At Stanford University, there are multiple, authorized methods of buying and paying for goods in support of the university's goals and mission.

The following table describes methods and scenarios for purchasing goods at Stanford.

Method Why?
Amazon Business
via iProcurement system
The Amazon open-market user experience provides an ever-expanding product selection.
via iProcurement system
Buy any of the 4 million+ products available at Stanford-negotiated prices.

  • For more information, refer to the list of SmartMart suppliers and their product categories, or access SmartMart catalog via iProcurement on your Oracle Home page.
Purchasing Card
via PCard module of Oracle Financials system
Items that are not available in SmartMart or Amazon; supplier accepts credit cards and purchases up to $4,999.
Non-Catalog Requests
via iProcurement system

All other purchases not available in SmartMart or Amazon, or not eligible for PCard purchase ($5,000 or more). 

To rent, borrow or use a product or service for a specific period of time (i.e., greater than one month), refer to Topic Overview: Lease Capital Equipment and Topic Overview: Rent or Lease Real Estate.

Non-PO Payment Request
via Expense Requests system

Stanford pays a supplier directly for certain types of expenses that do not require a formal purchase order, or for which negotiation by the Purchasing department adds no value, e.g., government fees, permits, etc.

May be used for food/catering when a signed agreement is not required by either party.

Stanford partners with key suppliers to ensure best pricing and service for commonly ordered goods. Use these strategic suppliers when buying:

  • Lab Coats: Cintas supplier via iProcurement Non-Catalog Requisition
  • Research Alcohol: Gold Shield Distributors or Fisher Scientific via SmartMart

Stanford's Terms and Conditions as stated on Purchase Orders sufficiently constitute the contractual agreement between Stanford and the supplier in most cases. In some cases, however, special terms and conditions and/or a bilaterally signed agreement may be required to protect Stanford. Cases related to the purchase of goods may include:

  • Loan of equipment or other tangible items
  • Commissioned work when the results for the work may be copyrighted
  • Blanket purchase orders, where goods are delivered repeatedly over time
  • Orders over $25,000

Refer to Topic Overview: When a Contract is Required.

Purchase of certain goods requires understanding of specific policy. Examples include:

Goods Special Considerations/Treatment
Alcoholic Beverages/Alcohol With Business Meal
  • Must be charged to unallowable expenditure type and unrestricted PTA.
Alcohol for Research Use
  • Must be purchased via SmartMart through Gold Shield Distributors and approved by authorized approver.
  • If no approver in the department, submit an Alcohol Purchase Authorization Form
Blanket Purchase Order
  • Used to make payments for goods that are provided on a regular basis, over a period of time and with a Not-To-Exceed dollar value.
Capital Equipment
Hazardous Materials
  • May not be paid for with petty cash or PCards.
  • Visit the Lab Safety website.


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