usually contain language which may put the User at risk. The Purchasing Office can often make changes to these agreements to protect you. If the agreement cannot be changed it will be a business decision of the Department whether to proceed with the purchase, following advise from the Purchasing Office and Legal Affairs.

My department is interested in buying wireless service. Does this need to come through the Purchasing office?
All telecommunications purchasing, including wireless services, must be routed through the Purchasing Office (state statute 16.979)
How and where can I order a laptop or tech accessories? Do I have to go through Purchasing?
Please visit the UWM Tech Store!
How do I get a Shop@UW account? What is an MDS number?
Please see this helpful guide.  You can send questions via email to ShopUW@bussvc.wisc.edu