This quarterly newsletter is sent to Procurement Services customers to provide announcements and updates regarding ongoing initiatives and procedures.
A new Standard Practice Guide covering various aspects of U-M's procurement process includes an increased bid limit, a defined signature authority system, and measures to manage institutional risk.
The new SPG took effect Jan. 1 and was approved at the December Board of Regents meeting, replacing a policy originally issued in 2004.
Based on feedback from the university community, Procurement Services has been working with Concur to enhance the system’s user interface. The enhanced interface will be available to the entire university community at the end of this month.
“Our pilot group was incredibly helpful in testing the enhanced interface,” said Nadeem Zaidi, manager of business enablement applications. “Nearly 50 Concur users from various units across the university, including LSA, the College of Engineering, the School of Education, Office of Research, and the Medical School, made a concerted effort to take a close look at the interface and provide actionable feedback, some of which has already been incorporated into the system by Concur. The key work done by this group on the user interface will benefit all employees who use Concur.”
The new interface offers easier and more intuitive navigation. More specifically, Concur’s homepage has been redesigned and now offers a dashboard experience with a “Work to zero” experience. Your task bar will tell you if you have expenses to assign to a report, reports to submit, or reports to approve. In addition, the expense landing page has been redesigned and now allows users to manage all facets of the expense process without having to leave the page. It also offers drag-and-drop of expenses on reports.
To learn more details about the new Concur user interface, please see this reference guide.
Concur will be releasing a second phase of improvements later in 2015 that will focus on creating expense reports.
Procurement Services is conducting a pilot for Concur mobile app with an 80-member user group from several units across the university including LSA, the College of Engineering, Life Sciences Institute, Office of Research, and School of Dentistry. The pilot user group is comprised of frequent as well as occasional travelers.
The pilot is designed to test the mobile app, identify what works, what doesn’t work, and determine areas for enhancement. The mobile app will help employees manage travel and expense needs when they are away from the office by allowing them to snap pictures of receipts to upload to the system, record car mileage and upload the details of their travel for reconciliation.
The pilot is expected to continue until early 2015 and the full campus rollout for the mobile app is scheduled for late winter.
The fall newsletter highlighted a few of the new FY 2015 strategic sourcing contracts, including contracts awarded in the Transportation and Event Equipment/Floral Arrangement categories. Another category in which contracts were completed in FY 2015 was Branded Products. The focus team awarded university contracts to two local vendors: Underground Printing and The Image Group.
Underground Printing received a contract for branded apparel. Under the contract, units can order custom t-shirts and other apparel for special events around campus. Underground Printing is a long-time branded apparel supplier based in Ann Arbor.
The Image Group was awarded a contract for promotional and recognition items as well as branded apparel. The Image Group offers a variety of branded products, including mugs, water bottles, bags, and award items. The Image Group’s office is located in Ann Arbor and the company also has a manufacturing facility in Toledo, OH. In addition, The Image Group has a team that can help units plan special events.
“The university’s success in realizing the savings associated with strategic sourcing contracts is largely dependent upon units taking advantage of the special pricing available through the contracts," said Becky Dunlavy, Procurement Supervisor. “We’re continuing our efforts to reach out to units across the university to let them know about the many benefits, financial and otherwise, of using a strategically sourced contract. We have a significant number of these contracts in a wide variety of categories, so units really have the opportunity to save a large amount of money in many areas.”
For more information, click on the vendor name or logo to be directed to the contract page located on Procurement Services website.
With nearly 20 years of experience in Procurement Services in a variety of areas, ranging from accounts payable to vendor maintenance and reporting, Carolynn Blankenship is a tremendous asset to both the department and the university community.
She’s been the audit and compliance supervisor since 2008 and is responsible for oversight of the university’s P-Card program and travel and expense system (Concur). Carolynn and her team regularly provide units across the university with invaluable assistance in the most effective way to use P-Cards as well as guidance on the expense reconciliation/reimbursement process. She’s well known throughout the university and often speaks at various meetings about both the P-Card and Concur. Beyond a strong focus on outstanding customer service, Carolynn pays special attention to compliance-related issues, from both the university and IRS perspectives.
“By complying with IRS guidelines and university policies, we protect the institution as well as employees incurring business-related expenses on behalf of the university. That’s a key part of my job and one that sometimes gets complicated,” said Carolynn. “After all these years, for example, I still get unique questions on a fairly regular basis, which both keeps my job interesting and allows me to keep abreast of the types of issues the units are encountering. My overall goal is to guide our customers to the appropriate processes and offer viable solutions, while making sure that we follow U-M and IRS requirements.”
Along with managing the travel and expense operations, Carolynn works closely with the business enablement team that supports Concur. “We’re very excited about the enhanced user interface, which goes live at the end of January. Moving forward, we’re going to continue to work with Concur to make the user experience even better,” Carolynn said. (See the article on the new Concur user interface near the top of this newsletter.)
Carolynn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 763-4331.
Last month Procurement Services announced some key transitions between the teams as well as promotions:
Stay tuned for more announcements regarding additional hires and moves across Procurement!
Throughout the year Property Disposition holds auctions of retired U-M vehicles and equipment. The most recent one took place on December 6 at the Washtenaw Farm Council fair grounds in Saline. It grossed $675k with 69 vehicles, as well as miscellaneous equipment, being sold. For the latest information and announcements on upcoming auctions, visit the Property Disposition website.
Please contact us with any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns at (734) 764-8212 or email@example.com.
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