SU saves $600,000 in new office supply deal

Between faculty, staff, undergrads and graduate students, there are more than 24,131 people who can use the printers and other office supplies on the Syracuse University campus on any given day.

And with a new purchasing partnership, SU expects to save $600,000 over the next three years. The university’s Purchasing Department recently announced that it formed a contract with Corporate Express, which will cut costs and streamline ordering of office supplies, ink and toner.

The partnership allows individual departments to order their items online. Departments can now place orders using the new eProcurement module in the Purchasing Department’s PeopleSoft software platform. The process, which is similar to enrolling in classes on MySlice, allows faculty to make requisitions online. Once a purchase is approved electronically, the items arrive via next-day delivery.

‘This is going to save money in a number of different ways,’ said Douglas Freeman, director of the Purchasing Department.

The partnership was open to bids from a number of different vendors, and Corporate Express offered the best fixed pricing, Freeman said.

Making the process entirely electronic also saves money. Typing and mailing requisitions to the Purchasing Department is a thing of the past for SU faculty. The online order is sent directly to Corporate Express – cutting out the middle man – which allows a purchase order to be automatically generated. Faculty will also be able to track the status of their purchases online.

Freeman identified more efficient deliveries as the ultimate benefit. Items are delivered directly to individual offices instead of a central campus distribution center.

Other than the financial savings, Freeman pointed to other reasons for the new deal. The partnership allows departments to purchase office supplies, ink and toner when needed instead of using rooms on campus to stockpile them.

Michael Byrne, territory account manager for Corporate Express, said he believes aggressive pricing and speedy delivery were the two central reasons the partnership was created.

Byrne pointed to Corporate Express’ successful history working with other higher education institutions including Columbia University, Bucknell University and Seton Hall University.

‘This is an exciting opportunity for Corporate Express,’ Byrne said. ‘Syracuse University is well respected, one of the largest companies in operation in upstate New York.’

As a 1994 graduate of SU, Byrne said he is thrilled to be a part of the partnership.

‘It’s nice to be back on campus and seeing familiar faces,’ he said.

Though the contract makes Corporate Express SU’s preferred vendor for office supplies, ink and toner, departments are not obligated to purchase items exclusively from Corporate Express.

The next step for the SU Purchasing Department is electronic invoicing over the eProcurement system, which promises to save both paper and filing time. The department is currently working on this second phase to overhaul SU’s purchasing of office supplies.

The contract with Corporate Express will expire in 2010.

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