How Do I Buy Things?

To find out the best way to buy something, consult with your Administrative Assistant or one of the Stockroom Specialists Erin, Ellen, or J. See the sidebar to the right for Stockroom contact info.

We most commonly recommend that you buy things one of two ways:

  1. Buy from the Stockroom inventory of frequently used scientific supplies,
  2. Complete a requisition and let the Stockroom staff make the purchase for you.





FY 23 Year End Purchasing Deadlines

Deadlines for making purchases against Fiscal Year ’23 funds.

This applies to departmental operating budgets, endowed funds, or any funds that must be spent within the current fiscal year  (07/01/22-06/30/23).  Most grants (internal and external) span fiscal years.  

  • Last day to submit reimbursements against FY 23–June 2nd  
  • Last day to place orders against FY 23 via the stockroom–June 9th
  • Last day for purchases on your own procard against FY 23–June 16th  
  • Last day to place stockroom purchases from inventory against FY 23–June 23rd


If you are making a purchase via requisition from departmental funds, please remember to route it through your administrative assistant.

Please use our updated requisition form which captures all of the information your admin and the stockroom needs to process your order, including the coding for Workday.

Remember that the college is closed Monday 5/29 for the Memorial Day Holiday and again on Monday 6/19 in observance of Juneteenth. The week of 6/19 is designated as a week of minimal operations at the college.

NOTE: 2023 still has many of the same supply chain challenges we had hoped to leave behind in 2022

In case you forgot what those challenges were:

  • Long lead times, inaccurate lead times
  • Materials shortages
  • Logistics costs and logistical personnel shortages
  • Limited production and/or inventory for some materials and products (including cookies)
  • Despite a vendor’s claims, certified ETAs, and all categories of promises at the time of purchase,  “sliding” estimated delivery dates continue to be a thing.

It is essential that the “NEED-BY DATE:” be noted on ALL requisitions (ASAP is not a need-by date). The stockroom staff will do their best to provide updates to expected lead times, potential delays, and any additional fees. 


Holiday Ordering and Winter Break December 2022 to January 2023

Holiday Ordering Reminder:
Smith College is officially closed for Winter Break Friday 12/23/22, reopening Tuesday 01/03/23.

The Stockrooms will be closed as of 4pm Thursday 12/22/22 reopening Tuesday 01/03/23 (with limited open hours on 01/03 to facilitate mandatory inventory, 10-11am and 2-3pm. Meanwhile, packages will be delivered as usual throughout the day).

 During the break (12/23/22-01/03/23):

  • There will be no deliveries from UPS/FedEx/USPS. Any packages sent to the College during that time will be held by the delivery service until after the new year. This applies to any packages, not just those ordered via the stockroom.

Ordering/outgoing shipments before the break:

  • If you want to pay standard shipping rates for lab supplies that are in stock by the vendor to arrive before the break, place your order by Wednesday, 12/07/22 by 1:00 pm
  • If you want to make an end of calendar year purchase that requires a purchase order (usually these are requests for service or equipment purchases more than $5,000), place your order by Wednesday 12/07/22. We have no way to guarantee that a purchase order will be issued and that your order will be placed in calendar year 2022 after this date.
  • Orders on dry ice or shipped via next day should be placed no later than Wednesday, 12/14/22. Remember, vendors may not be able to ship cold packed/dry ice deliveries to arrive on Tuesday 1/3/22. If they are closed Monday 1/2, items will not arrive earlier than Wednesday 1/4.
  • Gas cylinders should be ordered by Wednesday 12/14/22, to be received before the break.
  • We cannot guarantee that new requests for outgoing shipment (UPS/FedEx) received after Wednesday 12/14/22 will be shipped before the break.

Hazardous Materials Returns

If you purchase fully-regulated hazardous material or items containing fully-regulated hazardous material, PLEASE BE EXTRA CAREFUL ORDERING! Even if a vendor is able to ship the product to us, and will accept a return, we may not be able to ship it back because of shipping regulations.

Spring Semester Ordering

Due to supply chain delays, it’s important for us to know ahead of time what your labs will need. Even with basic solvents and acids, and other supplies that we stock in our inventory, there are often delays.
Please let us know what you anticipate needing either for teaching labs or research so we can be sure to have it on hand for you.!

Supply Chain Blues

We’ve all been hearing about it for months. The supply chain is messed up. Of course, now that the FTC is taking an interest…it will all be just fine soon, right?

Here are some of the supply chain situations impacting the Stockroom right now:

  • A number of our vendors switched from creating their usual products (specialty tips, plastics, glassware) to focusing on products to help with C19.
  • Some vendors did not make it through shutdowns and either closed or changed their business models.
  • Products we would previously buy without restriction (gloves, tips, solvents) are being distributed by allocation and as a small college, we are far down on the list of priority for that allocation.
  • Because of international shutdowns, US vendors could not get the product, packaging, or raw materials needed to fill the orders we placed.
  • Prices skyrocketed for many of our usual items, especially consumables.
  • Standard shipping no longer means 7-10 business days from the order date. Staffing shortages, supply shortages, and shutdowns at vendors mean that lead times to ship to us increase by any amount of days. 
  • The delivery chain broke down:
    • The explosion in ordering online caused an already overcrowded shipping environment became swamped.
    • Both a lack of available trucks and drivers put strain put on existing drivers who have sought employment elsewhere
    • When the product doesn’t move by truck, it sits in the distribution warehouse. When the warehouses get full, no more products can be brought in, which means even if the items we need are available, there’s no way to get them off the cargo ships and into those warehouses and then onto trucks. 

We’ll keep doing our best to get you your supplies. Order early, and don’t forget to tell us when you really need it!

Holiday Break Ordering

Holiday Ordering Reminder:

The Stockrooms will be closed Thursday 12/23/21 reopening Monday 1/3/22.

There will be no deliveries from UPS/FedEx/USPS/etc and any packages sent to the College during that time will be held until after the new year.

If you will be working anywhere in the Science Center during the holiday break, please be aware that if you need products or gas cylinders to do your research, you should plan ahead.

If you want to pay Standard Shipping Rates, order by Wednesday, 12/8 by 1:00 pm.

Orders on dry ice or shipped via next day should be placed no later than Wednesday, 12/15. Remember, vendors will not ship cold/dry ice deliveries to arrive on Monday 1/3/22.

Gas cylinders should be ordered by Wednesday 12/15.

Spring Cleaning!

April is here and the flowers are making cautious appearances on campus. After the fourth time you get snowed on, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious. But don’t worry little flowers, odds are good it isn’t going to snow on you again. And if it does, keep blooming anyway!

There might be a life lesson in there… but we’re here to talk about Spring Cleaning!


Don’t go stir crazy looking out the window that you can’t open. Take a break and stop by the Stockroom for smiling faces, and pick up everything you need to make your space new again.

vwr glass disposal box

Glass Disposal Box getting a bit packed?

Tape that lid up and come get a nice new empty one.

Palmolive dish soapSparkleen detergentMicro-90 cleanser

Dishes! Always such a chore, but isn’t sparkling clean glassware just so satisfying?

Choose from our selection of dish soap, Sparkleen, and Micro-90.

Image result for eureka easy clean

When was the last time you vacuumed out the air filters in your fridge or freezer?

What’s that you say? NEVER? Oh dear…

Well, this is a perfect time to ensure that your equipment keeps running efficiently. Each Stockroom has a handheld vacuum that you can borrow at no charge. 


Have questions? Concerns? Comments? Just want to say hi?

Stop by, give us a call, or drop us an email. We’re happy to help with all your Science needs.

-Your Friendly Stockroom Staff

Science = Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

We’re halfway through February and in full swing. And because we love our scientists, we’re working to make your courses and research go as smoothly as possible. That’s why we’re working to add the products that you need most to our inventory, and giving you even more choices when it comes to safety!

Eye Love You Too!

Glasses slipping down your face when you lean over to pipet? Don’t feel like you’re getting the coverage you need? We’ve added a new selection of safety glasses to our inventory so you can choose eye protection that’s the best fit.

Pair of Safety Glasses

The North Adaptec series by Honeywell comes in Narrow, Standard, and Wide, and offers adjustable fit to accommodate our college’s outstanding diversity of students, faculty, and staff. Stop by the Ford Stockroom to try on a pair. Want more information? Check out their brochure.

Column Me, Maybe

We like to be an on-demand solution for your solvent needs. So we’ve added 1L Acetonitrile and 4L Hexanes to our inventory. And as always, we aim to get the best price for you. We buy big, so you can spend small.

Save the Last Dance for Me

Sometimes products just aren’t as popular as they once were. Sometimes we get a bunch of items in by accident. And sometimes people just plain forget we sell a thing!

Either way, we’ve got a stock of items that are looking for a good home. Want to know what’s in our Clearance Section? Stay tuned! (Or stop by, we’d love to see you!)


-Your Friendly Stockroom Staff 



The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


Happy December everyone!

It might be getting darker out, but our work days have brightened up quite a bit with the arrival of our new coworker. Maybe you’ve met her already, but if you haven’t, be sure to stop by during our open hours to say a warm hello to Jamie Dufresne. She’s over in Sabin-Reed for the time being, training with Jack.

Jamie is a Northampton native who struck out into the world and learned all sorts of things that make her a perfect fit to join our team now that she’s back in the Valley. (I’m not saying it’s kismet, but we’re certainly glad to have her.)

Training for her, Retraining for you!

We want to make sure Jamie’s training goes as smoothly as possible, for her sake and yours! That starts with making sure that requisitions are filled out properly and completely.

Here is how you can help:

Check out our page about ordering, here. There are links to copies of our favorite versions of the requisition, and the info we need is highlighted for easy reference (and for training your students!). 

If you are ordering from:

  • Department/Program Funds – You should work directly with your Departmental or Program Assistant to make sure he or she has the information needed to track expenses. The usual process is to give the requisition to your departmental assistant BEFORE it goes to the Stockroom so that it can be reviewed for the correct charge information and funding availability, and signed by them. See your departmental assistant for further guidance.  (Please do not give an additional copy of the requisition to the Stockroom; this practice results in duplicate orders and wasted funds.)
  • Non Departmental Grants/Funds/Startups – To be in compliance with our external funders, the fund holder or authorized signer must sign the requisition before any order can be placed.–The authorized requisition can also be sent from your @smith.edu email address.–The signature is documented by either: a picture file of your signature inserted into the document or typing directly on the electronic document the words “by email”.

If you would like to add a person as an authorized signer on your external grant (NIH, NSF etc), or have questions about any aspect of your external grant, please contact the Grants Office (x2218)

Successful requisition tips:

  • We must have an org number or a fund number AND an account number to place your order. (The name of the fund or org or “the same as last time” is not enough information.) 
  • All orders must be signed before they can be placed.
  • Please send any emailed requisitions or general queries to stockroom@smith.edu.  This practice makes certain someone will see it, even if a particular stockroom staff member is out that day.
  • Please make sure to put when you need something by. Without a need-by date, we assume that you are alright with ground shipping, which is 5-7 business days.

Have a wonderful end of semester, everyone!