Office of Sponsored Programs
The Ohio State University

Purchasing Basics

Purchase Orders

Principal investigators may request via a requisition that a purchase order be issued to a vendor for the purchase of commodities, equipment, and various services. The purchase order is an offer to purchase commodities, equipment, and services from vendors and, when accepted without change by the vendor, constitutes a legal binding contract. The purchase order specifies the quantity, description, price, delivery date, terms and conditions, payment terms, “ship to” address, and special instructions to the vendor. Purchase orders are generated from the information provided on the requisition and are sent to vendors by the Procurement Department. Vendors or principal investigators may not make any changes in the purchase order without written approval from the purchasing agent.

All items on the purchase order are cost coded and the total amount of the order is committed against the project budget. The commitment is relieved when payment is made to the vendor. Freight and U.S. Customs charges, if applicable, are generally not committed against the purchase order unless requested or if costs are substantial.

Procurement Card Program


  • In addition to all requirements of the University’s PCard Policy, all ll purchases must be directly allocable and allowable to the project, and all purchase prices must also be reasonable. Use the card responsibly.

Restricted Items

Cardholders agree not to use their delegated purchasing authority to obtain:

  • animals
  • equipment
  • radioactive materials
  • alcoholic beverages
  • guns and ammunition
  • repairs
  • patient care
  • airline tickets
  • entertainment
  • individual meals
  • subcontracts
  • consultant agreements
  • advertising
  • rental agreements
  • general purpose equipment
  • purchases outside time frame of project
  • purchases exceeding budget
  • maintenance agreements
  • pre-payment of purchase orders
  • renovation and construction purchases
  • items that may be considered taxable income to a private individual
  • memberships and subscriptions in an individual’s name (must be in the name of the department)
  • Ohio Board of Regents funded purchases
  • cash advances. This is not a debit card or smart card

Change Orders

Vendor Requested
Change orders are often requested by vendors that require changes or cancellations. After consultation with the principal investigator or initiator, an acceptance or counter offer of the change will be documented by issuing a written change order.

Initiator Requested
Principal investigators must convey their requests for changes or cancellations to a purchase order by submitting a requisition to Procurement, listing the purchase order number in the space provided on the requisition form and indicating on the first line in the body of the form that a change order is requested. The change, additions, or deletions must be listed. Procurement will then issue a change order to the vendor.

Delivery and Inspection

Items may be shipped to the following locations:

  • Ohio State Receiving & Shipping (required for capital equipment items)
  • Department address (principal investigators are required to send Project & Information and Receiving copy and packing slip to Office of Sponsored Programs Procurement upon receipt of items)
  • Laboratory animal center (required for all live animals)
  • Radiation Safety (required for radioactive items)
  • Field operation (an off campus approval form must be completed)

Upon receipt of materials, all deliveries must be inspected for any discrepancies or damages. Notify Procurement at 292-6871 and Ohio State Receiving & Shipping at 292-6035 immediately if there is a problem with the shipment. Receiving & Shipping must receive all requests for damage claims within 72 hours of receipt of material.

Projects that receive shipments directly (bypassing Receiving & Shipping) will be responsible for handling shipping problems and claims. All shipping claims must be filed promptly and received by the shipper within 15 days of delivery. Any claim not received by the shipper within 15 days of delivery may be considered void.

If the shipment is received in damaged condition, keep the original shipping container. This will provide evidence to the freight company to establish a freight claim.

Shipments for Repair or Return

Requests for shipping equipment or material to a vendor must be submitted to Procurement on a requisition form. The requisition must state how the item is to be shipped, value of the item, reason the item is to be shipped to the vendor, who is paying shipping and insurance costs, complete description of the item including model number, Office of Sponsored Programs tag number, serial number, and complete “ship to address.” The original purchase order number on which the material was acquired must be referenced for return of damaged items.

If repair costs other than shipping are to be incurred, a confirmed or written price quotation should be included, if available. Provide a vendor contact name and a return authorization number when required. Include the location of the item to be shipped and Ohio State Receiving & Shipping will be instructed to pick it up. Procurement will prepare the shipping documents. All items should be shipped in the original containers or professionally packed. If the investigator no longer has the original container, the supplier may need to be contacted in order to obtain the appropriate shipping container and packing material (or packing instructions). Insurers will not pay damage claims for inadequately packed items.

Expediting Orders and Purchases

When it is necessary to expedite a purchase order, the principal investigator should contact Procurement (292-6871) and be prepared to provide the purchase order number, project number, vendor name, and description of the item being expedited. The investigator may contact the vendor directly. The purchase order should not be changed or duplicated. If a change order or cancellation is necessary, the investigator should contact Procurement.