Doing Business with Lehigh

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General Information
Purchasing Services welcomes you as a potential or new supplier, and hopes this information will be of assistance. It is intended to give you an overview of the purchasing process at Lehigh and to highlight key areas in the purchasing process. Suppliers looking to conduct business with Lehigh must adhere to all instructions identified in this document or published on the website.

Purchasing Services is the University’s central purchasing organization responsible for the acquisition of all equipment, services, and supplies. In certain instances, however, purchasing authority has been delegated to other organizations within the University. The University Bookstore is responsible for the procurement of all bookstore merchandise. The University Libraries are responsible for the procurement of all journals, newspapers, periodicals and reference books. While various departments are authorized to source and request bids and quotes, their requisitions must be approved, processed into purchase orders, and authorized by Purchasing. Accounts Payable is responsible for making all payments to suppliers.

Approved Procurement Methods
University financial policy requires that all purchase transactions greater than $5,000 be conducted using an authorized Lehigh University purchase order, and signed by a duly authorized University representative. If the purchase is less than $5,000, a limited purchase order (LPO) or a University OneCard may be used. At no time is a supplier permitted to accept a purchase request without receipt of an authorized University purchase order, limited purchase order, or OneCard number. Shipments of goods or provision of services to the University without prior receipt of a University PO or OneCard number will, at the minimum, delay the supplier’s payment, or may be considered a gift to the University, without any additional obligation for payment on the part of the University. If you have any questions regarding the University’s procurement process, or would like additional information, contact Purchasing at 610-758-3840 during business hours of 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please direct all written correspondence to: Lehigh University, Purchasing Services, 516 Brodhead Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18015, or

Code of Ethics
Purchasing staff endorses principles identified in the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP) Code of Ethics, as well as the University’s own policy on conflict of interest.

Making the Initial Contact with the University
Making the initial contact with Purchasing is a critical first step to successfully participating in the University procurement process. If you are unsure of who to contact, phone Purchasing’s main number at 610-758-3840. All suppliers are expected, as a courtesy, to make appointments to meet with Purchasing and other University personnel. “Cold calling” is not an acceptable practice.

Supplier Registration Process
Thank you for your interest in doing business with Lehigh University. Purchasing Services strives to include new vendors in potential business opportunities when appropriate. This decision is based on many factors, and submission of initial contact information and literature does not guarantee future business or inclusion in competitive selection events. Your company information can be emailed to and will be kept on file. Should there be a potential fit, we will reach out to you at that time.

It is also important to review Lehigh’s purchase order terms and conditions. These terms can be viewed on the Purchasing website.

Contract Compliance
Purchasing is authorized to negotiate and issue University-wide contracts that will provide the University with “best value-lowest total cost” arrangements for goods and services acquired from external suppliers. Please be aware that all contracts/agreements must be signed by authorized University personnel, and accompanied by a PO. In negotiating contracts, Purchasing considers not only the supplier’s line item pricing for goods and services, but also considers:

  • Ability to provide the necessary quality of goods and services
  • "Value-added" offerings (e.g. warranty, training, etc.)
  • Ability to meet required delivery/timelines
  • Compatibility with University systems
  • Financial stability
  • Other specific organizational requirements

Supplier contract pricing and performance are normally based on the University’s overall anticipated needs during the contract period. In order to ensure the University community of “best value-lowest total cost” of goods and services, and to fulfill the University’s obligation to consolidate all of its requirements with authorized contract suppliers, all University departments are encouraged to order required goods and services from those suppliers who are authorized as University-wide preferred contract suppliers.

Supplier Contracts
All contracts and agreements must be presented to Purchasing prior to the issuance of a University PO, for review of the terms and conditions by Purchasing. When the contract has been deemed acceptable to both parties, Purchasing will ensure that the PO and other contractual documents are executed appropriately, according to the approved University signature authority requirements.

Loaner and/or Demonstration Equipment
Suppliers may provide demonstrator or loaner equipment for the purpose of evaluation and/or examination by a University department. This is done entirely at the option of the supplier, with no commitment by Lehigh. A “no-charge” Lehigh PO must be issued, prior to the supplier providing the equipment.

Shipping and Freight Terms
The supplier must clearly present shipping charges /freight terms on any quotes/proposals. Suppliers should present options that are “best value-lowest total cost” for the University. Lehigh has preferred carriers and a preferred customs broker, and strongly recommends these providers be used to transport University orders.

All deliveries are to be made as instructed on the PO, or verbally, in the case of orders placed by telephone with the OneCard. An arbitrary change to a ship-to location is not acceptable, unless approved in advance by either Purchasing, or University recipient department.

Supplier Invoices
A Supplier must submit an invoice for payment to be made. All supplier invoices are paid by the Accounts Payable department, therefore invoices must be sent directly to the following address, unless instructed otherwise on the PO, or verbally by the individual placing the order: Accounts Payable Department, Lehigh University, 520 Brodhead Avenue, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Invoice payment questions should be directed to Accounts Payable at 610-758-3148.

In order to expedite payment, a supplier’s invoice must include the following information:

-Valid University purchase order or LPO number;
-Payee name and address;
-Complete description of the products and/or services furnished;
-Quantity delivered;
-Unit prices and extensions;
-Sales taxes collected by the supplier, if any
-Prompt pay discount terms, if any.

Payment Terms
Lehigh’s payment terms are “Net 30 Days” after the receipt date of the invoice. The University encourages suppliers to offer prompt pay discounts.

Sales Tax Exemption
Lehigh is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and is therefore exempt from the payment of most sales tax. Our sales tax exemption number is 75-07789-7, and referenced on all POs. Call Purchasing’s main number (610-758-3840) if a copy of sales tax exemption form is needed. The web site contains additional sales tax information.

Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
The policy of the University, both traditionally and currently, is that discrimination against any individual, for reason of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status is specifically prohibited. Accordingly, the University supports the affirmative action of a supplier in providing equal employment opportunities for all minority groups.

Updated October 2013