This page provides important information for current and potential suppliers, including information about Stanford as a customer, the university’s order process, supplier requirements and the policies that guide Stanford in its mission to purchase materials and services that meet quality, delivery and price requirements.

While Stanford is often used to refer to the university, hospital and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, each is a separate institution with its own purchasing and payables processes. The information here pertains only to the purchasing and payables processes for Stanford University.

University Purchasing Process

University staff initiates the acquisition of products and services. They choose the product or service needed and the method of purchasing in compliance with policy and procedures. Depending on the type of purchase, suppliers will interface directly with staff within the initiating school or department or with Stanford University Purchasing and Contracts staff.


Roles and Responsibilities

Schools and Departments

After identifying a need for a product or service, Stanford University schools and departments must:

  • Understand and follow university purchasing policies
  • Determine appropriate purchasing methods
  • Initiate purchase orders (POs) or requisitions
  • Obtain appropriate departmental approvals
  • Follow university procedures for receiving and invoice processing
  • Instruct suppliers to send invoices to Accounts Payable (AP)

Send copies to:

In cases where the ordering department elects to have the supplier send the invoice to the department, the ordering department must forward the invoice to AP or upload the invoice to the PO themselves via Requisition and Purchase Order Query.

Purchasing and Contracts

The goal of the Purchasing and Contracts Department is to support schools and departments in the acquisition of products and services for Stanford University at the lowest total cost of ownership. Specifically, the Purchasing and Contracts Department:

  • Proactively works with campus staff to assure the effective management and delivery of quality procurement services.
  • Designs, implements and trains campus staff on effective procurement processes
  • Maintains suitable sources of supply by facilitating supplier outreach for campus. requirements and ensuring equal opportunity in university business contracting
  • Establishes competition wherever practicable including: assisting in the development of procurement specifications; soliciting and processing requests for quotations; conducting negotiations for price, terms and conditions; and where necessary, conferring with counsel for advice and resolution of matters.
  • Establishes annual price agreements and contracts in accordance with sound procurement practices. Such contracts and agreements include participation in specialty contracts and consortium agreements.
  • Administers and maintains purchase records for federal, state and internal procurement audits.

Accounts Payable 

Once goods and services have been approved and received in accordance with university policy, AP ensures that:

  • Invoices, once received in AP, are paid in accordance with the terms specified in the purchase agreement.
  • Payments are in compliance with federal, state and local tax laws and regulations, proper taxes are withheld as necessary and transactions are properly reported.
  • If an invoice is placed on hold, the ordering school or department contact person is notified of required action.

Refer to the current Stanford Purchase Order Terms and Conditions for more information.

Receiving a PO from Stanford carries with it the obligation to supply the ordered goods or services at the agreed-upon price, at the promised time and without the need for buyer's intervention, renegotiation or continued expediting. Suppliers should never accept requests for goods or services from Stanford University without a PO number or a purchasing card (Pcard) number.

Additionally, Stanford expects:

  • Dependable products and services
  • Delivery as promised
  • Competitive prices
  • No substitutions
  • Good communications
  • Timely resolution of warranty claims
  • Compliance with purchasing, shipping and invoicing procedures
  • Certificate of Insurance
  • Adherence to Stanford policies and initiatives
  • No gifts or gratuities to be offered or provided to Stanford personnel or anything that could be construed as such. The Medical School has a special policy related to medical-industry suppliers.
  • Shipping documents to include the Stanford PO number, building address, room number and contact person
  • Invoices to include the Stanford PO number and that invoices be sent to Accounts Payable:

Suppliers can also help Stanford both do a better job by:

  • Advise if the university’s specifications for a product can be improved to provide better performance, a longer-life product and/or lower cost.
  • Provide the latest catalogs and current prices.
  • Keep the university informed of back order situations, plant closures, impending shortages or strikes.

Before a purchase or payment can be made, the supplier/payee must have an active record in Oracle. Refer to New Supplier or Payee Records for details.

Marketing to Stanford University

Most often, university staff within schools and departments initiate supplier sourcing and the acquisition of products and services. Therefore, suppliers main contact is primarily staff within schools and departments across the university.

It is up to the supplier to make their products and services known to departments who may have a need for them. Suppliers can find contact information at the Stanford University main website, specific school or department websites or the Stanford University Faculty/Staff Directory (available for purchase at the Stanford University Bookstore).

Back Office Contact Information

The contacts listed below are for suppliers who have established relationships and current activity with Stanford.

If you need to update any of your information on file, please submit a support request.

Procurement Services – Purchasing Services Department

Payments Services Will Call at Redwood City Campus

Monday to Friday
By appointment only

Accounts Payable Will Call checks may be picked up at the Stanford Redwood City campus by appointment only, due to operational adjustments related to COVID-19.

To request a Will Call check, follow the steps in How To Request Rush and Will Call Payments. When the check is ready, a “ready for pickup” email will be sent to the requester listed on the transaction, to arrange a pickup date and time when an on-site staff member is available to disburse the check.

Please submit a support request to the Financial Support Center for any needed assistance.

In pursuit of Stanford’s mission to purchase materials and services that meet quality, delivery and price requirements, the university values its existing suppliers and welcomes new ones. In becoming a Stanford supplier, keeping up to date with important policy and initiative information for suppliers helps to ensure our mutual success. 

Stanford University does not complete individual credit application forms.

  • Suppliers can view Stanford Credit Ratings on the Stanford Office of the Treasurer (OOT) website.
  • For a fee, suppliers may order a Stanford University credit report by contacting Dun & Bradstreet. Stanford University's DUNS number: 00-921-4214.

A bank reference for Stanford University may be requested by submitting a Support Request.