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SMC|Business Services|Purchasing|Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Where is the Purchasing Department located?
  2. How do I place an order for my department?
  3. Who is​ authorized to sign a vendor contract on behalf of the District?
  4. When is Formal bidding required?
  5. How do I determine if the District has a contract for a specific commodity?
  6. How do I determine which buyer to contact regarding a particular commodity?
  7. How do I determine if a requisition has been converted to a purchase order? 
  8. What is the procedure for ordering business cards?
  9. Do I have to send the purchase order to the supplier for my order?
  10. Can I initiate a transaction with a supplier and follow-up later with a requisition to Purchasing?
  11. What steps need to be taken in order to use a new supplier?
  12. Can I use a “Direct Pay and Revolving Fund Reimbursement Requisition” to purchase goods or services without going through Purchasing?
  13. What do I do if a supplier asks me to sign their form (agreement)?
  14. Where should I send the invoice?
  15. When will a payment for an invoice be received?​
  16. How do we buy goods?
  17. What is a 'piggyback'?
  18. How do you manage suppliers / vendors and the bidding process?
  19. How is a purchase order changed?
  20. Change order increase?
  21. How do I cancel an order?
  22. Is the Purchase Order for an emergency?

 

    1. Where is the Purchasing Department located?

    Purchasing is located at 2714 Pico Blvd., Room 329, Santa Monica, CA 90405 or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

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    2. How do I place an order for my department?

    For specific items, you will need an approved purchase requisition. For Blanket purchase orders, if you are an authorized buyer, you may place your order directly with the supplier, not to exceed the total amount of the order. Please visit our Purchase Requisition Form Help page for details on how to fill-out the electronic form.

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    3. Who is​ authorized to sign a vendor contract on behalf of the District?

    Only those District officials designated by the Board of Trustees are authorized to sign legally binding contracts on behalf of the District. In general, no staff, faculty member or dean has the authority to obligate the District in any contractual manner or sign an agreement. See the Transaction Levels page.

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    4. When is Formal bidding required?

    For equipment, goods, materials and services, the formal bid threshold is $83,400. For public works, the formal bid threshold is $15,000.00. See the Transaction Levels page.

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    5. How do I determine if the District has a contract for a specific commodity?

    A list is available on our Contract Suppliers page, but please contact your buyer regarding contract suppliers.

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    6. How do I determine which buyer to contact regarding a particular commodity?

    Visit the Purchasing Department's website and click on the Buyer Assignments link. If you are unsure, please contact us on our main line at (310) 434-4304. 

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    7. How do I determine if a requisition has been converted to a purchase order?

    You may contact your commodity buyer. For those of you who have "PeopleSoft Budget Inquiry", the encumbrance will reflect on the Budget Inquiry Screen.

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    8. What is the procedure for ordering business cards?

    You should prepare a requisition, attach a sample and forward your requisition through the approval process. All business cards must be purchased from the Purchasing identified supplier.

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    9. Do I have to send the purchase order to the supplier for my order?

    All purchase orders are sent to the suppliers by the Purchasing Department. Most purchase orders are faxed to the supplier while the rest or either emailed or mailed via USPS.

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    10. Can I initiate a transaction with a supplier and follow-up later with a requisition to Purchasing?

    No. Only Buyers in Purchasing are authorized to place orders.

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    11. What steps need to be taken in order to use a new supplier?

    A supplier must be added to the District vendor file. To be added, a supplier must complete the on-line vendor registration form. Note: This process merely registers the supplier with the District. It does not give the supplier an "approved" or "preferred" status, nor does it pre-empt the need for Purchasing to solicit bids depending on the dollar amount. Direct your new potential supplier to our Purchasing Website under the Supplier Resources link. Have your supplier complete the "Vendor Data Form."  The form must be emailed, faxed or mailed to the Purchasing Department.

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    12. Can I use a "Direct Pay and Revolving Fund Reimbursement Requisition" to purchase goods or services without going through Purchasing?

    No. All requests to purchase items must be submitted to Purchasing.

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    13. What do I do if a supplier asks me to sign their form (agreement)?

    Never sign a supplier's form or agreement. Supplier agreements must be reviewed by Purchasing and signed by the appropriate approvers.

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    14. Where should I send the invoice?

    To Accounts Payable, 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405-1628

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    15. When will a payment for an invoice be received?

    Payment terms are finalized prior to an award and are included in the purchase order term contract. Payments are handled by the Accounts Payable Office at (310) 434-4283.

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    16. How do we buy goods?
    Purchasing methods:

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    17. What is a 'piggyback'?
    Use of other agency agreements:
    • PCC 20652
    • Requires prior approval by Board of Trustees
      • CMAS, WSCA, NJPA, State of Calif. DGS, GSA Schedules
      • E and I Cooperative, FCCC (Foundation For California Community Colleges)
      • CMAS and Price Schedules require further negotiation

    See our Contract Suppliers List.

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    18. How do you manage Suppliers / Vendors and the bidding process?

    The Santa Monica College District uses PlanetBids, an electronic vendor portal that allows suppliers to register their business, search for bids and request for quotes / proposals, order and download documents electronically, bid electronically (where applicable), and much more!

    For more information visit our Supplier Resources page.

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    19. How is a purchase order changed?
    Purchasing methods:
    • Decreasing the amount of an Open Purchase Order is done by sending an email to the Buyer who created the purchase order indicating the amount of the decrease.
    • Request to cancel a line item on a purchase order by sending an email request to the Buyer that created the purchase order.
      • If the item has not yet been received by the warehouse and the supplier has not yet shipped the item, the line can be cancelled.
    • Adding or removing authorized users to an open purchase order.

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    20. Change order increase?

    When increasing funds to an open purchase order or adding another line item to an existing purchase order, a new requisition must be prepared and sent through the approval process.

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    21. How do I cancel an order?

    Send an email to the Buyer that issued the purchase order. The buyer will issue a change order/cancellation and forward to the supplier.

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    22. Is the Purchase Order for an emergency?
    That would depend on the nature of the emergency.
    • Yes - If it is determined that goods or services are needed so that the education function can continue.
    • No - If it is because the requisition was not submitted for processing in a timely manner.

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