The Federal Acquisition Regulation defines a small purchase as $25,000 or less. Tufts University requires that any purchase over $5,000 (20% of the small dollar purchase threshold of $25,000) comply with Competition and Price Reasonableness procedures.
Tufts University requires competitive bidding and documentation for every purchase order $10,000 and over. Buyers are expected to promote competition and ensure advantageous pricing by soliciting bids from a minimum of three vendors and to select the lowest bidder able to meet the requirements. For orders $10,000 and over the quotations must be written. Requestors of quotations must retain documentation of these bids/quotations in department files for audit purposes.
Non-competitive Supplier Selection
Occasionally, a buyer is unable or chooses not to competitively bid the requirements. These situations involve selected or sole sources. A selected source: alternative suppliers exist in the competitive market, but the buyer chooses a particular supplier because of technical requirements (precision, reliability) or past performance by other suppliers (poor service, availability of parts). A sole source: no other supplier is capable of fully meeting the requirements. Sole sources should be the exception, not the rule.
Tufts University also requires documentation verifying that all purchase prices are fair and reasonable. The buyer must provide documentation of cost/price analysis for all non-competitive purchase orders $10,000 and over. Documentation can be based on the price of previous and similar purchases, current price lists, catalogs, advertisements and negotiated pricing agreements (vendor partnerships).