PPP16 Simplified Bid Process

Effective 07/12/17
Replaces 04/16/15


The Simplified Bidding Process is necessary when the estimated cost of a supply, service (except printing), or equipment is between $5,000 and less than $49,999.99. The Simplified Bidding Process may be performed by departments or will be performed by Purchasing Services. Departments may RECOMMEND awards to Purchasing Services. Simplified bidding performed by departments will be subject to review by Purchasing Services which may elect to solicit additional bids to assure the requirement for competitive bidding has been met. Official award will be made by Purchasing Services. See PRO-303 (Best Judgement Purchasing).

Simplified Bidding is not intended to circumvent other appropriate purchasing procedures. Mandatory State Bulletins must be used unless prior approval is obtained through Purchasing Services. UW-Madison and UW System (UWS) have non-mandatory contracts available for department convenience and savings. See UW Madison Contracts or UW System Contracts.

When the cost of a transaction is estimated to be $50,000 or more, Official Sealed Bids are required. Please contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for instructions.

CONTACT: For additional information on the Simplified Bid Processing, contact Purchasing Services for the agent who is assigned the commodity you are purchasing.

Things to Consider
Ethics/Conflict of Interest. Classified Staff refer to Classified Employee Work Guidelines and Chapter ER-Pers 24 of the Wisconsin Administrative Rules. Faculty and Academic Staff refer to Wisconsin Administrative Code, UWS Chapter 8. Website:http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/uws/8

Confidentiality of Bids. UW-Madison personnel must be careful not to give one vendor an advantage by inadvertently sharing another vendor’s prices, terms, or other bid information during the course of the bidding process.

Only information needed to clarify a specification and prepare a bid may be given out and made available to all vendors.

Vendors may ask to be notified of the bid results. Departments are not authorized to release this information until after the purchase order has been issued.

Insurance. Insurance coverage will be required from the successful bidder for service, installation, inside delivery and other work performed on campus. It is imperative that this requirement be made known to the supplier as part of the bid specification. Contact your department purchasing person or Purchasing Services for assistance in this area. Review IPP 12.

When other campus departments or other government agencies are considered viable vendors, they should be contacted and considered prior to any competitive bidding process, not concurrent with.


1. Prepare written specifications before soliciting bids. Elements that may be included are:

1.1 Quantity wanted; packaging information (i.e. 12 60-oz. containers/case).

1.2 Trade or brand name; manufacturer part number, model number, and catalog number.

1.3 Physical description; i.e. dimensions, size, color, weight, grade, finish; composition; performance requirements.

1.4 For installation and/or service contracts: insurance requirements, nature of service, location, time limits.

1.5 Delivery deadline if applicable; delivery location(s); type of delivery, i.e. dock delivery, installed.

1.6 Request for freight costs if not already included in the bid price.

2. Prepare a bidders list by using bidders from previous purchases, catalogs, yellow pages, trade publications, or contact a purchasing agent for suggestions. Departments are required to solicit bids from at least one Minority Business Enterprises (MBE). Contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for guidance on determining awards involving these types of vendors.

3. Obtain price quotations by one or a combination of the methods. In all methods, collect the following information: supplier/company name and order address; first and last name of person giving the quote; date and/or number of current price list used; date of quote; unit price, extended price, and lot total where designated; freight costs if not included in price; delivery date or calendar days until delivery from when supplier receives your order (i.e. 3 weeks after receipt of order (ARO); and designation of Minority Business and/or Sheltered Workshop using the Simplified Bidding Record.

3.1 Telephone or email. Contact the suppliers directly. It is important the suppliers understand you are taking COMPETITIVE BIDS and not placing an order. Provide all suppliers with the exact same specifications and information, and request they get back to you by a specific date with their quotation. The nature of the procurement and the urgency of your need will determine this deadline. Be sure to allow sufficient time for special situations where a site inspection may be necessary, i.e. service contracts. In the event you need to alter the specifications because of a change in needs, error in the specification, etc., it will be necessary to re-contact all suppliers. Remember, competitive bids are confidential until the purchase order is issued.

3.2 Facsimile (FAX). Prepare a list of your needs and the specification and transmit it to the suppliers. It is important to include in a prominent position, the phrase “REQUEST FOR BID” so the supplier does not think it is an order.

3.3 Written Request for Bid. Similar to a facsimile quotation except the document is mailed to the suppliers.

3.4 Price Lists. Prices may be taken from current price lists. These lists MUST be current and appropriate for the commodity area. It is best to check with the supplier by phone or facsimile to confirm the pricing. In many cases, there may be an additional discount for a quantity purchase or an educational institution discount.

3.5 In the event the supplier does not respond by the stated deadline, the phrase “No Response” should be entered on the Simplified Bid Summary Sheet. This no response may be used to meet the requirement of three or more solicitations.

3.6 In the event a supplier elects not to bid, the phrase “No Bid” should be entered in the Simplified Bid Summary Sheet. This no bid may be used to meet the requirement for three or more solicitations.

4. Analyze bid results. The recommended award shall be made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting all the specifications (to be determined by an agent or delegated agent).

4.1 Minority Business Enterprises receive a 5% price preference in competitive bidding. Contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for guidance in making these determinations.

4.2 When the recommended award is made to other than the lowest bidder, a justification must be provided for each bid that is lower than the recommended award. Examples include: the low bid is for an alternate item of inferior quality (be specific), the low bid cannot meet the required delivery deadline, other deviations from the bid specification. Contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for assistance in this area.

4.3 If there are tied bids or if there is some confusion, contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for assistance.

4.4 Attach the completed Simplified Bid Summary Sheet to the requisition.

5. Upon reviewing simplified bidding results, Purchasing Services may elect to solicit additional bids. Purchasing Services will be the agent of record on the purchase order; it is their responsibility to see that the requirement for competitive bidding has been met.


IPP #12–INSURANCE: (High risk, Transportation Liability, Loaner Equipment, High Value Orders)
PPP #3–Best Judgement Purchasing (Less than $5000.00)
PRO-302  State of WI  Procurement Manual
Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter ER-Pers 24
Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter UWS 8
Simplified Bidding Record
Special Conditions of Bid