Vendors' Basics for Business
Located on a 300-acre tree-lined campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is highly ranked for best quality of life by the Princeton Review and for best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
VENDORS - PLEASE NOTE:
Due to the administrative burden resulting from the maintenance of a vendor master database, all unsolicited requests to become a registered, preferred, approved or any other classification as a vendor at Rice University without having the University first identifying a need for your goods or services, will be ignored. Repeated unsolicited requests to be registered as a vendor may result in debarment for a period not less than twelve (12) months.
Rice University has operated what is referred to a distributed administrative structure in term of the procure-to-pay cycle in the past, but this is changing as the institution introduces technologies that permit efficiency. Departments and Areas are still responsible for identifying those goods and services that they require for daily business activity, but they now have additional tools to use to assist in making vendor selection and enabling transactions that conform to a set of standards. This is important as vendors who have worked with Rice in the past will need to update their expectations and modify their relationships to accommodate these changes. Examples of the changes are order must be documented IN ADVANCE of a transaction using a purchase order or the end-user must use an official Rice University purchasing card to create a transaction. Vendors that accept orders that are not issued out of the eprocurement system (official Rice Purchase Orders) or accept a credit card transaction are engaging in unauthorized transactions with individuals who are violating Rice policy. This has consequences for the vendor in that the University may not recognize the transactions and the individual creating it will be personally responsible for settling the obligation with the vendor.
Click on each of the topics below for more information.
- Methods of Purchasing
- Back Orders or Product Delays
- Terms & Conditions
- Compliance with procedures
- No Gifts or Gratuities
- Vendor's Code of Conduct at Rice University
Soliciting on Campus
Please remember: Rice University is private property. It is NOT an open campus for solicitations.
Soliciting without prior appointments is not permitted at Rice University. Such activity distracts from the normal daily business and enhances the chance that an employee not authorized to make a commitment on behalf of Rice may inadvertently do so. Vendors who engage in soliciting on campus without appointments will be warned for a first infraction by the Office of Procurement and subsequent instances may result in debarment and removal from all vendor systems for a period not less than six (6) months. Also, having one or more clients on the campus does not waive this limitation. Always schedule an appointment with a prospective client.
Telephone solicitation is never authorized for Rice University. Vendors may call and request an appointment only. Vendors engaging in telephone solicitation to any office other than the Office of Procurement may be barred from campus and all active vendor records (i.e the ability of that vendor to conduct business with Rice University) may be purged from the vendor master database. Vendors who telephone the Office of Procurement may be directed to put their solicitation in writing and given an email address to submit it. The Office of Procurement will vet these solicitations against current opportunities.
Email solicitation to campus staff and faculty is discouraged. A recent study by a well-respected marketing firm showed that over 95% of email solicitations were classified as spam on campus and corporate email servers. Of those making it to the end user, virtually all are deleted or otherwise ignored. The most frequent complaint to the Office of Procurement about vendors is regarding email and telephone solicitation. We ask all vendors to refrain from email solicitation.
Financial references are available when establishing a documented vendor relationship with Rice University. These references will be provided at that time. The Office of Procurement can be contacted at email@example.com to request this documentation when it is appropriate to do so.
Methods of Purchasing
There are two methods of conducting business with Rice University in the procurement of goods and services. Individuals may use a purchasing card (credit card) up to $3000 or issue a purchase order through the Rice Marketplace eProcurement system. Vendors receiving a purchase order from Rice University carries with it the obligation to supply the ordered goods or services at the agreed-upon price, at the promised time, and without the need for buyer's intervention, renegotiation, or continued expediting. Vendors should never accept requests for goods or services from Rice University without a purchase order number or a Purchasing Card number. Doing so creates additional administrative burden and vendors shall be on notice that if they choose to accept an order outside these two methods, they do so with the full understanding that Rice University does not recognize the transaction and is under no obligation to pay for the goods or services without a full and complete accounting, in advance, of the transaction by the individual who initiated it.
Rice University accepts invoices only for goods and/or services ordered in advance of the date of the invoice via a valid Rice University-issued purchase order. Invoices shall contain the accurate purchaser order number. Invoices that are mailed or hand-delivered to an address other than the Bill-To address marked on the purchase order or the Controller's Office (see directly below) immediately waive all payment penalties (late fees, etc.) and there is no guarantee Rice University can verify the invoice was received in a timely manner. Payment terms are standard Net-30 days.
Submit all invoices to:
PO Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892
Back Orders or Product Delays
Rice University Office of Procurement expects all vendors to proactively contact the office of Procurement at 713-348-4439 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any and all delays in fulfillment, fabrication, or shipment resulting in back orders or other delays. Repeated failure to do so may result in a vendor review by the Office of Procurement which may lead to a suspension and debarment for a period of time as determined by the Director of Procurement. Additionally, payment for back-ordered items may be delayed as well when considering the expiration of grant funds and other issued that result from the delay in fulfillment.
Pricing for all goods and services shall be agreed upon IN ADVANCE of the transaction. Acceptance of the Purchase Order issued by Rice University indicates agreement with the pricing contained on the document. Additional charges and fees like shipping and handling, dry ice charges or other ancillary fees are to be made known to the individual at the time of purchase or when the Purchase Order is received or they may be rejected at time of payment. At no time shall a vendor who lists catalog pricing in the University SciQuest eProcurement system reject a Purchase Order or invoice for pricing at a higher rate if the vendor has not updated their catalog and pricing. If pricing is not correct on a received purchase order, the vendor may contact the point of contact on the Purchase Order or email email@example.com to confirm and update pricing.
Unless otherwise agreed to, in writing, prior to shipment of the product, Rice University does not accept substitutions.
All written communications shall reference the PURCHASE ORDER NUMBER in the subject line. Vendors are directed to communicate via email as much as possible to preserve a record of the transaction history and communications. When phone calls occur, there should be a follow-up email. Vendors can find the point of contact for any purchase order issued on the purchase order. Additionally, all vendors can reach the Office of Procurement at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase Order Terms & Conditions
Purchase Order Terms and Conditions are a standard document that end users are not authorized to change, manipulate or otherwise void in total or any section within the document. Only the Office of Procurement, in consultation with the General Counsel's office may waive or alter the terms and conditions. Contact the Office of Procurement at email@example.com if your company has any issues with our standard terms and conditions. Please see the electronic version of terms and conditions found here.
Compliance with purchasing, shipping, delivery, and invoicing procedures
All Rice University vendors honor official Rice University purchase orders, follow the terms and conditions contained within the purchase order document, follow written shipping instructions on the purchase order (if any), and deliver goods to specific buildings and locations (as stipulated on the purchaser order document) during normal business hours. Additionally, as previously stated, vendors shall invoice per the Rice University instructions above. Failure to comply with written instructions waives all payment terms and may result in undue administrative delay of payment.
No Gifts or Gratuities
To avoid any conflict of interest, perceived or otherwise and in accordance with Rice University policy No. 838, The Office of Procurement advises all vendors and Rice University employees to avoid giving or receiving any gift or gratuity OF ANY VALUE to avoid the appearance of a potential conflict of interest. While gifts of nominal value are sometimes permitted, it is best, especially for Rice University employees, to avoid, in every instance, an offered gift from a vendor, regardless of value.
Vendor's Code of Conduct for Rice University
Vendors doing business with the University are expected to adhere to the following Vendor Code of Conduct: All purchases of goods and services from outside vendors are to be preceded by the issuance of an official Purchase Order generated by NUFinancicals that is then provided to the vendor. An official Purchase Order begins with the prefix PUR and includes the signature of the Director of Purchasing.
1. Invoices shall be presented to Rice University with a valid Rice University Purchase Order number unless otherwise waived by the Office of Procurement.
2. Invoices shall not be sent until after the product has been shipped or the service has been performed.
3. The term Preferred Vendor at Rice University is reserved only for those vendors that the Office of Procurement has established a formal contract or agreement with on behalf of the University.
4. The appropriate way to conduct business with Rice University is to call and schedule an appointment prior to visiting a particular department or school. NO TELEPHONE SOLICITATIONS.
5. It is inappropriate for a vendor to make a donation of any sort to a department/school that may influence a future purchasing decision. In addition, Rice University students and student organizations have no authority to commit the University to the purchase of any product or service without the use of an authorized Rice University purchasing card.
6. The Office of Procurement reserves the right to request a detailed spend report from any vendor registered in the Rice University financial system. Requested reports must be provided in a timely manner.
7. The Office of Procurement reserves the right to utilize third party benchmarking services when analyzing proposals and quotes submitted by vendors.
8. The Office of Procurement strongly discourages marketing efforts directed at departments and schools where a Preferred Vendor contract(s) already exists.
The University reserves the right to inactivate a vendor if they do not abide by the above.