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Purchasing and Support
Supplier Guide

We welcome you as a potential supplier and hope this guide will be of assistance to you. The College works actively to increase its supplier diversity and to ensure that all segments of the business community have the opportunity to do business with the College. The guidelines presented in this Supplier Guide are provided for informational purposes only. They do not supersede the laws, regulations, and procedures governing Lake Michigan College. In the event of changes in those laws, regulations, or procedures, those changes are binding and take precedence.

The Purchasing Department supports academic, administrative, advancement and student affairs activities. Central Receiving augments the purchasing and delivery system for all campuses.


The Purchasing Department is located at the Napier Avenue campus in Benton Township at 2755 East Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor MI 49022, room A309.  We can be reached Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (269) 927-8169.

We would ask that: 

  1. Suppliers call ahead for appointments.
  2. Contact the Purchasing Department before calling directly on departments.
  3. Suppliers and potential suppliers maintain contact by telephone calls or visits.
  4. Be sure we have your current catalog and price lists.

The Purchasing Department is responsible for the procurement of all supplies, equipment and services for the College.  College policy states that a purchase order must be generated for all goods and services ordered.  The College’s procurement card (Corporate MasterCard) is now also an official means for purchasing low-value, non-strategic items.  To protect your company, make sure you have a purchase order before you proceed with any service or provide any goods to the College.  If you provide goods or services without a purchase order or procurement card number, you are doing business with the individual who places the order and that individual is personally responsible for any obligations occurred.

The College maintains lists of prospective suppliers by commodity.  Suppliers interested in being placed on our bid list must complete a Supplier Registration/Information Form.  Call the Purchasing Department at (269) 927-8169 to request a form.

It is important for suppliers to respond to bid invitations even when not bidding in order to maintain their active supplier status.  It is the supplier’s responsibility to keep the Purchasing Department informed of any changes in address or other pertinent information.


The Bidder’s Mailing List is consulted when a product or service is to be acquired.  On formal, sealed-bid purchases (goods or services valued at greater than $25,000), the Purchasing Department will solicit bids from suppliers they have on file who market/supply the item(s) being sought.  For informal purchases (goods or services valued at less than $25,000), the Purchasing Department may select suppliers on a random basis, at the discretion of the professional purchasing agent handling the specific commodity needed.


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
The Purchasing Department 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 Purchasing 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.
  • The vendor has failed to substantially perform a College contract or subcontract according to its terms, conditions, and specifications within specified time limits. 
  • The vendor abused the solicitation process or violated the terms of a request for solicitation after bid submission.
  • The 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. 
  • The 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 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.

Purchasing 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 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, Purchasing will verify that the vendor/service provider is not on the General Services Administration’s Excluded Parties List System or an Iran-linked business.

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 must 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.
  • Purchasing Manager or appropriate College designee will provide a written decision after investigating the matter.  This decision is final.

Until issuing a final decision on a timely appeal, Purchasing will not award a contract or purchase order pursuant to a disputed solicitation.  If there is, however, 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.

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:

  • The requesting College department requests cancellation for financial or program reasons
  • All of the responsive bids exceed the cost estimated for the bid
  • None of the bids 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 Purchasing.  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.

Purchasing 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. 

The College accepts deliveries from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday at the Receiving area of the Napier Avenue, Bertrand Crossing, South Haven, M-TEC campuses.  Unless otherwise specified on the purchase order, all deliveries should be made to the Napier Avenue location.  All packages must be correctly addressed and must clearly show the purchase order number on the outside of the package.  Failure to do this may result in refusal of the shipment.

Upon completion of services or delivery of goods, submit your invoice to Accounts Payable, Lake Michigan College, 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor MI 49022.  Be sure our purchase order number is on the invoice.  Without a purchase order number, your payment will be significantly delayed.  In addition, your invoice should:

  • Invoice number and date
  • LMC’s purchase order number
  • List of services or goods provided, with quantity delivered and price per item (do not invoice for items not shipped)
  • Include the name of the site or individual to whom the service or good was delivered (if known)
  • “Remit to” address

Normally, it will take at least 30 days to process your invoice.  If you have not received payment within 30 days of actual invoice, you may want to check the status of your invoice by calling the Accounts Payable Coordinator at (269) 927-6836.



Office equipment and supplies
Building materials/hardware
Communication equipment & supplies
Classroom equipment & supplies
Custodial equipment & supplies
Lab equipment & supplies
Electrical equipment & supplies
Grounds maintenance products
HVAC equipment & supplies
Computer software/hardware
Plumbing equipment & supplies
Athletic equipment & supplies
Vehicles & accessories
Safety, fire & security supplies
Kitchen equipment & equipment
Musical instruments & supplies
Draperies, upholstery, blinds


Memberships & dues
Pest control
Hazardous materials removal
Office equipment maintenance
Workers Compensation insurance
Temporary personnel
Elevator maintenance
Window/door glass replacement
Financial auditing
Armored car
Food/beverage vending
Hotel/motel lodging

Price quoted by the supplier must be exclusive of all tax. The College is exempt from the payment of federal excise taxes and state and local taxes.  The College's Taxpayer ID Number is 38-1738980.

Lake Michigan is an equal opportunity institution, affording enrollment, employment, and services without distinction on the basis of age, color, height, weight, creed, disability, marital status, sexual preference, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, or sex.

Copyright © 2014 Lake Michigan College