Spring 2016 Newsletter

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

Concur and travel news



Unused ticket feature

If you need to cancel a flight, your original non-refundable ticket may be available for future travel. If the ticket was booked in Concur or through a Conlin Travel agent, a feature has recently been implemented in Concur to make these credits more visible and to alert travelers with available credits from unused tickets. More information and instructions on how to use credits can be found under Concur Travel Resources

Travel alerts now available on the Procurement Services website

Conlin Travel, the university’s dedicated travel agency, provides travel alerts that include news about regions of the world with heightened danger warnings, weather events that may close airports, ground transportation limitations in major cities, as well as many other scenarios. More information about travel alerts for university travelers.

Resource wallet cards for travelers

Conlin Travel has created wallet cards for university employees. The wallet card includes travel agency phone numbers, university contact information, and phone numbers for JPMorgan Chase, the university’s PCard provider. To obtain wallet cards for your area, just email us at travelexpense@umich.edu and indicate the number of cards you’d like and a campus address for mailing.

Concur Mobile helps expense delegates too!

When you use Concur Mobile to record receipts, the receipt is immediately available for your delegate in your Receipt Store. This means no more tracking down receipts when you are trying to prepare expense reports. Learn more about Concur Mobile.

Travel Booking Modifications

Concur has been improving its travel icons and overall design of its travel booking page.  The enhancements should be completed this summer and will improve the booking experience and are more 508 compliant, which requires that all users—regardless of disability status—can access technology.

LS&A EMPLOYEE receives Savings Victors award

Linda Clark, a financial specialist for facilities in the LS&A Dean’s office, is the most recent recipient of the Savings Victors award from Procurement Services. In her role, Linda is responsible for coordinating the annual space survey and works closely with Space Analysis throughout the year to ensure LS&A’s space data is accurate.

“Linda’s planning and attention to detail has minimized the number of follow-up communications required, allowing Space Analysis staff more time to focus on other areas in need,” explains Mary Ellen Lyon, general operations manager of auxiliary operations, who nominated her for the award. “Her positive attitude and demeanor create a great collaborative relationship. She has a thorough understanding of the survey requirements and realizes the importance of it.”

Beyond that, Linda organizes and schedules workshops and training session for LS&A key administrators—including Space Analysis staff as needed—and provides all necessary documents prior to workshops so staff can complete their survey during the sessions, making the survey process as efficient as possible. She also works one-on-one with new hires within LS&A to ensure they have a full understanding of the space survey process.      

As a recipient of the Savings Victors award, Linda received a commemorative paperweight and mug. “I was pleasantly surprised to receive the Savings Victors award and be recognized by Procurement Services” said Linda. "It feels great knowing that my preparation and effort has had a positive impact on the Space Analysis staff."  

VENDOR SPOTLIGHT: New discounts offered

A cross-functional team comprised of representatives from the university’s research community and Procurement Services has secured new—and significant—discounts on PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) related reagents and consumables including DNA polymerases, RNA isolation kits, miRNA gene expression analysis, etc., from two strategic vendors:  QIAGEN and Sigma-Aldrich.

The process in achieving these discounts began when the team analyzed the overall use of these products including commonly used items, sources, customer satisfaction, technical support, and shipping rates. After careful review, the team requested and evaluated proposals from a panel of vendors, each of whom provided improved discount structures on products and shipping costs to campus and the Biomedical Research Stores. From this assessment and negotiations, the team then selected the top two vendors that could best meet the needs of the university’s research community. These suppliers were able to provide not only same item savings, but category-wide discounts and free or reduced shipping.

Researchers can take now take advantage of these discounts by placing orders through M-Marketsite and using their shortcodes or through one of the five Biomedical Research Stores. Free shipping is available for all PCR-related items from Sigma-Aldrich and shipping costs with QIAGEN are waived on all orders over $400. 


Meet Vidya Sarma, a research area specialist on the Research Procurement Team. Vidya joined the university more than 25 years ago as a researcher and a faculty member in the Department of Pathology.

Her research looked at the molecular mechanisms involved in acute and chronic lung diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). About three years ago, she joined Procurement Services.

Vidya acts as a departmental liaison for life science products and facilitates communications between key stake holders in the research laboratories, university research leadership, and Procurement Services staff. She stays abreast of cutting-edge research, which is constantly evolving at the university, and anticipates how the department can best serve U-M’s research community, based on the many and varied avenues of new research.

She helps researchers plan for, and presents them with, opportunities to reduce lab costs. She also interacts with suppliers to implement suggestions for improvements made by campus departments and plays an active role in the design and execution of RFPs.  Beyond that, she helps the Procurement Services staff interpret technical terms and products used in research labs.

“Procurement Services works incredibly hard to achieve valuable cost savings that help further the university’s research and teaching missions,” said Vidya. “And we’re working every day to let researchers across the university know the many ways we can partner with them to assist in their work by ensuring they have quick and easy access to the right supplies in a cost-effective manner.”  

She hopes her work will not only help the university stay competitive on the research front, but also increase awareness of the important role Procurement Services plays in making this happen.

Vidya, who received her Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Maryland at College Park, lives in Ann Arbor and enjoys quilting, painting, and gardening in her spare time. She can be reached at vsarma@umich.edu or (734) 763-8701

Strategic supplier product and service shows well attended

A Strategic Supplier Product and Service Show was held on March 29 at the Michigan League. More than 600 employees from across the university attended the show, which was hosted by Procurement Services. The shows give the university community the opportunity to meet manufacturer representatives as well as see and test new products.

The Image Group and Office Max booths were among the most popular destinations at the show. Employees stopped by The Image Group to visit with the representatives and check out new promotional products for their departments and events, while others headed over to the Office Max booth to pick up a new catalog.

"Since their inception more than 20 years ago, the shows have continued to get more and more popular," said Norma Glennie, contract administrator intermediate. "The employees really like to interact with our suppliers to learn about innovative new products and services."

A second show was held on April 20 on the Dearborn campus, with approximately 225 people attending.   A third successful show was held on May 10 on the Flint campus that enabled 175 employees to meet with suppliers. 


Did you know most of our strategic suppliers offer sustainable purchasing options? Our catering partners, for example, can provide zero-waste catering for events by using compostable items instead of plastic ware and urns or pitchers to replace bottled water. OfficeMax/Depot provides recycled paper and has a program to recycle pens, pencils, and markers.  Additionally, Mikan is a remanufacturer of laser printer toner cartridges.

While Procurement Services can work with suppliers to offer higher quality, sustainable items, departments can also  do their part to make their areas more sustainable by encouraging practices such as using strategic suppliers (since they invoice electronically rather than send in paper invoices), consolidating orders so the delivery trucks are not on campus as often, and minimizing packaging (HP—often referred to as Hewlett- Packard—will deliver your computers without packing materials or boxes).

Procurement Services and its suppliers continue to partner to make sustainable opportunities available.  To find products and learn more about what our suppliers are doing to improve their environmental performance, visit our website. Sustainable purchasing suppliers are identified using the icon above.

StaffWorks conference


Procurement Services participated in the StaffWorks conference held on May 11. The event, which took place at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, was well attended and registration filled up within hours. Nearly 100 poster presentations were on display and the breakouts sessions included 16 speakers. Procurement Services presented posters featuring M-marketsite and Concur Mobile Apps.


Managing ePro requisitions (req’s) in M-Pathways

It is always a good practice to manage your requisitions, especially with the fiscal year-end approaching. 

  • The “Manage Requisitions” page can be used to monitor a req's status including:
    • Open (requisition has been entered and saved but not yet submitted) 
    • Pending (requisition is awaiting approval)
    • Budget Error (requisition needs to be fixed or canceled)
      • It is highly recommended that you do not leave the req’s in budget error status

For step-by-step procedures on how to navigate the “Manage Requisitions” page, see Manage eProcurement Requisitions and Purchase Orders. This document, along with additional helpful resources, can be found on the ePro & PO Tracking Resources page within MyLinc (you will need to log in to access these links). 


Please contact us with your comments, questions, or concerns at procurement.services@umich.edu or (734) 764-8212, option 2. We enjoy hearing from you and welcome your feedback.


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