Center-Led Procurement

Center-Led Procurement

In a Center-Led Procurement (CLP) model the Purchasing Department provides leadership of the procurement processes and has authority over how we source.  CLP does not take departments out of the procurement process, in most cases departments still decide which supplier we buy from based on the best value and available budget funds.  Individual departments may not have the final decision on a vendor for purchases that affect multiple areas of the university.

Purchasing decides what the best procurement process is and leads that process.  This happens through identifying opportunities, resources, leveraging competition, and utilizing best practices.  Purchasing is involved from the beginning and the processes take place in collaboration with the department who needs the goods or services.  Departments can expect the process to take longer than in the past.

Due to the limited bandwidth available it will take time and not every purchase will be able to be included immediately by this model.  It is also important to know that there will not be savings on every purchase.  Purchasing is working with the highest spend departments now and working on the best opportunities for savings.

CLP will take various forms depending on what is being purchased.  Some examples of the Purchasing Department’s activities include:

  • Identifying opportunities that could lead to savings.
  • Determining when it is advantageous to leverage competition and deciding if we proceed with soliciting competition.
  • Leading RFP’s and bids.
  • Finding a pre-negotiated contract to use through a GPO (Group Purchasing Organization)
  • Implementing the e-Procurement system to give campus access to existing contracts.
  • Identifying new vendors for departments to engage with.
  • Aggregating purchases to leverage volume discounts.
  • Identifying opportunities to collaborate with the NY6 and other consortiums.
  • Performing direct negotiations with a vendor.
  • Provide training to campus on best practices.

At a basic level, CLP is added collaboration, implementing best practices, and the sharing of resources to achieve the best value for the university.

CLP is not:  Taking away the decision-making power of the stakeholders.  It’s not Purchasing buying everything.

Center-Led Procurement FAQ

What is your department’s roll in CLP? Department participation is key to CLP.  Departments can expect to:

  • Identify a need that must be procured.
  • Make decisions based on value: Price, Quality, Service.
  • Provide specifications to Purchasing.
  • Evaluate proposals and solutions.
  • Assist with developing RFP and bid documents.
  • Bring opportunities for savings forward.
  • Identify potential vendors.
  • Utilize the e-Procurement system.
  • Meet periodically with Purchasing to discuss upcoming purchases.

What are the benefits to a CLP model?  Cost savings through collaboration.  In the CLP model stakeholders’ expertise as a content specialist is leveraged to help find the best value and their decision-making power is not taken away.  The CLP model can be implemented without adding a significant number of staff.  Cost savings can be measured and reduce expense to budgets. There is transparency around purchasing decisions.  We are not reinventing the wheel, just using best practices and tools.

Why are we pursuing this initiative? CLP was identified as a cost savings strategy by EYP as part of the ESL talk force.  They estimated that there is the opportunity create significant savings be transitioning to this model.

What types of purchases does CLP affect? Any goods and services that are being purchased by the university.  Some things will be deemed a soul source or noncompete as we review them.

Are there still competitive bidding thresholds? Yes, however smaller purchases may also be subject to added competition.  Purchasing will work with you to identify opportunities.

Who does this impact? Anyone who makes purchases of good and services on behalf of the university, big or small. 

How does it impact me and my work?  We must be willing to consider alternative suppliers when the university gains value by making a change and collaborate with Purchasing to follow process that Purchasing identifies and leads.

Can I still use the same vendors, get the same supplies and services? I do not want to change vendors; do I have to? Decisions should be based on the best value for the university determined be price, quality, and service.  In some instances, it will lead to changes.   Purchasing does not tell department which vendor to utilize, but the process is identified by Purchasing.

What is wrong with what we are doing now?  I feel like a do a good job at negotiating.  We are not moving to CLP because employees are not doing a good job of sourcing.  Many employees do a fantastic job to save us a lot of money.  However, currently hundreds of employees across campus are making procurement decisions daily and not everyone has the resources, tools, time, and knowledge to find the best outcome.

Who decides what vendor to use?  Collaborative decisions about purchases are made and based on value, defined as price, quality, and service.  Purchasing does not dictate what vendor you use, except for categories that span across the institution in some cases.  Ex: Office supplies, rental cars, and travel.

I already have a great vendor, why do I need to look at others?  If there has not been a competitive process recently there could be less expensive options or new options in the market.  Competition is also a fair way to limit the incumbent from dictating price increases.

What are the first steps specifically? Purchasing is implementing E-Procurement in the spring/summer of 2023. Divisional meetings will start in spring for a few departments that have high spend.  It will be expanded over time. 

What is not working with our current model? We are currently in a decentralized model where for most sourcing people are on their own as long as they follow a certain set of guidelines, thresholds etc.  There are many different skillsets and perceptions of value on campus and not everyone has the same resources available.

How will we measure success? Cost savings, customer satisfaction, ability to meet needs of departments.  There will not be savings on every purchase.  There are multiple categories of savings, cost avoidance vs. cost savings.

Where can I direct questions?  Nick Ormasen, Executive Director of Business Services or Brooke Moreau, Associate Director of Procurement.