Procurement

With administrative restructuring well underway, our next step in achieving financial stability is to review and redesign the expenditure strategy for goods and services across the university through procurement.

The university’s Procurement team is responsible for the purchase of goods and services, contract management, vendor management, customs services, travel management and compliance.


What comes next?

  • Ongoing updates about activities, progress and milestones
  • Invitations for faculty and staff to share their thoughts, concerns and ideas about upcoming projects
  • Direction on initiatives that require senior executive approval
  • Implementation of projects in progress

Upcoming initiatives

The Procurement team is tasked with finding $29 million in savings.

They’ve already found $8.5 million in savings from:

  • Reduced building cleaning service 
  • Reduced library journal subscriptions 
  • IT maintenance service 
  • Internet service
  • Job advertising service
  • Office supplies
  • Electrical and lighting supplies
  • Alumni magazine printing

The team has also identified 25 initiatives to help achieve up to $9 million in annual savings by March 31, 2023. These recommendations have gone to the Service Excellence Steering Committee and PEC-S for input and consideration. 

The Procurement team is working on a proposal to address the remaining $11 million.

Note: “opportunities for engagement” identifies the initiatives where we’ll be asking the faculty and staff to help us identify gaps and concerns, how we can keep stakeholders informed, and ways to ease implementation. More details to come about when and how.

2021

Implement preferred, cost-effective car rental supplier (complete)
The Procurement team renegotiated our agreement with the university's preferred car rental supplier, Enterprise (which includes National). We now have reduced rates for daily rental rates as well insurance. Using our Enterprise discount instead of independently sourcing a rental can save the university at least $30,000 per year. University employees can access these rates directly through our travel intranet site by choosing Ground Transportation or using the Maritime Travel Concur booking tool to plan a full trip.
Implement central compliance review and approval for travel and expense claims

The university Travel and Expense Review and Approval model is being redesigned to increase efficiency and minimize costs. It is expected the redesign will be completed and implemented in the fall of 2021 in conjunction with the shared services model. The redesign will include the following approval structure:

  • Operating spend < $5000: central review and approval only
  • Operating spend > $5000: central review and approval and budget owner/one over one approval
  • Research spend (all dollar amounts): central review and approval and budget owner/one over one approval

The redesign model will require employees to enter their expenses, attach receipts and submit. The claim will be reviewed by central compliance, approved and/or routed for final approval to budget owner/one over one. If any corrections are required or receipts are missing, the claim will be returned to the employee to update. Unresolved disputes relating to expense line eligibility and and/or supporting documentation will be escalated to the Centre of Expertise for additional review prior to approval.

Information and campus training: Now through to implementation

Implementation timelines: Fall 2021

Optimize supplier agreement for office supplies

Preferred Supplier Agreement – Procurement Services completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) for office supplies in the fall of 2020. The contract was awarded to Staples Canada and implemented February 1, 2021 (replacing Grand and Toy). This agreement provides more competitive rates for core (high volume, repetitive use commodities) and non-core items (all other commodities excluding specialty products). The cost savings with this agreement are demonstrated in two ways: competitively bid rates and administrative savings. Administrative savings include free shipping to the university, central price comparisons and invoicing efficiencies. These factors ensure the most efficient and cost effective purchasing method is in place for office supplies and related products. The university requires the use of this agreement by all units, departments and faculties to meet the targeted annual savings.

Stakeholder engagement: April to July 2021

Implementation timelines: September 2021

Implement purchasing card restrictions for office supplies and IT equipment

The university purchasing card program (P-Card) is intended for low dollar (<$5,000), non-competitively bid, goods and services purchases. Office supplies and IT equipment should not be acquired through the P-Card program and will face vendor restrictions in the future. The university has a preferred supplier agreement in place for office supplies with Staples Canada that provides competitive pricing and administrative efficiencies. There are three preferred supplier agreements in place for IT-related equipment; this includes Microserve, CDW Corp., and Insight Canada. These agreements also provide competitive pricing and administrative efficiencies. In addition, the purchase of IT equipment must meet standard workstation configuration requirements established by Information Services and Technology. This standard ensures hardware, software, memory and support requirements are considered when purchasing the equipment.

Stakeholder engagement: April to July 2021

Implementation timelines: September 2021

Review and implement campus-wide Event Management System

There are multiple event management software solutions available in the marketplace today. The university's current model includes multiple licensing agreements with different service providers. A campus-wide approach to event management would allow cost savings through reduced licensing agreements and central expertise in event management. Events include in person and virtual events. Central software licensing would allow for a yearly savings of about $100,000. The university expects a substantial increase in virtual events and the implementation of a centralized solution will reduce ongoing costs.

Stakeholder engagement: March to September 2021

Implementation timelines: November 2021

Implement an electronic purchasing card reconciliation tool

The university currently reconciles purchasing cards (PCards) with a paper-based process that involves printing, signatures and administrative management. The proposed electronic solution would eliminate the paper-based process and automate the approvals within PeopleSoft. The employee would go into PeopleSoft, attach receipts, reconcile their account and submit for approval. The budget owner or one over one approver would receive an email notification to review the submission. Oversight and compliance is completed centrally within the Center of Expertise.

Information and campus training: Now through to implementation

Implementation timelines: September to December 2021


2022 Foundational Projects

The university foundational infrastructure for procuring goods and services includes UAPPOL policy and procedures, regulations related to competitive bidding, contracts for services with individuals, and oversight and direction. 

Within the Finance, Procurement and Planning (FPP) portfolio, the mandate of the Center of Expertise for Procurement Services (PS) is to ensure compliance with our foundational infrastructure to mitigate risk and maximize cost savings opportunities. 

The Supply of Goods and Services Policy outlines all procedures that relate to the purchasing of goods, services and construction at the university. 

Review use of preferred supplier agreements
Preferred Supplier Agreements have been established for commodities and services on behalf of the university that minimize administrative requirements, provide cost savings to the unit and include additional non-monetary cost savings (i.e. free delivery to the university). The university requires the community to use these agreements so that we can reach the required financial savings.
Revise non-competitive procurement guidelines

Competitive bid guidelines are mandated by legislated trade agreements for the university.

Currently: the university is required to competitively bid through a competitive bid (RFX) process for commodities and services up to $75,000 and for construction over $200,000. For purchases below $75,000, it is recommended that a minimum of two bids are received for commodities and services. 

By end of 2022: the university is investigating the requirement to mandate two bids for commodities and services below $75,000. These bids would be acquired by the requisitioner/requester and attached to the requisition in SupplyNet. This will ensure price comparisons are completed for commodities and services within the identified threshold. 

Review central analysis and approval of contracts for service for individuals and limited/incorporated vendors

Contracts for service from individuals and limited/incorporated vendors require a formal service agreement prepared and issued by Procurement Services for $50,000 agreements or for agreements under $50,000 with complex deliverables. The process includes:

  • verifying the current status of the individual (determination of worker’s status checklist)
  • obtaining or self-assessing Workers Compensation Board (WCB) requirements
  • conducting a company lien search
  • confirming and obtaining valid insurance
  • issuing a fully executable agreement

Procurement Services frequently receives a request for payment of services that have not followed this procedure. Failure to complete these requirements prior to beginning work with an individual or company violates university policy and does not allow for a payment method to be established. These requirements protect the university while minimizing risk associated with contracting for services.

Define process for adding discretionary central input into competitive bids

Procurement Services provides expertise to the university community relating to the purchase of goods and services. Currently, we receive competitive bids (RFX) for products, services and equipment on campus, or we provide alternative solutions to the purchase. Procurement Services provides input into these decisions to minimize risk, reduce or eliminate cost. The process to provide input from central when agreements are missing key elements needs to be defined and communicated to all units.

Stakeholder engagement: May to September 2021
Implementation timelines: March 2022
Information and campus training: Now through to implementation


2022

Review personal internet payments

Home internet payments are the responsibility of the employee. This type of payment is a utility, similar to gas, water and electricity payments. The university is not responsible for the payment of home internet for employees.

Stakeholder engagement: now to March 2022
Implementation timelines: TBD

Review personal membership payments

Personal membership payments are the responsibility of the employee. This type of payment includes Faculty Club memberships. The university is not responsible for the payment of personal membership fees.

Stakeholder engagement: now to March 2022
Implementation timelines: TBD
Define corporate cell phone deployment strategy

Corporate cellular phones are issued to university employees based on the requirements of the specific faculty, department or unit. The university will develop a  strategy that identifies what positions require the use of a corporate cell phone to complete their regular duties and an approval process to ensure independent oversight is completed.

Stakeholder engagement: now to March 2022
Implementation timelines: TBD
Review and optimize copier contracts

Faculties, departments and units have copier agreements through Xerox. Procurement Services will review the needs of units to identify how many copiers are required based on the staffing complement and the typical use of the machine. Additionally, many copiers on campus have exceeded their current lease agreement and more cost-effective solutions are now available.

Stakeholder engagement: TBD
Implementation timelines: TBD
Review and consolidate lab supply vendors

The university has preferred supplier agreements in place for lab supplies, chemicals and equipment. Procurement Services will review this spend to determine whether the current model is cost effective and capturing all savings opportunities. The review will include identifying all current vendors in use under the contract and spend associated with vendors outside of contract.

Stakeholder engagement: 2022
Implementation timelines: TBD
Review Legal Services sourcing

Procurement Services and the Office of the General Council will perform a review on external Legal Services to determine if a more strategic and cost effective approach is available to us.

Stakeholder engagement: 2022
Implementation timelines: TBD
Review university-wide fleet management

The university has significant requirements related to the use of fleet vehicles for research, distribution of goods and equipment, building and grounds maintenance and repair, Protective Services, utilities and rentals. Procurement Services will determine the most cost effective model to provide fleet management to the university.

Stakeholder engagement: TBD
Implementation timelines: TBD
Review university wide storage requirements

The university community has access to centralized storage within the Materials Management Building. Additionally, many units rent storage space off campus at a significant cost to the institution. Procurement Services will review current and future storage requirements to determine our needs and ensure a cost-effective solution is identified and implemented.

Stakeholder engagement: TBD
Implementation timelines: TBD
Consolidate travel spend through preferred supplier

The university has an established preferred supplier agreement with Maritime Travel through a competitive bid process that provides access to discounted flights, hotels and car rentals. The contract provides cost savings for airline tickets, administrative efficiencies, cancellations and related costs associated with travel. Additionally, faculty and staff receive competitive rates for hotels and car rentals. The use of this agreement is critical to achieve additional savings to the university.

Stakeholder engagement: TBD
Implementation timelines: TBD
Promote the permanent reduction in travel through online delivery alternatives

Cost savings opportunities exist through a reduction in travel requirements across the institution. Throughout the pandemic, we have learned to operate in a virtual environment through Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other platforms. This opportunity supports the move to virtual conferences now and in the future. Maximizing this opportunity will allow the university to maintain the savings currently gained and identify additional savings opportunities moving forward.

Stakeholder engagement: TBD
Implementation timelines: TBD


2023

Review feasibility of running faculty-managed stores
Estimated completion timeline: March 2023, currently in progress
Upcoming opportunities for engagement
Review IT purchasing
Estimated completion timeline: March 2023
Upcoming opportunities for engagement
Implement temporary travel freeze - operating budget (non-research dollars)
Estimated completion timeline: TBD
Upcoming opportunities for senior executive engagement
Implement temporary hospitality freeze - operating (non-research dollars)
Estimated completion timeline: TBD
Upcoming opportunities for senior executive engagement