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Competitive Bid Process

To Bid or Not to Bid: Overview, Policies, and Exceptions

Process Overview

Strategic Procurement uses 3 types of competitive bid requests:

  • Request for Information (RFI)
  • Request for Quotation (RFQ)
  • Request for Proposal (RFP)

During the competitive bid process:

  1. The university publicly posts its requirements and needs online, in trade and industry journals, and in newspapers in the form of a competitive bid request.
  2. Suppliers' responses address the requirements for service, quality, capability, and price. To be considered, suppliers' offers must fulfill all of the specifications in the posting and be deemed responsive and responsible.
  3. Strategic Procurement verifies the supplier's ability to fulfill the terms of the contract successfully.
  4. Before making the final selection of the supplier, Strategic Procurement evaluates the quality of the offered merchandise or services and the total cost of ownership (PPT).

Competitive Bid Policy

Purchases above $100,000 require a competitive bid

University policy* and the state of California's Public Contract Code (PCC)** require that competitive bids be obtained for purchases above $100,000.

*Detailed information regarding this policy can be found in the University of California Business and Finance Bulletins under BUS 43 Part 3
**Detailed information on code PCC is available on the California Legislative Information website.

Policy Exceptions

Exceptions to the competitive bid requirement include:

  • Sole source: If Strategic Procurement determines that goods or services are only available from a sole source, a competitive bid may not be required. A sole source might include:
    • Patented software products
    • Drugs
    • Manufactured items only available from 1 supplier or manufacturer.
    • The need to match existing furniture
    • Part replacement on a custom piece of equipment
  • Strategically sourced contracts: Competitive bids are not needed for contracts previously established through the strategic sourcing process, since the competitive bid requirement has already been satisfied. UCSD encourages its community to take advantage of strategic sourcing contracts. Departments may make purchases under these contracts even if the value of the purchase exceeds $100,000.
  • Professional or personal services: Certain exemptions apply to contracts for these types of services. Please contact Strategic Procurement.
  •  for information specific to your situation.
  • Marketplace suppliers: Most of the products and services available through Marketplace are sourced from a formal competitive bid process, thereby satisfying the university's policy.
  • Emergency or public safety: Under some emergency situations where loss of life or major loss of property may occur, university policy permits Strategic Procurement to forgo competitive bids.
  •  UCSD Strategic Procurement is solely responsible for managing all competitive bid solicitations in accordance with university policy.