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E-Procurement

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Bill Cooper didn't mince words when Stanford University officials contacted him about coming on board as their director of purchasing. "I said, 'No, I'm not interested in a fragmented function and I'm not interested in an institution that has just a director of purchasing,'" recalls Cooper, who now has an office at ... Stanford.

Tom Fitzgerald,  CEO,  E&I Cooperative Services, Inc.

As the financial pressure in higher education continues to mount, and revenues continue to be challenged, all higher ed institutions are being forced to look internally to find effective ways to save. The safety net once provided by state funds, appropriations, gifts, high returns and tuition increases have been ripped away. The reality is, institutions must learn to sustain themselves. 

Increasingly, colleges and universities, like their corporate counterparts, are being asked to do more with less. Vendors can play a key role in offering expertise, reducing workload, and saving money.

Encountering resistance to e-procurement platforms isn’t unusual, says Max Leisten, market director for higher education at SciQuest. He offers the following advice to thwart compliance issues:

As the benefits of e-procurement become more widely known, institutions are moving to incorporate these systems into their operations. And why not? As Sabrina Stover, CEO of BidSync, a provider of e-procurement systems, says, e-procurement saves time, keeps departments on budget, increases efficiencies, makes the procurement process more transparent, and encourages a more competitive bidding environment, among other advantages (including being greener).

Bill Cooper of Stanford University and Jack D. Zencheck of Yeshiva University (N.Y.), who serve on E&I Cooperative Purchasing's strategic sourcing committee, offer these examples of how their more strategic ideas and actions are paying off for their institutions:

If your institution is not among those that have realized the considerable benefits an e-procurement solution offers, we have one question: Why not?

E-procurement saves time, money, labor, and paper, while increasing the service delivered to constituents.