Spring 2020 Newsletter


I would like to thank our customers for their continued support and patience during these unprecedented times. Procurement Services teams continue to adapt to the needs of the COVID-19 situation, and I am very appreciative of the level of commitment and campus support our teams have demonstrated. In addition to the information given in this newsletter, I encourage you to visit the U-M’s main COVID-19 website for the latest information as well as the Finances FAQ page for more information on the university's financial situation.

Be well and stay safe,



In his message on April 20, 2020, President Mark S. Schlissel asked the university community to eliminate all non-essential expenditures. Units are only to procure items that are essential for operations and suspend other purchases until further notice. 

Examples of expenses that should be minimized or eliminated include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Consulting
  • Travel 
  • Hosting, food, and beverages
  • Conferences
  • Professional development
  • Events (holiday; employee recognition)
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Outside printing
  • Subscriptions
  • Prizes, gifts, and awards
  • Event tickets
  • Supplies (all categories, including office, computer, etc.)
  • Computer equipment
  • Furniture
  • Remodeling
  • Major equipment purchases also are suspended unless deemed essential to university operations or research activity and the impact to the university's cash flow is considered

There will be a regular review of expenditures in these types of categories by the university's executive officers. In all categories, there may be needed exceptions for expenditures that are critical to the university mission and that can be approved by university's executive officers. This includes computer equipment needed for remote activity that is considered critical.

Research projects that are fully funded by federal sponsors can continue their normal operations and spending. Those directing these funds are asked to ensure that uses align as much as possible with urgent and mission-critical expenditures. Researchers are encouraged to continue pursuing external support for their work. The Office of the Vice President for Research developed a series of FAQs regarding the financial implications of COVID-19 on U-M research operations.

If you have questions, please contact Procurement Services at procurement.services@umich.edu or (734) 764-8212. For commodity specific questions, you may also contact one of the five Procurement teams.


University suspends all air travel

President Schlissel’s communication on April 6, 2020, advised all university international and domestic air travel has been suspended, with rare exceptions requiring approval. This suspension is first and foremost to protect faculty and staff safety, and is financially prudent.


Latest travel airline updates

Airlines have relaxed requirements on when/how unused non-refundable air tickets can be rebooked. Currently, Delta Airlines has extended the expiration date for unused tickets to September 30, 2022, for airfare purchased prior to April 17, 2020. This extension applies to domestic travel dates between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2020, as well as international travel dates between February 25, 2020, and September 30, 2020.

More information can be found on the Procurement Services website or Conlin Travel’s website.


New COVID business purpose category in Concur

A new Business Purpose Category has been added to Concur to help categorize COVID-19 related expenses.  This is intended as a resource, not a requirement, to help identify expenses incurred due to the coronavirus.


Conlin Travel is ready to help!

Conlin Travel has helped many university units and travelers with ticket refunds and managing unused tickets. Provided your travel was booked within the U-M Travel Program, Conlin Travel has access to your airline tickets to assist with arrangements.

Since mid-February, Conlin Travel has been successful in obtaining refunds, even for non-refundable tickets. For example, Conlin Travel was able to obtain a full refund for a group of 15 travelers going to South Korea. 

Some of the services provided by U-M’s dedicated travel agency include:

  • Assisting U-M groups and meetings with airline ticket cancellations due to COVID-19 and working with the airlines to refund tickets when possible. To date, Conlin Travel has been successful in obtaining over $200,000 in refunds.
  • Managing over 2,100 unused tickets that were not eligible for a refund, which are valued at over $1 million.
  • Facilitating the name change process if the designated traveler is unable to travel again before the expiration date of the unused ticket (university travel contracts with the major airlines allow for name changes), saving the university thousands of dollars.
  • Assisting in obtaining waivers for hotel cancellation penalties for canceled meetings.


PCards now being delivered to home addresses

Procurement Services has temporarily modified the process for PCard delivery.  PCards are normally delivered to employees’ work addresses but are currently being sent to home addresses due to remote work locations. This modification was implemented to ensure the delivery of new PCards as well as replacement PCards.


PCard spend monitoring

In accordance with President Schlissel’s communication on April 20, 2020, requests for PCard limit increases will be given additional scrutiny.  Procurement Services will give guidance on requests that appear to be non-essential purchases.

In addition, Procurement Services is reviewing current monthly limits. Those cardholders with limits identified to warrant a decrease will receive a communication detailing further actions.


Based on Governor Gretchen Whitmer's “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, Property Disposition is now closed until further notice to U-M and public customers. We apologize for any inconvenience this closure may cause you. Please check the Property Disposition website for updates on when Property Disposition will reopen. Signage about the closure has been posted at the warehouse. If you have any questions, please contact us at property.disposition@umich.edu. Thanks for your ongoing support of Property Disposition.


Procurement Services has partnered with the Computer Showcase to expand the selection of technology tools as well as offer direct shipping to a home address when ordering with a department shortcode. In addition to Computer Showcase inventory, technology-related products can be ordered from B&H Photo and CDWg and shipped to a home address. 

This temporary ordering process is limited to technology items considered critical or fully funded by federal sponsors.  

More information on how to place an order.


As part of Procurement Services’ ongoing effort to make it as easy as possible for suppliers to do business with the University of Michigan, an updated Supplier Portal will go live on May 19, 2020.

The updated Supplier Portal will include: 

  • Stronger security resulting from two-factor authentication using Duo and improvements in how suppliers manage passwords
  • A state-of-the-art user interface that’s easier to navigate and accessible on mobile devices
  • New profile-management features that keeps information for suppliers—and their users—current

More information on Supplier Portal.




- Mail delivery/pick up services are continuing for open buildings.

- Printing and copying services are available to meet U-M's needs.

Read the full article for more information


Based on COVID-19 guidelines from university administrators and public health officials, the spring supplier shows that were scheduled to take place in March, April, and May,  have been canceled.

At this time, the fall show at NCRC (September 23, 2020) has not been canceled. We will keep you posted on the status of this show, as the date gets closer.

We apologize for any inconvenience these cancellations may cause you. If you have any questions, please contact procurement-shows@umich.edu. Thanks for your ongoing support of Procurement Services.


The live vehicle auction that was scheduled to take place on April 18, at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds was postponed and will be scheduled for a later date. Visit the auctioneer’s website for updates and to see photos of the vehicles up for auction.