Published June 12, 2018
UB will soon roll out Shop Blue, a new eProcurement system that provides an Amazon-like purchasing experience that will greatly reduce both the procurement process and improve delivery times.
Shop Blue, which replaces the current eReq system, can be used by anyone with a valid UB appointment who needs to make a purchase for work — from requistioners who make large purchases of furniture or lab equipment to employees who need to buy ink cartridges for their department printers.
“It’s a more modern shopping experience for the user,” says Michael Maute, process improvement director for business services who is leading the initiative with Linda Deni, director of procurement operations.
With many people already shopping for personal items online, Shop Blue will be familiar to use, Maute explains. “In many ways (users’) work environment is getting caught up to their personal life,” he says, calling that “a rarity in the IT world. Usually business leads the way.”
Maute says Shop Blue users will be able to shop online via catalogues. While suppliers who do a high volume of UB transactions have been added to the system first — “We’re trying to make sure everyone sees at least one catalogue they can use,” he say — UB will continue to add new catalogues to the system. And if users find or need an item that is unique and not in the system, they can also put in a non-catalogue order, which looks like eReq, he says. “They’re not constrained by catalogue and can order anything from anybody,” he says.
Maute says UB and the six other Western New York SUNY institutions have championed and developed the project. UB and SUNY Geneseo will be the first to pilot the project. Once any glitches have been worked out, the other five schools will come on board, he says, adding that after the system has been rolled out locally, SUNY will make it available to the remaining campuses in the system.
Training sessions, which may be a combination of in-person training and online training, will begin later this summer, Maute says, with a phased rollout across campus anticipated in mid-September.
The Strategic Procurement (Shop Blue) project is part of “Achieving Operational Excellence,” a university-wide initiative underway in Finance and Administration to identify, analyze and improve existing business processes and systems to create greater efficiencies and cost savings that will lead to improved service to UB students, faculty and staff.
For more information about the Strategic Procurement project and the other initiatives, visit the Achieving Operational Excellence website.