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Purchasing Recommendations

October 26th, 2010 by betty

  • E-PROCUREMENT – Implement e-procurement within PeopleSoft.  E-procurement allows an end user (requisitioner) to select items from an on-line catalog for goods/services from a State awarded contract; i.e., Fisher Scientific, Wilkem Scientific, WB Mason…

A third party vendor is typically required to enable and manage supplier catalogs.  In 2005 the University met with a third party vendor, SciQuest, at which time the cost was $120,000 for implementation/integration and $182,400 per year for annual license fees.

Recommendation – Research the possibility/feasibility of implementing e-procurement as a long term goal.

Results – Reduce costs through negotiated contract spending, reduce time at the department level for obtaining pricing information, ordering and receipt of goods.

  • CELL PHONES – There is no one department that manages University owned cell phones.  Currently departments purchase a cell phone/plan on a department basis.  There are a few departments that “pool” their minutes resulting in a cost savings. 

Recommendation – All cell phones be managed by one unit, pooling the minutes for all University issued cell phones, resulting in one invoice/one payment from the managing department and a chargeback to the individual department.   Develop policies and procedures for recycling cell phones…  This recommendation could include the sale of cell phones via the URI Bookstore to students and faculty/staff personal purchases.

Results – Cost savings as a result of pooling all URI minutes, administrative cost savings in processing payment against 1 invoice vs many invoices, ease of purchase.

  • COMPUTER PURCHASES  - Currently departments purchase a computer(s) as needed and typically in small quantities.  Each department determines the specifications needed based on their requirements; therefore, there is no “standard configuration”.   RIC has developed a program where all computers are purchased at one time resulting in a lower price based on the quantity. 

Recommendation – Develop a set of “standard configuration(s)” for staff computers (not faculty).   Consider implementing a program similar to RIC.

Results – Cost Savings – Negotiate a better rate with the MPA vendors based on the standard configuration(s) and estimated volume. 

Examples of other institutions:

Recommendation – Representatives from the Streamlining Task Force Committee meet with the URI Property Department to discuss the possibilities of implementing an online surplus property website whereby individuals can search for available items and the possibility for individual departments to post surplus supplies that they have and may be of use to other departments.   Investigate the possibility selling items to URI employees/public after all required options have been exhausted; ie. Offer to other state agencies, solicit a surplus bid.   Additionally, develop policies and procedures for the disposal of Electronic Equipment (this will require involvement from the URI  IT Security Department). 

Results – Provide departments with the tools to locate available surplus equipment.   Safeguard information contained on computers and other electronic equipment.

After today’s meeting and hearing a discussion about “University” funds vs. “Departmental” funds I would like to add the following recommendation.  It is ironic that this is a recommendation that was originally brought forward on 10/26/07.  I am copying and pasting that recommendation and will add a few thoughts that I have had since 2007.

  • PHOTOCOPY EQUIPMENT – soliciting a bid for photocopy machines that would result in one vendor for the entire University.  The bid would have a variety machines so that departments could choose the one that meets their specifications and would include all costs; i.e., copier, copies, maintenance.

 I would like to take this a step furhter and eliminate multiple po’s, multiple invoices and multiple payments and consolidate into one.  To do this I was thinking if we knew the exact cost for each department is there a way to take that money from departments budget and allocate into a separate cfs specifically for this purpose?

This would, of course, require an inventory of each and every department and either a phase in approach due to existing contract expiration dates or a buyout of the copiers that will expire in the future.

 I know that CCRI does something similiar and this would also be a commodity that we should be able to cooperatively bid with URI, CCRI and RIC, if not initially due to their existing contracts but certainly in the future.

I believe that an approach like this will result in significant savings not only in the cost of the copiers but in administrative costs.

Charge all copiers to one University cfs with a chargeback to each department. Enter into a “rental” agreement vs a ”lease/purchase”.   Issue one “Master” purchase order for the individual copiers vs. a purchase order for each and every copier.  Have the rental agreement include all costs; i.e. all copies, consumables (toner & developer) and maintenance and repairs.  This will also reduce the number of purchase orders and the number of invoices. 

Results – Cost Savings, both administratively and dollar savings based on the volume of copiers.  Eliminate the need for department to process LVPO’s for consumable supplies.   Since the expected award would be to a single vendor, there would be virtually a dedicated service technician for the entire campus; including GSO, Alton Jones and CCE.  Eliminates obsolete equipment that results is higher maintenance costs…


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Meeting Schedule

July 13 – 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
- Library, Conf. Rm. B, 2nd flr

July 28 – 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Aug 11 - 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
– Dean Jordan, Facilitator

Aug 25 - 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Sept 08 - 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.

Sept 22 - 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.