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Purchase Order Approval & Delivery Updates, Including Home Shipments During COVID-19

The University of Pittsburgh has taken additional steps that reduce the faculty and staff working on our campuses and reduce the number of open buildings in an effort to protect the health and well-being of the Pitt community in response to COVID-19. Due to these steps, you may need to receive certain product deliveries at home. In order to ensure the ordering, approval, and delivery of products needed for the continuation of Pitt’s mission during this time, PantherExpress has consulted with Directors of Administration for academic and administrative responsibility centers to add an option for home delivery of certain products as of March 26th, 2020, and to require additional approval for all purchases until further notice. The additional approval for on-campus deliveries is to reduce the number of deliveries to closed buildings. Please review the following information about changes which will be in effect during the pandemic:

For Approvers - changes to the PantherExpress System approval process 

Effective 7/1/21 spending limits for department buyers will return to their pre-pandemic limits and the associated approval routing.

  • Approval will be required for ALL PantherExpress System purchases. We are reducing each department buyer’s spending limit per order to $0, meaning approval will be required in order to issue every purchase order.
    • Approver path will remain the same.
    • We are experiencing an 80% drop in the quantity of PantherExpress System orders and we do not anticipate the number of approvals will be onerous for approvers.
    • This approval will act as a good control to confirm that any orders shipped to personal residences are in fact legitimate for University business and have proper approvals.

Delivery Guidance for Pittsburgh Campus when Ordering through PantherExpress

Please review the following instructions for package deliveries to the Pittsburgh campus, in effect only during the COVID-19 pandemic, before you place any orders. Please note, this information only pertains to the Pittsburgh campus, as instructions for the regional campuses differ:

FedEx, UPS, USPS shipped to Pittsburgh Campus University Buildings

  • Orders shipped through these services are being delivered directly to the campus mailroom. If a package is received for a building that is open, Campus Mail will deliver it. If a building is closed, Campus Mail will notify the recipient and hold packages in the mailroom for pickup.
  • There is an exception for packages shipped through FedEx and UPS to BST, BST3, and Scaife Hall which will continue to be delivered directly to those buildings and not re-routed to the campus mailroom.

Deliveries to the Pittsburgh campus from Suppliers with their own or contracted delivery fleets (excluding SUPRA), i.e. Access, Matheson Gas, some Fisher Scientific, Grainger, and Medline

Still being delivered to the ship-to address used at the time of ordering. Departments must coordinate receipt of those orders delivered directly with the supplier. See recommendations listed below specifically for lab supplies.

Deliveries of Lab Supplies

  • It is recommended that all lab supply orders be shipped to 7500 Thomas Boulevard so that Campus Mail can receive them centrally and process them for delivery to Pittsburgh campus buildings (note: same day delivery is contingent on Campus Mail receiving the package by 12pm). The ship-to address code to be used in the PantherExpress System for Campus Mail is THOMS.
  • For shipments of refrigerated or frozen items (i.e. time sensitive) the researcher or the person requesting the supply should inform the person placing the order that the item is refrigerated or frozen and it's important that the purchaser/researcher complete these steps:
    1. Ensure that someone from the department is available to receive the delivery from Campus Mail on the scheduled delivery date;
    2. Contact Campus Mail at with the following information once an order has been placed for items shipped on dry ice: package carrier, tracking number, confirmation of where the package will be delivered on campus, confirmation that someone from the department will be there to accept it, and a phone number for this contact. This advance notice will assist Campus Mail in expediting the same day delivery of these supplies.

Deliveries to the Pittsburgh campus from SUPRA/Office Depot via their own delivery fleet

  • Orders delivered by SUPRA via their own delivery fleet will be delivered directly to the campus mailroom beginning the week of November 16, except for BST, BST3, Scaife Hall, Technology Drive locations, and all hospital locations. If a package is received for a building that is open, Campus Mail will deliver it. If a building is closed, Campus Mail will notify the recipient and hold packages in the mail room for pickup. The next-day desktop delivery service should not be impacted by this change.
  • Deliveries for BST, BST3, Scaif Hall, Technology Drive locations, and all hospital locations will be made to each building's respective loading dock for internal distribution by Pitt personnel.
  • Should you have any questions about delivery of a SUPRA purchase, please contact SUPRA directly.

Other Recommendations for Preferred Shipping Methods

  • Because shipping type in the PantherExpress System defaults to the best method, purchasers should coordinate directly with the supplier if there is a preferred shipping method:
    • For temperature sensitive product deliveries - UPS or FedEx Express is the preferred delivery method.
    • When utilizing FedEx for deliveries - select FedEx Priority Overnight to ensure the most reliable delivery times. The FedEx Ground and Standard Overnight options are not recommended at this time.

For more information from Campus Mail including how to contact them or instructions on picking up your mail, visit their website.

Ship to home address – available as of March 26th, 2020 (until further notice)

  • A new ship-to address has been added to the PantherExpress System called “HOME”, allowing the purchaser to enter a home address. This can be used by a department buyer to ship items to multiple home addresses for individuals within the department.
  • We anticipate this will comprise a small quantity of orders. Primarily office or computer supplies.
  • Approval is required for all PantherExpress System purchases using the ship-to address called “HOME”. Non-consumable goods (i.e. computers, printers, office furniture, etc.) which are shipped to personal residences should be noted and tracked by an approver within the department. This will ensure that these items are returned to the University if/when the employee leaves or when the employee no longer requires these items to complete their work from home. This template spreadsheet can be used by approvers to track these items.
  • Use of the “HOME” ship-to address in the PantherExpress System must only be used for purchases being shipped to an employee’s residence for University business. Purchases being delivered to a non-residential address (i.e. Pitt-owned or rented building, etc.) cannot use the “HOME” ship-to address.   
  • Recipients of new computer devices should follow the setup instructions at to ensure equipment meets the University’s information security standards for protecting data and computing assets. Remote assistance is also available by contacting the 24/7 IT Help Desk at 412-624-HELP (4357).
  • While most home shipments will be office supplies or computer supplies (cables, etc.) and, therefore will be low-value and low-risk, purchasers and approvers should consider risks such as a secure drop location for other products that may be shipped home.
  • It is required to use the recipient’s email address when placing any orders that will be shipped to a home address. This email address is used for communications between the recipient and the supplier. It is also where the order confirmations and order delivery information is sent.
  • This delivery option is intended to alleviate issues with necessary supplies during remote work/limited building access that cannot be accomplished through the above delivery options. There is no expectation for departments/schools to ship large quantities of office supplies to an individual’s home.
  • PPE and COVID-19 mitigation supplies are only for University business, not for home use. These supplies should not be shipped to an employee's residence using the "HOME" ship-to address.
  • In alignment with good and safe practices as recommended by Environmental Health & Safety, the procurement of laboratory chemicals and/or biological materials is restricted for delivery to a home/residential address. No scientific supplies should be shipped to a home/residential address.
    • Laboratory chemicals/biological material(s) may have potential to create hazards and should not be received, used, or handled in a residential setting. University laboratories are furnished with specialized features and equipment (e.g. specified ventilation, chemical fume hoods, flammable storage cabinets, biological safety cabinets) that allow for the safe storage, handling, and use of these materials. The University strongly recommends that all orders of chemical and biological materials be delivered to a University-approved laboratory/facility. 
  • Read the Set Up a Home Shipment guide for more information.

For any questions about the approval process or setting up a home delivery, contact Customer Service.