Strategic Sourcing

The University's Procurement Policy states that all goods and services shall be obtained at the best overall value to the University as is consistent with the quantity, quality, durability, availability, serviceability, and other factors affecting service and use as required by the using department of the University.

The UPST Sourcing & Category Management Team manages ~$1 Billion in spend annually for the University with a focus on leveraging leading practice strategic and collaborative sourcing practices to maximize benefits/savings to UMass in partnership with the campuses.

  1. Products or Services purchased off a University, State (OSD)/ COMMBUYSE&I (Educational & Institutional Cooperative Purchasing) or MHEC (Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium) contract
  2. Purchases of materials, goods, commodities, leases (including equipment or real property), or licenses (including software or real property) less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in value.
  3. The best overall value based on a minimum of two with a preferred three quotes for purchases of materials, goods, commodities, leases (including equipment or real property), and licenses (including software) between ten thousand dollars ($10,000) and fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) in value.
  4. Consultant, services contracts, or sub-contracts with fees of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or less per fiscal year.
  5. A No-Bid Justification form is completed

An exception to competitive procurement (no-bid justification) may only be used if the following conditions exist:

  • The product or service being purchased is unique and the specified vendor is the only vendor from whom the product or service may be purchased, or
  • Similar products/services may exist, but for reasons of expertise, standardization, quality, compatibility with existing equipment, specifications, or availability, the vendor selected is the only acceptable vendor to the University.

No Bid Justification (NBJ) (formerly sole source): For UMB and UMass Amherst Campuses, can also be used for select departments in other campuses whose requisitions do not originate in BuyWays.

Highly technical and complex purchases of equipment, software, and certain technical services may not be ideally suited for traditional RFXs or “paper based” evaluations; i.e., appropriate diligence and evaluation may require actual hands-on use, or for services, actual experience with the processing.

Proofs of concept and trial agreements are agreements between the University and a Contractor to determine suitability to meet University requirements. Whenever possible the University’s standard proof of concept or trial agreement form shall be used. Given the preceding, and subject to the approval of UPST, Departments may substitute a proof of concept or trial to evaluate at least two (2) potential Goods or Service offers.  The proof of concept or trial exercise must include:

  • Execution of a proof of concept or trial agreement
  • Documented evaluation criteria
  • Submitted pricing from each bidder
  • Pricing/Cost analysis based on likely consumption of Goods and/or Services
  • Bidder’s response to the University’s Purchase Agreement; and
  • Documented scoring of both bidders across all of the above elements

The intent of the proof of concept or trial exception is not the elimination of marketplace competition but as an alternative when all requirements are not necessarily known at the initiation of the purchasing process or when the nature of the functionality does not lend itself to the traditional RFX process.

System-Wide Initiatives

Executive Recruitment Firm

The Executive Recruitment Firm Program empowers departments with a rich selection of firms to tap into when seeking exceptional talent for executive and leadership roles.


The IT VAR (Value-Added Reseller) program features 4 strategic suppliers: Connection, Whalley, WEI, and CDW-G. The program ensures accountability, compliance, and proactive supplier management. 

SLWM (SupplyLogic)

SLWM, formerly known as SupplyLogic, is a tech-enabled managed service provider that offers UMass campuses a punchout catalog and quote & question form options for ordering print. 

Forms & Resources

Sourcing Request FormSubmit a sourcing request to the Strategic Sourcing team
Competitive Procurement Reference GuideOutlines the type of purchase agreement needed based on the type of good or service
Exceptions to Competitive Procurement GuideOutlines when a purchase agreement is not required


Policy Purpose
Vendor RelationshipsProcedures that outline how the the University will adhere to the highest ethical principles in its relationships with vendors and the procurement of any goods and services 
Information Technology AcquisitionProcedures that outline how IT departments should be involved with the up-front evaluation and planning for new IT-related systems or services to ensure the systems are installed in compliance with University security standards

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