Purchasing Division

Central Purchasing
Contact Information

322 Peterson Service Bldg.
411 S Limestone
Lexington, KY 40506-0005

Phone: 859 257-9100
Fax: 859-257-1951

How-To-Buy Guide


The University of Kentucky is one of the largest purchasers of goods and services in the state of Kentucky. Since purchases trigger from college, department, and unit needs, staff who procure those goods and services at the local level have an important role. From office supplies to vehicles and computers to independent contractors, there are a number of methods, policies, procedures, and guidelines that ensure purchases are compliant and represent best value. In addition, the University is a fluid environment; many factors relating to procurement constantly evolve requiring flexibility and attentiveness from departmental stakeholders.

The Purchasing Division is structured with three general service areas: Central Purchasing (which includes Construction procurement), Hospital Purchasing, and Surplus. A listing of staff members with contact information is available here.

Policies, Procedures, and Compliance

Since the University is supported by public funding, procurement is regulated through a number of governing regulations. The Kentucky Model Procurement Code is the key state legislation that dictates and governs how goods and services are purchased. A number of Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) and Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR) also apply to University procurement; for instance, University printing is tightly regulated by both KRS and KAR references. As the University is recipient of significant federal funding, grant-based purchases must comply with requirements related to federal Uniform Guidance, conflicts of interests, etc. Purchases for University healthcare areas are subject to HIPPA laws, ethics compliance, patient protection, etc. In addition, the Purchasing Division has a number of awarded price contracts which represent approved/preferred suppliers. Purchasing works to manage university procurement in such a way to ensure compliance requirements are met while taking into consideration the need for effective and efficient ordering of best-value goods and services for customers.

Methods of Purchase

Before exploring purchase methods, it is important for departments to understand the concept of Delegated Authority. All University departments are delegated limited authority to procure goods and services for their needs. This authority passes to departmental staff who complete required training and act earnestly on behalf of the institution and compliance when conducting purchases.

In general, the University uses the following three methods for purchase transactions: Procurement Card (P-card), Purchase Order (PO), and Payment Request Document (PRD). At a high level, P-card is a form of delegated authority designated for many (although not all) small-dollar purchases and typically has a limit of $5000 per transaction. Purchase orders are used for purchases that have characteristics such as e-procurement suppliers, written agreements, order amounts > $5000, capital purchases, and transactions that have additional compliance requirements. Payment Request Documents are based on delegated authority, like the P-card, and are limited to specific commodities for creating payables. The appropriate method can be found from the Purchasing / AP Quick Reference Guide on the Purchasing website.

Technology and Systems

The University uses several technology solutions to transact procurement activities. SAP is the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system used for the entire University enterprise; in some manner, all procurement transactions are based in SAP and accessed through the myUK environment. Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) is an SAP suite product and serves as the Shopping/e-Procurement solution for transactions requiring purchase orders. P-card and PRD transactions are conducted through myUK. Healthcare areas, particularly the hospital system, use SAP as its primary technology solution with regards to procurement. The University uses PaymentWorks, a third-party supplier management solution, to validate and on-board vendors for use in its systems.

Training Opportunities and Requirements

Procurement activities within departments are based on roles and permissions. These are assigned through formal planning with the employees completing the required training programs.

P-card: Visit the Procurement Card page on the Accounts Payable website for information, forms, and application. Qualification for a procurement card requires attendance in a classroom-based training.

SRM Shopping Cart / SAP Requisition: These roles are required at the department level to create Shopping Carts or SAP Requisitions (if hospital). Information and steps for obtaining the roles can be found here. Training is available online through myUK Learning.

Staff can apply for the Payment Request Document role and training via the Training Request Form.

Vendor Management

The University's master vendor data resides in SAP. Authorized departmental staff can search the SAP vendor master data to determine whether a needed vendor is already listed for use on a transactions (e.g., Shopping Cart). A vendor search guide is available if needed for locating vendors.

For new vendor registrations and updates, the University utilizes PaymentWorks as its on-boarding solution. University staff can access PaymentWorks through myUK / Enterprise Services tab to send an invitation to a vendor for registration. As part of the on-boarding process, vendors are validated based on various internal business and compliance requirements. The University is prohibited from transacting with any person or entity who is federally debarred or suspended or who may show to have sanctions against them. There are also limitations, particularly as it relates to federally sponsored projects, in transacting with foreign individuals or businesses. It is a good idea to initiate a vendor invitation via PaymentWorks as early as possible in the procurement process in the event they do not pass the validation requirements.

Helpful Resources

A number of resources are available for departments to utilize in support of procurement activities:

The Purchasing website has a number of resources available to departments including news updates, training/help guides, staff directory, FAQs, policies and procedures, etc.

Business Procedures Manual - formal University-wide reference for business procedures and policies relating to procurement as well as other financial transactions.

Commodity Listings indicate the various items purchased by the University as they are assigned by Category Specialists or alphabetical vendor order.

Purchasing / AP Quick Reference Guide - used to determine appropriate method based on commodity

Price Contracts - these represent approved/preferred suppliers who have received awards based on competitive solicitations as required by law. Purchases from awarded price contracts are compliant and represent best value based on the Model Procurement Code..

PaymentWorks support and help materials for departments can be found here.

Purchasing issues newsletters on a regular basis which are available from the Purchasing home page.

How To Get Assistance

Following are resources that may be helpful as you navigate procurement for your college, department, or area:

General inquiries:
UKPurchasing@uky.edu or phone 257-9100

Technical Support (e.g., Shopping Cart, Requisition, Goods Confirmation questions):

Vendor On-boarding Technical Support: Support@paymentworks.com

Purchasing Listserv: Follow these instructions to self-enroll to the Purchasing ListServ and receive procurement-related updates and news. Send e-mail to LISTSERV@lsv.uky.edu with the following text in the message body:

subscribe UKPURCHNEWS Yourfirstname Yourlastname

The subject line should be blank as well as the rest of the body of the email.