Ordering Tips

Purchasing 101 For Branded Merchandise

UWM’s Purchasing Department is a valuable partner in your efforts to procure merchandise and other promotional items. From assistance with collecting bids to setting up purchase orders, there are many ways they will be a part of your ordering process. When completing an order for promotional products or merchandise, all standard purchasing rules apply.

Purchasing has assisted some campus departments in conducting a bid process and securing contracts for their promotional items, retail items, uniforms and equipment. This results in some licensed vendors becoming contracted ven­dors, which means the vendors can be used by any department on campus with no additional bidding required. These contracts can be found in the Available Contracts tab on the Purchasing website. There is no requirement to use these vendors.

If a department wishes to purchase branded items from licensed but non-contract vendors they must follow standard procurement policies including understanding Best Judgement rules for orders under $5000 and the requirement to competitively bid orders over $5000; understanding the payment processes and correctly utilizing P-cards, Direct Payments, and Purchase Orders; and the avoidance of Serial Contracting (cumulative orders for like-items, such as apparel, cannot exceed $5000 without bidding).

If you have specific questions or need help with a project, please contact Pam Loignon at loignon@uwm.edu.

Ask questions to receive competitive pricing

You’re strongly encouraged to get 2-3 bids for any project whether or not it is required by purchasing rules. You may be surprised at the variety of prices for similar (or identical) products and what will or won’t be included in that price. You are seeking a partner in your project, not just someone who will fulfill an order for you. And, get everything in writing.

Questions To Ask And Consider

  • Is shipping included in this quote (see below for more shipping info)?
  • Are royalties built in to the price?
  • What types of products have been popular in my price point?
  • Do you want to be unique? Make sure you ask if other campus departments have also been ordering the same product!
  • Make sure to provide them your demographics and ask about new product trends.
  • What are the art, design or set-up costs? Can they help you with a unique design or setup that might make the product more popular and memorable?
  • Are there any product minimums or quantity price breaks?
  • When do you need your product? Make sure you give a deadline when seeking price quotes.

Other Tips For Getting The Best Quotes

  • Create a contact list of your vendors you want a quote from and send one email to all at the same time.
  • Be specific as to what it is you want: You want to make sure that when you get your quotes in you are comparing apples to apples. Give sizes, dimensions, colors, brand names, and model numbers if possible.
  • Ask the vendors to explain their warranty and are you interested in an extended warranty?
  • Tell the vendors UWM will award by the lowest extended cost, to the vendor that meets the requirements of this request.

Additional Delivery And Shipping Information

  • Be sure to ask for shipping costs on the quote. Shipping costs are needed to determine your lowest quote. You should ask for one of the following:

“FOB Destination, Freight Prepaid and Allowed”: the seller assumes the risk of loss up to delivery to UWM. The seller pays for transportation and insurance (AP will not pay a freight charge)

“FOB Destination, Freight Prepaid and Added”: the seller assumes the risk of loss up to delivery to UWM. UWM will pay for the freight and insurance, but the seller must include the freight charges on the quote (AP will pay the freight as invoiced)

  • Tell them where the product needs to be delivered – some products have to be delivered to a loading dock
  • Are there any additional special delivery requirements such as palletized, will need to fit on an elevator, etc.
  • Provide the acceptable delivery times.
  • Some vendors may be able to deliver products to your office or campus location themselves (especially on small orders), which could reduce or even eliminate shipping costs.