State procurement is the method by which agencies (including University of Wisconsin campuses) purchase goods and services. In general, procurement rules apply to any purchase paid from agency or campus accounts, regardless of the source of funding.
Most large organizations—public and private—regard procurement as a critical element in the effective acquisition of products and services needed to serve customers. Procurement creates savings and improves efficiency by identifying the right process, product, price, quantity, quality, and time and place of delivery.
Wisconsin procurement laws are longstanding and based upon nationally-accepted best practices. State employees are required to follow procurement rules for several reasons:
- Provide vigilant stewardship of taxpayer funds
- Comply with Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Codes
- Inspire public confidence in state government by following consistent and transparent processes
- Ensure the vendor community has access to open and fair competition for state contracts
- Avoid individual liability for illegal purchasing
Wisconsin procurement statutes provide a framework for the policies and procedures used by state agencies and campuses to acquire goods and services needed for day-to-day operations. State procurement laws and policies are established as follows:
- §16.70-16.78, Wis. Stats., apply to all general purchasing of goods and services by agencies and campuses
- ADM 5-11 and 50, Wisconsin Administrative Code, define purchasing and competitive bidding policies
- The State Procurement Manual sets forth detailed procurement policies and procedures
Four major concepts provide the foundation for state procurement activities: competition, consistency, integrity and openness.
Competition. With limited exceptions, state law provides that agencies will award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder or highest scoring proposer. Competition brings about lower prices and higher quality goods and services. To create a competitive environment, agencies must develop solicitations with clear specifications that encourage bidding by multiple vendors.
Consistency. State procurement laws, policies and procedures apply equally to all agencies, campuses and vendors. Consequently, the State strives to use consistent processes across state government.
Agencies must provide fair treatment of all vendors. To that end, bids and proposals are compared and evaluated on an equal basis. The specifications presented in a solicitation must relate to the deliverables provided in any resulting contract. Consistency helps agencies conduct transparent and defensible procurements as expected by the public and vendor community.
Integrity. Procurement is not a mechanized process, but rather one carried forward by the actions and decisions of people. As such, procurement officials and evaluators must understand and fulfill their responsibilities at each stage of a procurement process. All decisions and activities must be measured against a standard of fairness that will withstand public and legal scrutiny.
Openness. Unclear or ambiguous communications with vendors and stakeholders can compromise even the best procurements. To avoid misperceptions, solicitations, notifications and award decisions must be written in clear, understandable language. In addition, all records relating to a procurement are open to public inspection and should be maintained in a central location.
VendorNet. VendorNet is the State’s online purchasing information system available on the Internet at http://vendornet.state.wi.us. VendorNet provides:
- Automatic RFB and RFP notification to registered vendors
- RFB, RFP and contract search
- State bidder list
- Bid and contract posting
VendorNet provides easy access to a wide variety of information of interest to vendors who wish to provide goods and services to the state as well as state agencies and municipalities. Bidding and the time required to identify new vendors is minimized while vendors are automatically notified of opportunities in their area of interest.
Please note, VendorNet does not provide information on highway or construction projects; VendorNet is related to purchases of goods and services only. Please see the Department of Administration, Division of Facilities Development Web site for information on construction projects and the Department of Transportation for road and airport construction projects.
Registration VendorNet online registration
As a registered vendor, information you provide on your company and its goods/services is stored in the central statewide vendor database for inclusion in bidder list as they arise. The annual registration gives you automatic notification of all state agency procurements* over $50,000 in your areas of interest. You may elect to be notified of opportunities electronically or by first-class mail while also having the ability to search for and download current bids and state agency contracts at your convenience.
Simply complete the on-line registration process. Be sure to mail or fax in the "Registration Successful" page located at the end of the on-line process. A pdf version of the page emailed is fine. It is important to note that we do not activate accounts without a copy of this page.