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Purchasing and Support
Public Bidding Process

Bid/Proposal Specifications and Documents
Please see Purchasing Thresholds section, below, to determine bidding levels.  When preparing competitive bids, it is College policy that a sufficient number of vendors should be contacted/solicited to ensure fair and open competition in the procurement process.

In cooperation with the department making the request, the Purchasing Department will gather information about the goods or services desired; write specifications; and solicit bids/proposals from suppliers maintained on commodity specific bid lists, as well as those provided by the requestor.  Bids shall be advertised through an appropriate media. 

The type of solicitation issued by the Purchasing Department depends, in part, upon the complexity of the specifications.

  1. Requests for Bids (RFBs):  issued when specifications are of a nature that the award is to be made upon the lowest bid meeting specifications.
  2. Requests for Proposals (RFPs):  issued when specifications or scope of work is complex and/or when subjective factors, other than price alone, are to be used in the evaluation for award. 
  3. Requests for Qualifications (RFQs):  most appropriate in procurement of professional service contracts.  An RFQ describes the scope of the work and requests information as to why a vendor would be best suited to provide the service.  A selection committee rates the candidates based on a predetermined rating format.  Negotiations then proceed with the highest rated candidate as to price and statement of work.  Should an agreement not be negotiated with the highest rated candidate, the process repeats itself with the next highest rated candidate until the procurement is completed.

Regardless of the type of solicitation, the vendor/service provider may be required to provide certification that they are not an Iran-linked business nor on the Government Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List.

It is the responsibility of Purchasing to ensure that potential vendors/suppliers have a reasonable amount of time to prepare bids and proposals and submit/deliver them.  In determining this time, the relative complexity of each request, as well as the manner in which it is to be transmitted to and received from prospective vendors/suppliers are to be considered.  For written requests that are to be physically transported and submitted/delivered or mailed, 10 business days is the norm, with 15 business days or more allowed for more complex requests.  For requests transmitted and received electronically, a shorter time period may be used.

As a State supported institution, Lake Michigan College is required to make available documentation and information relative to various purchasing records and bidding documents.  It is appropriate for the Purchasing Manager to release pricing information to interested vendors when requests are made regarding a specific bid or purchase order.  No information, however, may be released concerning a bid in process.  Additionally, all bid response information marked "proprietary" will be considered confidential and not released. 

 

Purchasing Thresholds

  • Purchases under $2,500 should use the electronic requisition process or, when appropriate, a College procurement card. Purchases from $2,500 to $4,999 should use the electronic requisition process.
  • Purchases of $5,000 to under $25,000 require a minimum of three written quotations solicited by Purchasing or by the requestor if approved by Purchasing.  The award will be made to the supplier whose quotation is most advantageous to the College, where price, quality and other factors are considered.  Such quotations will remain on file in the Purchasing Office for a minimum of three years.
  • Purchases of tangible property in excess of $25,000 may require competitive sealed bids solicited by the Purchasing Office.  Such solicitations require advertisement through the appropriate media.  Bids remain on file in the Purchasing Office for a minimum of three years.        

When it is determined that it is neither practicable nor advantageous to solicit bids because of the unique or unquantifiable nature of the material or service required, the competitive request for proposal or request for qualifications method may be used.

Professional services agreements and other typical professional services will be solicited through Request for Proposal or the Request for Qualifications method rather than competitive bid.  Such solicitations will be considered on the ability to perform the work and experience of the assigned professional(s) as well as of the firm, price and time frames for completion. 

  • Purchases of $100,000 and over must be approved by the Board of Trustees, unless already authorized within the approval of a larger capital project.  Such solicitations require sealed bids solicited by Purchasing.  Solicitations will remain on file in the Purchasing Office for a minimum of three years.  Solicitations require advertisement through an appropriate media.

Procurement of professional services of $100,000 and over may use the Request for Proposal or Request for Qualifications method and require Board authorization.  Documentation of the selection criteria/scoring must be submitted to the Purchasing Office. 

 

Bid Withdrawal
A bidder may withdraw a bid prior to the bid opening time and date by contacting the Purchasing Manager. Requests for return of a bid after the due date will not be honored since the bid becomes College property and is, therefore, not returnable.

 

Source Selection
Purchasing is responsible for the selection of reputable and responsible vendors. Vendors who have not previously conducted business with Lake Michigan College are advised to contact the Purchasing office and request an application to be added to our vendor list. Purchasing may solicit quotes/bids/proposals from all suppliers in any particular category or select those who it believes are best qualified to provide the supplies or services. The department submitting a request to Purchasing may suggest vendors as potential suppliers.

 

Vendor Debarment
Purchasing may bar a vendor from consideration for award of contract or purchase order if:

  • Within the past three years, the vendor, an officer of the company, or owner of a 25% or more share of the company has been convicted of a criminal offense incident to the application for, or performance of a contract or subcontract.
  • Within the past three years, the vendor, an officer of the company, or owner of a 25% or more share of the company has been convicted of an offense which reflects on the vendor’s business integrity such as embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, receiving stolen property, or breaking state or federal antitrust laws.
  • Vendor has failed to substantially perform a College contract or subcontract according to its terms, conditions, and specifications within specified time limits.
  • Vendor abused the solicitation process or violated the terms of a request for solicitation after bid submission.
  • Vendor failed to cooperate in monitoring contract performance by failing to provide information or documents required by the contract, failed to respond to complaints to vendor, or accumulated repeated justified complaints regarding performance of a contract.
  • Vendor is listed on the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System.
  • Vendor is an Iran-linked business

 

Bid Evaluation
Every bid includes criteria for determining which vendor offers the best value to the College and meets the vendor qualifications, delivery time, specifications, terms and conditions contained in the solicitation. When a solicitation requires an oral presentation or submission of test samples, or inspection of facilities or place of business, the factors are part of the bid evaluation. The total cost may include unit price, delivery and installation, maintenance and cost of operation, as defined in the solicitation. If there is a discrepancy between a unit price and its extension, the unit price will prevail.

The Purchasing Department does not consider the following in evaluating bids:

  • Assistance in developing specifications or other advisory services a vendor provides. Although such assistance is valuable and appreciated, there is no preferential treatment for these services.
  • Equipment a vendor installs on a free trial basis.
  • Reciprocity or Quid Pro Quo – There is no understanding or agreement that a vendor will be awarded a contract or purchase order based upon his/her financial contribution to the College.

 

Award
Award of a purchase order/contract is based on the best value to the College. The solicitation will indicate the various criteria that will be used in determining the best value, including price, quality, availability, delivery, and fitness for the particular purpose. Consideration is also given to the vendor’s potential ability to successfully perform under the terms and conditions, and the vendor’s past performance record.

The College reserves the right to award by item, group of items, or total bid. The College further reserves the right to reject any and all bids if it is determined that the best interests of the College are served by doing so. The College may reject all bids for a solicitation and not award, may cancel a solicitation, or conduct a rebid. The Purchasing Department notifies successful and unsuccessful bidders in writing.

For awards of $25,000 or more, the Purchasing Department shall verify that the vendor/service provider is not on the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System.

 

Tied Bids
If the lowest, most responsible, and responsive bids received are for the same amount or unit price and all the criteria mentioned above in Award are equal, then the award shall be made to the local vendor. If both vendors are local, then the following criteria will be used:

  • Ability to provide service/goods (i.e., most favorable references/recommendations)
  • Date and time of bid submission

 

Vendor Appeals
Only a bidder on the solicitation may appeal an award decision. A bidder is considered a vendor who has submitted a formal offer which meets all specified requirements. In order to initiate an appeal, a vendor must:

  • Within 24 workday hours (based on 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) of the bid opening, issue a written appeal to the Purchasing Manager.
  • The written appeal should include the bid name and clearly state the facts believed to constitute an error in the award recommendation. Only information provided within the 24-hour deadline will be considered.
  • The Purchasing Manager or appropriate College designee/administrator will provide a written decision after investigating the matter. This decision is final.

Until issuing a final decision on a timely appeal, the Purchasing Department will not award a contract or purchase order pursuant to a disputed solicitation. However, if there is a threat to public health, safety or welfare, or danger of immediate and substantial harm to College property from delay in making an award, the College may proceed with an award and provide written justification for such action.

Appeals requesting a waiver of the following omissions and requirements cannot be granted:

  • Failure to sign a bid
  • Failure to properly submit a bid per bid instructions
  • Failure to submit the bid by the required date and time
  • Failure to initial erasure or correction to pricing information in ink
  • Failure to provide a required bid deposit or performance bond by the date and time required
  • Failure to submit a timely appeal

If there were no responsive bids, these requirements may be waived.

 

Rebids/Cancellations

The College may cancel or rebid a solicitation before the award of a contract or receipt of a purchase order by a vendor for any of the following reasons:

Initiating College department requests cancellation for financial or program reasons:

  • All of the responsive bids exceed the cost estimated for the bid
  • No bid met the required specifications or complied with the terms and conditions of the solicitation
  • No bids were received
  • A vendor appeal was granted
  • The best interest of the College will be served by doing so
  • The specifications, statement of work, or terms and conditions will not accomplish the intended objective
  • The specifications, statement of work, or terms and conditions do not adequately protect the College’s best interest
  • The solicitation or the resulting contract would be in violation of law.

  

Exceptions to Bid Process

  1. Library:  library books, subscription renewals
  2. Items/services intended for resale (ex: food and beverage)
  3. Documented sole source purchases
  4. Emergencies
  5. Cooperative/association purchases
  6. Mendel Center Mainstage show contracts

 

Bonding Requirements

  1. Bid bonds are required on all construction or maintenance project bids that are estimated at $100,000 or larger. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President, Financial Services or Vice President, Administrative Services. Bid bonds are normally required in the amount of 5% of the vendor's bid.
  2. Performance and Labor/Material Bonds are required on all construction or maintenance project bids estimated at $100,000 or larger. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President, Financial Services or Vice President, Administrative Services. Bonds are normally required to be 100% of the vendor's total bid.
  3. All bonds in effect are to remain in the Purchasing office and are the responsibility of the Manager. All bonds are returned to the appropriate vendor after approved completion of the project.
  4. All bonds must be from bonding companies licensed to do business in the State of Michigan.

 

Government Contracts & Grants
The College receives support from the state and federal governments in the form of contracts, grants and other agreements. Specific agencies and individual agreements will sometimes impose unique administrative requirements. An inherent responsibility in accepting government funding is that financial administration and procurement will be carried out with the same care and control as is exercised in the College's purchasing procedures.

The Purchasing office will assist persons involved with special sources to solicit bids and/or quotes, where appropriate, to maximize to the fullest extent the purchasing value of these funds.

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