BrownBuys FAQ

Q: Can anyone place orders through BrownBuys?  
A: All faculty and staff will have access.  As always, you should check with your department’s cost center manager or financial manager to be sure you are aware of the appropriate worktags and spend categories to use.

Q: Can orders be cancelled once they have been placed? 
A: Orders made through BrownBuys happen instantaneously so they cannot be cancelled. The B2B platform places the order too quickly to allow for cancellations.   If you received items that you do not need, you should contact the supplier to arrange for a return and credit or reach out to the applicable strategic sourcing category manager in SPCI or email Purchasing@brown.edu for guidance on what to do.  The category manager, in some instances,  may also be able to assist you with getting an order cancelled by working with the supplier rep to stop the order from shipping.

Q: Can I provide instructions for delivery?
A: Yes, but just like the previous punchouts, you are limited to 28 characters (or less) on one line in the Memo to Suppliers field that will print on the shipping label; you should abbreviate wherever possible, don’t use special characters, and only include essential information that the delivery driver would need to see (phone number, lab or room number, etc.).  The shipping label will automatically include: Brown University, requestor’s name, street address of building, and any additional information entered in the Memo to Suppliers field on the requisition.

Q: What is Live Order pricing?  
A: Live pricing is real-time pricing (the most up to date pricing) applicable to products that may be subject to fluctuating or promotional pricing (additional discounts, etc.). It is a feature that is available based on the type of supplier catalog (punchout vs hosted). 

Q: Can I shop between suppliers?
A: Yes, many of the strategic suppliers in the e-marketplace are set up to allow for comparison shopping if they offer the same products.  Use the search field above the Brown logo to search for items this way. 

Q: If I find the item I need is available at another supplier outside of BrownBuys, can I order it?
A: No.  If it is an item for which we have contracted pricing with one or more BrownBuys or other suppliers, it must be purchased through that supplier. The rationale is that the “items under contract” are deeply discounted and should eliminate the need for departments to shop around for pricing.  By consolidating the University’s spend for the most frequently purchased items, the University’s ability to negotiate favorable pricing and service will continue to improve.  BrownBuys reduces the time needed for “shopping” making the process more efficient.   If there is a question about this, please contact SPCI.

Q: When you say “approvals” do you mean routing to the cost center manager, or is there an additional approval by SPCI?
A: Orders over $3,000 will route for approvals by cost center managers, grant managers or any other standard Workday approval routing for that type of order.

Q: Some of the suppliers on your list are unfamiliar to me. Will you have information about them and on what products they offer somewhere on your website?
A: Suppliers in BrownBuys are grouped by the category of the types of products they sell.

Q: I can get this item for a slightly better price on Amazon, can I use my PCard instead?
A: No changes have been made to the Amazon Business process.  If you are shopping through Amazon, it needs to be through the University’s Amazon Business process.   However, if the product needed is available through BrownBuys, it should be purchased through that process where the supplier has a contractual relationship with the University and is a known entity making it easier to resolve any issues.  

Q: How will I know if my order has been received by the supplier?
A: You will receive a confirmation email from the supplier.

Q: How do I make changes to a PO created using BrownBuys?
A: It is not possible to change a PO once issued. Another purchase order will need to be created to obtain additional items needed.

Q:  Why was I charged shipping on my order?
A:  Shipping charges may apply to small orders, special orders, or items of excessive weight. Many suppliers may have a minimum order requirement / dollar threshold for free shipping, so orders should be consolidated whenever possible to avoid additional fees and also to support Brown’s sustainability efforts. Check the supplier’s punchout for specific information regarding shipping charges. 

Q: From now on, can I only make purchases from suppliers in BrownBuys? 
A:  No, the University has many contracts in place with suppliers for which there is not a punchout in BrownBuys. Punchouts are for basic, commonly used items that the University cumulatively purchases in large volumes. There are many suppliers with whom the University has established relationships and managed contracts but that either didn’t make sense to add as a punchout or that we may add a punchout for at some later time. Please contact the SPCI with questions about this.  A couple of examples include equipment purchases and uniform rentals / laundry service.