Doing Business with Ohio State

Bid Process

The Ohio State University Purchasing Department utilizes Ariba Discovery for all bid posting and management processes.

Suppliers must create an account on Ariba Discovery to view and submit bids. There is no charge to the supplier.

It is the supplier's responsibility to maintain the accuracy of their Ariba Discovery company profile to ensure receipt of bid inquiry notifications.

Participating in Bids

If you have not already registered your company in Ariba Discovery to receive bids, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Visit
  • Step 2: select "Register Now"
  • Step 3: Complete your company profile (i.e. Contact information, email address, and commodities offered)
  • Step 4: Be sure to add diverse supplier information to your profile:

    • Diversity category

    • Certifying organization

    • Certification start and end date

    • Upload a copy of the certification documentation

For assistance with Ariba Discovery download the Ariba Quick Start Guide

Bid Overview

The Strategic Procurement Team has the responsibility to solicit formal RFXs from two or more suppliers when the estimated value of the purchase exceeds the bid thresholds, unless the items can be obtained under existing contracts. 

The Strategic Procurement Team will post an invitation to suppliers to bid via Ariba Discovery. Once the responses are received, it is the responsibility of Procurement to award the purchase order/contract to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. However, when choosing a supplier, Procurement may consider factors other than price. You may contact our team if you have questions about a particular RFX.

Dollar Threshold

Bid thresholds are established by the University's Board of Trustees. RFXs are obtained from two or more suppliers when the estimated value of the purchase is $75,000 or more for goods or services, unless the item can be obtained under existing contracts.

The Strategic Procurement Team may competitively bid any request, regardless of the dollar amount, when it best serves the University.

How do I view bids?

Log in to Ariba Discovery to review bids.

Bidding Standards


The University does not normally require bid bonds. Performance bonds, however, may be called for with or without expense to the University. Alternative bonding methods may also be provided. Otherwise, in the case of default of the contractor, the University may procure the articles or services from other sources and hold the contractor responsible for excess costs incurred. 

Communication with Suppliers in the RFX Process

In order to achieve fair and equitable competition and to maintain the integrity of the procurement process, supplier discussions with University personnel concerning an RFX must be via Ariba (Discovery or message board). A supplier's failure to comply, may, at the University's sole discretion, disqualify the supplier's or proposal.


Each responding supplier is responsible for carefully reading the RFX and understanding its contents. Suppliers who have previously submitted proposals for the same commodity or service should not presume that the specifications, terms and conditions are necessarily the same. There may be differences that would only be realized after carefully reading the entire document. 

Responding to RFXs

All the University's RFX are published in Ariba, providing all the necessary instructions and complete description of the requirements, with specifications, terms and conditions to enable the preparation of a proposal which needs to be submitted electronically via Ariba.

Responsibility of Bidders

Prospective suppliers should be financially sound and able to perform fully, according to the specifications, delivery requirements, services and other stipulations in the RFX at the price(s) offered. In cases where the awarded supplier refuses to comply with the resultant contract, the University reserves the right to purchase on the open market and charge the supplier for any excess costs incurred.

Terms and Conditions

All RFX documents are subject to the specified terms and conditions. Please read these terms and conditions carefully. The inclusion of any other terms and conditions by the supplier will be considered as an alternate, subject to the University's acceptance or rejection. Terms and conditions included as part of published price lists, catalogs, and other documents submitted as a part of the bid response are considered to be waived and will have no effect either on the bid, or any contract which may be awarded. The bidder specifically agrees to the terms and conditions specified in the RFX by signing the University bid document unless exception is taken in writing within the time-frame specified.

Bidding Evaluation, Award, Performance and Payment


During the period of evaluation and prior to award, possession of bids and accompanying information is limited to the University personnel involved in the evaluation process. At the discretion of the Strategic Procurement Team, suppliers may be contacted where clarification of a proposal is necessary for proper evaluation.

Being the "low bidder" does not necessarily mean that an award will be made to that supplier. The purpose of the evaluation process is to determine the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, taking into consideration selection criteria in the RFX and the factors spelled out by procedure and statute

Factors Determining Award

Some factors considered in addition to price are quality, adherence to specifications, delivery, service, warranty, and others depending on the intended use of the goods and services required.

The University reserves the right to waive technicalities or minor discrepancies in any bid, if in its judgment and without any prejudice to any rights of other responsive bidders, the best interest of the University would be served.

The University reserves the right to make awards by item, groups of items or total bid, whichever it deems is in the best interest of the University. The University may also reject any bid, in whole or in part, or reject all bids if it determines that the lowest bid exceeds the funds available for purchase, or if the lowest bid is considered in excess of current reasonable market prices.


After completion of the evaluation process, recommendations for the award of equipment, supplies, or services are reviewed with the department before notifying the bidders.

Bid Rejection

Any bid which does not meet, or substantially alters the specifications, bid terms or conditions of a proposal may be rejected in whole or part. The University reserves the right to reject any or all bids in order that the best interests of the University will be served.

Other factors that are cause for rejection of a bid:

  • Bid is not received on time.
  • Bid did not include descriptive or technical literature, specifications or samples if required in the bid proposal. 
  • Bidder fails to furnish bid surety if required in the RFX.

Invoicing and Payment

Unless otherwise stipulated on the purchase order or contract, all invoices should be submitted directly to the Accounts Payable Department. Ohio sales and use tax is not applicable. Payment may be delayed if invoices do not reference a University Purchase Order number.

Dissatisfaction with Products or Services

University departments are encouraged to directly contact suppliers in an effort to resolve any dissatisfaction with product, warranty, or service performance. When problems are not resolved to the user's satisfaction, departments are encouraged to contact the Strategic Procurement Team for assistance. Our team will forward the complaint to the supplier. A supplier receiving the complaint is urged to act immediately to resolve it.


Additional Resources

Bid Process

Contact Us

2650 Kenny Road
Stores & Receiving Building
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Phone: 614-292-2694
Fax: 614-292-6913

Email: Ask Purchasing
Email: Marketplace Team
Email: Purchasing Agreements
Email: Vendor Maintenance

Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Summer hours: 7:30am - 4:30pm