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As part of ongoing efforts to support a competitive supplier selection process, Stanford Financial Management Services (FMS) has updated the Single/Sole Source Justification (SSJ) form. University policy requires that the purchase of products or services be by competition between suppliers to the extent possible based upon the total value, which includes considerations such as quality, price, and performance. The Single/Sole Source Justification form is part of the process of verifying and documenting that this policy has been met. This allows those involved in the purchasing process to make more informed decisions that balance total value, compliance, financial stewardship, and supports Responsible Purchasing practices. 

When is the Single/Sole Source Justification (SSJ) form used?

The Single/Sole Source Justification (SSJ) form is used in two ways when purchasing a product or service with a cost of $25,000 or greater after taxes and fees:

  1. Multiple bids were solicited, but the lowest cost bid is not selected, so the form documents and explains the rationale related to total value of the selected bid; or
  2. Multiple quotes were not solicited, so the form documents the superior value of the selected bid, such as compatibility, quality, service, support, continuity, etc., as well as describing why soliciting multiple bids would not add value, or is not possible. The two source options include:
    1. A single source is a supplier specifically selected amongst others due to superior value, such as compatibility, quality, service, support, continuity, etc.
    2. A sole source is a supplier for which there are no alternatives for their given product or service.

Refer to the Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier Fingate page for more information on complying with the university’s policy regarding competitive supplier selection.

Best practices and key reminders for using the updated SSJ form

The updated SSJ form includes comprehensive instructions on the cover page to ensure the form is used and submitted correctly. The two aspects that are important to note:

  1. The updated form includes dynamic fields so it must be completed electronically. The form is a fillable PDF that must be downloaded, opened, and completed in the Adobe Acrobat application. To successfully submit the updated SSJ form, the following instructions must be followed:
    1. Download the PDF by clicking the download button within the browser. 
    2. Open and complete the PDF in the Adobe Acrobat application. The form cannot be completed in a browser or previewer because users will not see all the required questions. Mac users will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader instead of Mac Preview. If form preparers do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, it is free to download. Before clicking Download Adobe Acrobat Reader, please uncheck options to install other software. If administrator rights are requested, please contact your local IT administrator.
    3. Save the completed PDF to the user's files to ultimately attach to the requisition
  2. Additionally, the updated form uses an electronic signature which will sign and date the document and prompt users to save it. The form will prompt preparers to create an Adobe Digital ID to sign it, if one is not already configured. Alternatively, after completing all of the responsive fields, the preparer may print and sign it manually and scan it to be attached to the requisition.

Best practice: Before filling out a copy of the SSJ form PDF that you may have saved, check the form link on Fingate to ensure you are working from the latest version (the version date is at the bottom of each page). The latest version of the form will always include any continuous improvements based on feedback, related policy updates, and software updates. As an example of continuous improvements, the form was updated on November 1, 2023, to clarify and streamline one of the dynamic questions on the form. So please bookmark the form link on Fingate to quickly access the latest version.

To aid the transition for purchase requisition preparers, the Purchasing team has accepted older versions of the form since its redesign. Effective Jan. 16, 2024, to further ensure compliance with these policies, requisitions $25,000 and over will be returned if the most current SSJ form is not attached.

 Why did the form change?

  • The revised form provides greater ability to support compliance with university policy. To support the university’s commitment to and requirements for facilitating a competitive supplier selection process, the updated SSJ form provides financial approvers, central procurement, and auditors with greater visibility into how and why suppliers were selected. Similarly, FMS recently added a new Sourcing ID dropdown field to the approver routing list that allows the central procurement team to indicate the type of supplier sourcing selection (e.g., Single, Sole, or Competitive) on the requisition. This allows approvers and others involved in the purchasing process to understand at a glance how a supplier was selected. These enhancements provide better transparency and data to support purchasing decisions for the university. 
  • The streamlined and redesigned form increases efficiency. FMS worked with a focus group of SSJ “power users” to gather feedback on the previous version of the form and how it could be improved to be more user-friendly. This resulted in consolidating it from three pages down to one, using dynamic fields which display or hide additional questions based on the users' answers. In addition, requested backup documentation was reduced to be very specific and based on the user selections. 

By enhancing transparency and streamlining the form, the university can continue to maintain compliance, support Responsible Purchasing practices, while also maintaining the ability for departments to continue to select the supplier that best fits their unique business need.

Resources

Stay tuned to this news page for ongoing updates related to continuous improvements to the overall competitive supplier selection process. Additional resources include:

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