How to Place Orders

Order Methods

There are several ordering methods available to purchase products and services. The primary ordering method Sourcing & Procurement manages and administers the shopping cart method. Alternate ordering methods are available for specific types of purchases to help expedite the purchasing process.


Shopping Cart Type: Used to Purchase:
Terrier Marketplace Shopping Cart Catalog Products
Free Description Shopping Cart Non-catalog Products
Limit Order Shopping Cart Services


Download the Ordering Method Matrix below for more information or visit the Ordering & Contracting Policy page.

Ordering & Contracting Policy

Ordering Method Matrix

Search Suppliers

BU offers a variety of diverse registered suppliers to provide the products and services you need at the Best Total Value* to you and your department. We work with our top suppliers to negotiate discounted prices and reduced risk of liability.

To browse our preferred suppliers and consolidated spend programs, visit our What Do You Need page.

For a comprehensive list of all registered suppliers, download the excel list of suppliers below (updated bi-weekly). Download the slide deck below for insturctions to search and assign a supplier to a shopping cart line item.

* Best Total Value is defined as the evaluation process that encompasses any, or all, of the following considerations: lowest purchase price, compliance with technical or functional specifications, product availability, ordering and invoicing processes, service standards, accounting compliance, terms and conditions, reputation, diversity status, avoidance of risk to the University, and regulatory requirements.

Download List of (all) Suppliers

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Search Product Categories

The product category code of an item in the shopping cart classifies the product or service you are purchasing, determines the General Ledger (G/L) code, and assigns the appropriate individuals to the shopping cart.

Select the most accurate product category to make monitoring the general trends of your department spend through reporting easy while ensuring orders are placed through the correct channels.

A G/L code is linked to every product category in our system for easy reporting. When creating a free description or limit order shopping cart, the shopper must select and assign the product category that best describes the purchase. Download the slide deck below for instructions to search and select a product category.

Download Product Category List

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Search Shopping Carts & POs

The active queries section on the main page of the Procurement tab in BUworks allows you to see open orders and search for shopping carts or purchase orders tied to your user profile. Use the search function to find PO numbers, the status of a shopping cart or PO, and if an invoice has been posted or paid towards a specific PO.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to search using the active queries section in BUWorks.

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PO Closeout Request Form

Import Orders

U.S. Customs regulations require checks-and-balances for orders crossing borders. Boston University’s contracted customs broker, Bollorè is here to help you with your import orders. Download the slide deck below for information about import orders and directions for working with Bollorè.

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Add Attachments

Documentation is a critical element of the ordering process. Documents should be attached to all free description and limit order shopping carts to provide as much information to buyers and suppliers.

Relevant documentation
Types of Documents to Attach:
Quotes, proposals
Statements of Work (SOW), Description of Services (DOS)
Signed of unsigned contracts

Free description or limit order shopping carts ≥$10,000 require at least one document be attached to the shopping cart to be submitted. Download the slide deck below for instructions to add attachments to shopping carts.

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Terrier Marketplace Orders

Our online Terrier Marketplace offers a central location to purchase a wide selection of products at competitive prices from a variety of contracted supplier catalogs. Products purchased through the Terrier Marketplace are considered competitively bid. Download the slide deck below for directions to place Terrier Marketplace orders.

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Terrier Marketplace Catalogs

The Terrier Marketplace has a large selection of contracted supplier products including lab, office, and facility supplies. Download the slide deck below for a list of supplier catalogs on the Terrier Marketplace.

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Free Description

When a product is not available on the Terrier Marketplace, you can get a quote from the supplier to attach to a free description shopping cart. Free description shopping carts allow you to add line items, product category, unit price, supplier, and more for product purchases outside the Terrier Marketplace.

Relevant documentation including quotes, proposals, or descriptions of services should be attached to all free description shopping carts. Free description shopping carts ≥$10,000 require at least one document be attached before submission.

Download the slide deck below for directions to place free description shopping carts.

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Moveable Capital Equipment Purchases

The Property Management Department manages all moveable capital equipment located on the Charles River Campus, the Medical Campus, and numerous off-campus sites.

Property Management inventories and tags moveable products purchased at a total value of $5,000 or more (including shipping). When purchasing any moveable equipment, use the capital moveable equipment product category (23100000) to add Property Management to shopping cart approval automatically. The shopping cart will go to Property Management for asset tag creation and inventory updates.

For more information about the classification, guidelines, and requirements for capital equipment orders, please visit the Property Management Manual webpage.

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Amazon Business

BU’s Amazon Business program is a tool for shoppers to use in addition to Terrier Marketplace to facilitate Best Total Value* practices including competitive pricing while ensuring all BU purchases fall under the University’s tax-exempt status.

Shoppers can review and compare preferred vendor prices with Amazon Business for select product categories. Please contact your department’s Amazon Business PCard Administrator to be added to the BU Amazon Business account.

Our contract with Amazon Business offers free standard shipping for purchases over $25, level three reporting for simplified transaction monitoring, and pre-purchase approval for increased purchasing transparency.

Download the contracted vendor matrix below for a list of our preferred vendors for popular categories of spend.

Download the Contracted Vendor Matrix

Once added to your department’s BU Amazon Business account, you can enjoy the convenience of purchasing allowable products not found on Terrier Marketplace.

Download the Amazon Business First-Time User Guide

To ensure purchases are aligned with University and Federal guidelines, the following products and services are restricted from being purchased through Amazon Business:

  • High hazard chemicals
  • Furniture
  • Medication, drugs, or controlled substances
  • Radioactive compounds
  • Laptop or desktop computers
  • Printers
  • Cellular services
  • Amazon coins
  • Amazon services
  • Gift cards

Restricted items submitted for purchase through Amazon Business, will be subject to purchase rejection from the department user group administrator and investigation based on monthly purchase reports reviewed by Sourcing & Procurement. The use of travel cards to purchase products from Amazon Business is prohibited.

* Best Total Value is defined as the evaluation process that encompasses any, or all, of the following considerations: lowest purchase price, compliance with technical or functional specifications, product availability, ordering and invoicing processes, service standards, accounting compliance, terms and conditions, reputation, diversity status, avoidance of risk to the University, and regulatory requirements.

Split Costs

Shoppers can split the cost of product order between multiple cost centers or internal orders by dollar or percentage in free description and Terrier Marketplace shopping carts. Splitting costs is not an option when creating limit order shopping carts typically used for services. Download the slide deck below for directions to split costs in a free description or Terrier Marketplace shopping cart.

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Limit Orders

Limit item shopping carts often referred to as limit orders, are used for purchasing services with variable costs and in many cases, multiple invoices. Limit orders must have a description of services, statement of work or price agreement attached.

Limit orders are unique because multiple invoices can be posted to this purchase orders as long as the dollar amount does not exceed the amount set on the limit order. When a limit shopping cart generates a purchase order for the supplier, the dollar amount you enter into the shopping cart is not shown to the supplier to allow you to budget for unforeseen fees in the service engagement.

To ensure more than enough funding is available on a limit order to cover unforeseen costs, we recommend forecasting your spend and adding additional funds to the total dollar amount of the cart.

For service and repetitive low dollar variable cost engagements, departments should submit one limit order, per vendor, per cost center for the entire fiscal year (July 1-June 30). Download the slide deck below for instructions to create a limit order shopping cart.

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Processing Contracts

Contracts have a critical impact on the operations of the University. Contracts not only define price and deliverables of a relationship or engagement with a supplier, but they also define conditions under which you and your department and the University are liable for risks. Contracts define roles and responsibilities including security measures taken to protect data, injury to parties involved, and intellectual property rights. For that reason, the only individuals authorized to sign a contract on behalf of Boston University are Trustees of the University or individuals with delegated authorization. For help with contract negotiations and signature, Sourcing & Procurement is your resource.

Not only does Sourcing & Procurement ensure your contract is signed by the correct individuals, but we also work with you to ensure all your specific needs are written in the contract as deliverables in a clear and enforceable way to fit your department’s needs while protecting your interests.

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All Cart Default Settings

Save time by setting attributes such as delivery address and account assignment for all your shopping carts using the personalization settings in the procurement tab. Once personalization settings are established, attributes like delivery address and cost center are automatically assigned to every line item of all your shopping carts moving forward.

Due to the regular expiration of internal order numbers, these fund centers cannot be set at the all-cart level using personalization. To assign default internal order numbers or specifics of a delivery address such as C/O, floor, and room number, use the single cart default settings for your individual order.


Download the slide deck below and the delivery address value list below for instructions to set your personalization settings.

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Download the Delivery Address Values List

Single Cart Default Settings

Save time by setting attributes such as delivery address and account assignment for every line item in a single shopping cart using the default settings before adding line items to the shopping cart.

The single cart default settings must be set before line items are added to a shopping cart, and only establishes attributes for an individual order. For information about establishing default settings for all your shopping carts, see All Cart Default Settings.

Download the slide deck for instructions to set your single cart default settings.

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Team Shopping Carts

Team shopping cart settings allow multiple users to view and take over each other’s shopping carts. Each individual on the team must establish their team settings before this feature can be used.

Once the team has been established in each member’s profile, the shopper must check the “Make accessible to my Purchasing Substitutes” box when creating shopping carts moving forward to make the cart accessible by team members.

If this box is not checked when the shopping cart is created, the shopping cart will not be available to your team members. Download the slide deck below for instructions to set teams in your user profile.

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Team members can take over another team member’s shopping cart if the cart is in saved status and if the cart creator selected the “Make accessible to my Purchasing Substitutes’” box when creating a shopping cart.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to take over a team shopping cart.

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Buy on Behalf Of

Use the ‘Buy on Behalf of’ function to enable another individual to search for shopping carts created by you on their behalf. This tool is great when creating shopping carts on behalf of your manager. Using this function allows the manager to search for the shopping cart *. The shopper must assign the desired individual to the ‘Buy on Behalf of’ box when creating shopping carts to make the cart accessible. If this is not established when the shopping cart is created, the shopping cart will not be available to the individual.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to create a shopping cart using the buy on behalf of function.

*Individuals must have a role that enables the Procurement Tab to view shopping carts purchased on their behalf.

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Worklist Substitution

Shoppers and Approvers can set substitution rules in BUworks to assign their worklist tasks to another individual while out of the office. Substitutions can be set ahead of time and scheduled.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to use worklist substitution.

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Financial Approval 101

When it comes to shopping carts and PO invoice payment approval, the fund center, dollar amount, product category, and general ledger (G/L) determines who is added to the workflow for approval if that purchase.

As a financial approver, you play a critical role in managing University funds and purchasing decisions based on competitive, fair, and reasonable pricing.

Financial Approvers need to be familiar with the University’s financial policies to adequately review and approve purchases for their department. Please visit our policies page to review purchasing policies.

Download the slide deck below for a guide to reviewing orders for approval.

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Shopping Cart Approval

Once a shopping cart is submitted it will be sent through a series of approvals based on the dollar amount, fund center, product category, general ledger (G/L), and shopping cart type. If you are an approver of a shopping cart, you will receive a worklist item when the shopping cart is in your queue for review.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to review and approve shopping carts from your worklist.

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PO Invoice Approval

When the Accounts Payable Department receives an invoice from a supplier referencing a valid purchase order number in BUworks, the invoice will be posted to the purchase order and sent to the department through the shopper or the financial approver’s worklist for review and approval before invoice payment.

If the invoice is for a payment ˂$5,000, the invoice will be automatically approved for payment from the worklist after three days, if no action is taken.

Invoices for payments of ≥$5,000 require review and approval from worklist before the invoice can be paid.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to review and approval PO invoice payment from your worklist.

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Approve From Your Phone

The Fiori web application gives shopping cart approvers access to their worklist items via a simplified interface. Approvers can view, approve, reject, or forward shopping carts from their mobile devices as well as their desktop.

Changes to the details of shopping cart must be done in the Worklist tab of the BUworks Central Portal; however shopping cart approvals can be completed easily from your smartphone using the Fiori application.

Download the slide deck below for instructions to use the Fiori application for shopping cart approval.

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