Fall 2014

This quarterly newsletter is sent to Procurement Services customers to provide announcements and updates regarding ongoing initiatives and procedures.

Concur Improvements

Procurement Services has been collaborating with a variety of Concur users across the university over the past several months to get their feedback on the system. The input was invaluable in our ongoing effort to improve the user experience by making Concur easier and faster to use. 

The following enhancements were made available to Concur users on September 22:

  • Addition of a Second Default Approver (optional):  Users can save up to two default approvers in their profiles.
  • Attendee Look Up:  A drop-down menu with employee names is available to help users complete the attendee portion of the expense report faster and more accurately.  The employee information is imported from HR.
  • Google Mileage Calculator:  Users can enter a starting and ending address to calculate mileage.  This is in addition to the mileage functionality already available in Concur, so users now have two options to report mileage.
  • Field Copy Changes:  It is no longer required to provide a business purpose at the Report Header field, so it’s not necessary for users to default the business purpose to all expense lines.
  • Field Updates by Approvers:  A number of fields in the Concur expense system can be updated by expense approvers, including date, department reference, and allocation.
  • Saving Allocations as Favorites:  Users can save frequently used allocations as a favorite, so expense reports can be completed more quickly.

Information on this release was shared with BAG members, Fin ULs, and M-Pathways Department Managers in mid September. The enhancements have been very well recieved by the university community.

You can learn more about the enhancements by reading this fact sheet.    

Vendor Spotlight: New Strategic Sourcing Contracts for FY 2015

In late FY 2014, Procurement Services, in partnership with several focus teams across the three U-M campuses, finalized the contracts for a Strategic Sourcing effort on over 15 categories. The objective is to reduce the total delivered cost of purchased goods and services while maintaining or improving quality and service.  This effort is expected to save the university at least $4.8 million annually. 

Our success in achieving the expected savings relies on the schools, colleges, and units to use these contracts and take advantage of the special pricing. Outreach efforts are underway across the university to help units learn how to use these and other contracts.

Transportation Services (bus/car) and Event Equipment/Floral Arrangements are just a few of the categories for which the university now has strategic contracts. Others include Lab Materials, Executive Services, and Promotional Items. 


Indian Trails and Trinity Transportation Services were awarded bus service contracts, while Golden Limousine and Michigan Green Cab were awarded with contracts for car services.

The university was able to negotiate specific rates with Indian Trails for several point-to-point attractions in the Southeast Michigan/Northwest Ohio region, such as the Ann Arbor campus to the Detroit Metro Airport. Trinity Transportation Services offered the most competitive rates on their long-distance rates (based on mileage and time). Both bus vendors have done business with the university for many years.

For the university’s car service needs, Golden Limousine was selected as the university’s executive car provider and Michigan Green Cab was awarded a contract to provide taxi services.  Both vendors were awarded based on pricing and service levels.

Event Equipment Rental/Floral Arrangements

Delux Tents & Events and Special Events Rental received contracts for rental of event equipment. Norton's Flowers & Gifts and Tom Thompson Flowers both received contracts for floral arrangements.

Delux has been a rental provider to the university for many years, with equipment that includes tents, banquet tables, folding chairs, and banquet linens. Delux is able to accommodate large scale rentals. Special Events Rental (SER) rents specialized equipment and custom services for events. SER is able to plan sites, build custom stages, do lighting, drapes, rent couches/sofas, obtain permits, and manage logistics for high-end events.

The university negotiated additional discounts from both rental companies for these contracts.

Norton’s Flowers & Gifts and Tom Thompson Flowers are located in Ann Arbor with over 45 years serving the Ann Arbor area.  Both can send arrangements anywhere in the US (including internationally) using FTD, Teleflora, and Fine Flowers.  Norton’s can also provide fruit & gourmet gift baskets, balloons, and candy.

For these contracts, the university has negotiated reduced rates for delivery, set-up/removal fees, and design charges. In addition, fees for FTD, Teleflora, and Fine Flowers fees are fixed for the first two years of the contract.                         

For more information, click on the vendor name or logo to be directed to the contract page located on Procurement Services website. 

Employee Spotlight: Nadeem Zaidi

Last March, Nadeem Zaidi joined Procurement Services as the manager of business enablement applications, after eight years as a product manager in ITS. He has been an employee at the university 13 years and also worked as a consultant for four years.

Nadeem, who has a degree in sciences from Aligarh University in India, and his team are responsible for supporting a variety of software applications offered by Procurement Services to the university community, including Concur, Marketsite, Contract Director to name the few. Before coming to the university, Nadeem worked at Megasys Software Services as a Senior Consultant.

“We’re really fortunate to have Nadeem on our team,” said Colin Anderson, interim director of procurement services. “He has an extremely strong background in software applications, particularly within the university setting.  At ITS, he managed supply chain and procurement applications, so he’s very familiar with our operation, which is a huge advantage for both Procurement Services and our customers. Beyond that, he’s interacted with many units across U-M for years on system-related projects, so he was really able to hit the ground running.”

In addition to supporting the Procurement Services applications on an ongoing basis, Nadeem has been collaborating with customers and vendors on a number of initiatives that are aimed at enhancing the user experience, features, and functionality of the applications.

“We want to partner with our customers throughout the institution to get meaningful feedback on our applications as well as actively work with our vendors to make these resources even more effective and easier to use as part of our effort to meet the business needs of the university,” said Nadeem. “I’m always very interested in hearing from our customers and what they think about our software applications.  That really enables us to provide even better service to them.” 

Nadeem, who lives in Canton with his wife and three kids, enjoys traveling and sports when he’s not working. He can be reached at nzaidi@umich.edu or 734.615.1809

ALERT: Back-to-Back Ticketing

While less expensive, back-to-back ticketing is a violation of airline policy and can result in cancellation of reservation, frequent flyer points rexcinded, or possible fines.  Back-to-back ticketing occurs when multiple roundtrip reservations are used to complete a single roundtrip.  Each reservation appears to be one trip, however, when using a combination of outbound and return flights from both reservations the cost is less because the length of the stay appears to be longer.  Read more about back-to-back ticketing on the Resources and Tips page.

Did you know?

  • Purchasing hardware and software at the university can seem like a daunting task.  There are many product options available and individual requirements may vary widely, especially regarding software.  Prior to purchasing, please refer to Software Purchasing Guidelines and/or the Hardware Purchasing Guidelines. While you can always contact us directly for assistance, our hope is that these guidelines will help simplify the experience.
  • When traveling on university business, per diem is paid based on the itinerary created in the Concur expense report.  If a portion of the trip includes personal days, the dates used to create itinerary should coincide with the business dates.  For assistance when editing itineraries, please see Editing Itineraries Helpful Hint.

Contact Us

Please contact us with any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns at (734) 764-8212 or procurement.services@umich.edu.


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