Digital Publishing and Printing Services - Contract Printing Policies

This document describes the policies followed by the Digital Publishing and Printing Services for contract print purchases made by State agencies in Wisconsin.

State Regulations

Contract Printing understands the stringent State regulations regarding print purchases. The Contract Printing process can seem complex and confusing, but we at Printing Services do our best to make your involvement in it as simple as possible. The following pages will provide you with a fundamental understanding of contract purchasing and the considerations which are unique to the purchase of print by State agencies in Wisconsin.


The purchase of printing in Wisconsin has traditionally been handled differently than the purchase of other commodities. If you have been with the university for a long time, you may remember that at one time ALL printing was purchased by the Department of Administration
(DOA). There was a campus printing liaison who was required to forward all specifications and camera ready copy to DOA for purchase. However, a number of years ago, DOA delegated to various State agencies the power to purchase print.

Almost without exception, agencies have chosen to maintain the separation between general purchasing and print purchasing. This allows the assignment of an Agency Printing Manager, a person with printing expertise who understands the entire printing process and the myriad of manufacturing options available to achieve exactly what the customer wants. The agency
printing manager for DP&PS is Geoff Larson.


To assist the assigned Agency Printing Managers in their purchasing, the DOA’s Bureau of Procurement has, over time, developed a very complete series of contracts for the purchase of virtually any type of printing that might be required by State agencies. The prices
associated with these contracts are extremely good, and if a printing order meets ALL of the specifications that are covered by a state contract, Printing Services’ Contract Printing department is required to use that contract to make the purchase.

In addition to State contracts, our Contract Printing department has developed and bids several contracts for printing with local printing companies. These contracts generally allow for a shorter turnaround time than the State contracts and have a lower volume of use; therefore, the printing will cost more in these contracts than on the State contracts.

The Law

Law specifically regarding printing is found in both the State Constitution and the Wisconsin Statutes. Article IV, Section 25 of the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin states, “The legislature shall provide by law that all stationery required for the use of the State, and all printing authorized and required by them to be done for their use, or for the State, shall be let by contract to the lowest bidder, but the legislature may establish a maximum price; no member of the legislature or other State officer shall be interested, either directly or indirectly, in any such contract.”

This is significant because it allows that certain policies and procedures applicable to all other purchasing processes may not be applied to the purchases of printing. Included among those policies unique to State print purchasing are:

  • No “best judgment process” or “best buy”.
  • No preferences (i.e.: minority business preference, sheltered workshop requirement).
  • No request for proposal process.
  • No waiver of bid process.
  • Printing at all dollar levels must be bid.

Chapter 35 of the Wisconsin Statutes defines printing and established the Classes of Printing and Contracts that DOA bids. Additionally, three types of printing are defined as exempt from the statutes:

  • Any printing published by students of the University of Wisconsin System which is funded solely from student fees or student organization income.
  • Any printing for a single job which costs less than $50.00, other than stationery (letterheads, envelopes, business cards).
  • Printing done by the State itself, such as UW-Madison / DoIT Printing Services and Badger State Industries.

Examples of Items Handled By Contract Printing

  • Envelopes; large or small quantity of commercial, catalog or miscellaneous which require custom printing (i.e.: return address).
  • Forms* with custom printing, including snap sets, snap sets bound in books (single or multiple ply), printed continuous data processing forms, carbon interleaved or carbonless.
  • Job printing which includes letterhead, envelopes, mailing labels, other cut-to-order pressure-sensitive items, business cards, processing forms, carbon interleaved or carbonless. Job printing (forms*) which includes flat forms (single sheets or padded carbonless sets) with or without numbering, die cutting, perforation or other special features.
  • Newsprint or other publications done by web printing process.
  • Pocket folders to be manufactured or furnished that require custom printing.
  • Tab cards (machine)* that require custom printing.
  • Books and journals, including those bound with hot glue or case bound (generally obtained through UW Publications).
  • These items are ONLY available from Printing Services’ Contract Printing. Through an arrangement with UW-Madison Purchasing and UW-Madison Publications, those two resources will not place orders for these items.

Printing Related Items

Printing-related items are ordered through normal purchasing channels and do not have to be ordered through Contract Printing. They are defined as items for which any included printing is incidental to the total cost or purpose of the item.

Some examples of printing-related items are:

  • Binders.
  • Binding services of books, journals or periodicals.
  • Imagesetting (high-resolution), computer-generated graphics. labels: plain, unprinted.
  • Plastic cards, badges, plaques, signs, name tags, packaging materials, etc., requiring printing somewhere on a surface.
  • Printing, quick copy/duplicating or photocopying in which the total cost per transaction does not exceed $49.99 and is NOT forms, stationery, letterhead or business cards.
  • Student-funded printing by student segregated fees and/or student organizational income.
  • Tab dividers.

Order Procedures

To place an order with Printing Services’ Contract Printing, an INTERNAL a requisition must be made out to:

UW-Madison / DoIT Printing Services
Contract Printing
Room 201
30 East Campus Mall
Madison, WI 53706

Class Code 3800 needs to be indicated on the requisition which is then routed through normal department approval channels. Contract Printing can order NO work without either a valid Fund and UDDS code, reference numbers may be used in conjunction with fund UDDS code.

Once the requisition has been assigned, a Printing Services Order Form must be thoroughly completed, including the requisition number to which the order will be charged. In addition, any job submitted on a diskette, or other storage media, or over the network, must be accompanied by an Electronic File Output Form which provides the printer with the necessary information to properly utilize the saved files.

The Purchase Order

Contract Printing examines the specifications of each order to determine if either a State or University contract can be used to order the printing. If the job can be ordered on contract, a  Purchase Order is executed and forwarded to the printer within two working days.

If the printing requested does not fit a State or University contract, it must be bid regardless of the dollar amount of the item. If the order value is less than $25,000, the staff of Contract Printing will solicit quotations from three or more printers capable of satisfactorily completing the job. However, if the estimated order cost is over $25,000, then an “Official Sealed Bid” must be done, a process taking a minimum of three to four weeks.

Contract Printing maintains bidder lists for various types of printing; these vendors are solicited for bids when their capabilities are applicable to a specific job. Also, advertisements are required to be placed in the “Official State Newspaper” (The Wisconsin State Journal) for two consecutive weeks soliciting printers for the job. At the designated time, the bids are opened, and a vendor is determined. A letter of intent to award the job to the selected printer is sent to everyone responding to the bid. If no vendor protests the award, the Purchase Order is written and forwarded to the printer one week after the letter of intent is sent.

The individual placing the order will receive an acknowledgment entitled “Notification of UW-Printing Services Printing Purchase Order” with the specifications of the printing order listed.

It is your responsibility to review this and note the specifications stated on it, including the scheduled dates of proofs and delivery of the finished product. Any questions or concerns about the order should be directed to the person in the Contract Printing office who is indicated on the form.

Turnaround Time

All contracts have a turnaround time range. The “clock” starts the day after the printer receives the Purchase Order with the camera ready art and includes the delivery date as one of the days.


PRINTERS’ PROOFS MUST BE APPROVED AND SIGNED. There is always a chance that an error can occur in the preparation of a job, and if a proof isn’t “OK’d,” the printer cannot be held responsible. Proofs need to be returned as quickly as possible so that the delivery date of the order is not delayed. The “clock” stops during the proofing cycle.


Your order will be delivered to the location you specify on your order form on the day indicated on the Purchase Order. It is important that the finished product be checked immediately upon its receipt. The total price for an individual order will appear on a “Detail of Charges” from Printing Services once the order is complete and all costs are computed. Additionally, at the end of each month a “Statement” will be issued that will list all orders purchased against your requisition number.

Keywords:doit state regulations contracts envelopes carbonless processing forms letterhead mailing labels business cards newsprint folders books journals binders binding internal requisition purchase purchasing orders turnaround time proofs delivery   Doc ID:44523
Owner:Help Desk KB Team .Group:DoIT Help Desk
Created:2014-10-28 10:48 CDTUpdated:2023-09-12 16:25 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk
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