Buying Methods

Departments at the university buy a wide variety of products and services, enabling administrative and academic units to fulfil the institution's objectives in teaching, research, and patient care. Procurement Services is responsible for helping departments complete the procurement process in the most cost-efficient and convenient way possible while ensuring compliance with university policies and principles. Contact one of the procurement teams for assistance with your procurement needs.

The U-M Regents require that all transactions $10,000 or greater be competitively bid by Procurement Services and also be managed by Procurement Services, to ensure that prices are fair and reasonable. Faculty and staff are authorized to complete transactions totalling less than $10,000 (some restrictions apply, such as approvals for the purchase of radioactive chemicals or where a signature is required on a contract). Before you make a purchase, you should consider which of the buying options is appropriate for that transaction. In some cases, more than one option may work; usually, however, there is one single best option in terms of price, time savings, and administrative costs.

Buying methods at a glance

These methods are listed below in the order in which you should consider using them. Click the links for more information about each buying option. For more about the guidelines governing key procurement policies and procedures, please review SPG 507.01.

Internal Service Provider

An Internal Service Provider is a university unit that provides goods and/or services to another university unit. Related costs are billed to the receiving unit using an approved recharge rate.  Procurement Services does not assist with these transactions.

Strategic Supplier Contracts

A strategic supplier typically has a multi-year contract with the institution and offers a number of advantages to the university community, including discounts on a wide variety of products and services, a commitment to exemplary customer service, multiple ways to execute purchases, and several other benefits such as extended warranties and customization options on certain items. Contact Procurement Services before placing large-quantity orders from strategic suppliers, since the orders may be eligible for additional discounts.


M-marketsite is the university’s online catalog ordering system that allows faculty and staff to create buying carts and use shortcodes to place orders from many suppliers.

Quote To Order

Quote to Order (QTO) is a web-based portal designed to assist faculty and staff in placing specifications for commodity based projects while maintaining compliance with the university and Procurement Services guidelines.


PeoplePay is the transaction process used for the purchase of services from individuals rather than businesses, and can also be used to pay individuals for honoraria and royalties; and to pay or record prizes, gifts, and awards  PeoplePay makes it simple to ensure that the payment meets the requirements of the university and IRS rules governing the taxation of payments to individuals. Procurement policies and procedures should be followed when purchasing services from individuals.

ePro Requistion

The ePro requisition (ePro req) is used for all transactions that require a purchase order (PO). It is also used for transactions $10,000 and greater, and for those requiring special approvals.  


PCards are intended for travel and low-dollar, infrequent transactions. PCards can be used for items not available through internal service providers or strategic contracts, or when a supplier does not accept purchase orders.