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Approved Suppliers

The term “Approved Supplier” often causes confusion. This note clarifies what an approved supplier is, how a supplier becomes approved and explains why the University will, on occasions, pay more for individual item from approved source.
Defining an Approved Supplier

An approved supplier is defined as follows: A supplier who has been successful in a University, consortium or national tender exercise for a particular service or a specific range of items. All on going University business for those services/items should be contracted to the "Approved" supplier.

Approved Suppliers vs. Non-approved Suppliers

There is often a misunderstanding that procurement is solely about price and this is not the case.

As part of any tender process a due diligence exercise is undertaken on all potential suppliers. This covers areas such as: financial stability, adherence to Equal Opportunities obligations, insurance plus any other mandatory obligations applicable. Assessments are also conducted to ensure a supplier has the capacity, capability and expertise to deliver throughout the lifetime of a contract. Such checks are not commonly undertaken on non-approved suppliers.

The approved supplier contracts placed also take into account a number of aspects such as quality, warranty, after sales service, invoicing etc. Often a cheaper price is not comparing like with like. Delivery costs are often not quoted and can be higher. Therefore it is often the case that the price from a non-approved supplier is cheaper but the cost is higher.

This is why, when an item/service can be found cheaper than that available through the approved supplier, Procurement & Insurance Services recommends that the approved source is used even where it appears to be more expensive. However, if notified of the price difference the Procurement Team will challenge an approved supplier to price match the non-approved supplier’s offer.