Campus Spotlight: UC Santa Cruz
The beginning of a new academic quarter is a busy and exciting time for UC Santa Cruz Procurement Services as we re-engage with our academic division partners. Nothing influences the way we approach procurement more than the teaching and research happening at UCSC. Whether the requirement is a technologist to consult in highly specialized research space or electronic equipment to build mountain lion tracking devices, UCSC students and faculty challenge campus procurement team every day to work quickly and creatively in providing access to goods and services from suppliers at the cutting edge in their field.
The value of goods and services acquired by UCSC each year represents only a small percentage of the amount spent by the UC system. Therefore, early in the planning for P200 we considered ways our 15-person team could contribute to UC procurement objectives beyond UCSC’s proportion of the system spend and decided that the campus can play a special role. Having a smaller procurement team means we can rapidly develop expertise in new procurement technologies, shift work to participate in pilot programs such as the UC Facilities and Maintenance Center of Excellence and, without hesitation, abandon outmoded local processes for the early adoption of emerging best practices. Just as small research labs are often best positioned to make breakthrough discoveries, the UCSC procurement team views its size as an advantage.
This month Procurement Services implemented operational measures to reduce gatekeeper aspects of the work done by transactional staff. The changes are designed to better leverage the deep procurement knowledge and experience of our team as well as utilize all available contracting tools and sourcing methodologies on behalf of our clients. At the same time, these changes will increase the department’s contribution to systemwide strategic sourcing objectives and campus sustainability through environmentally preferable purchasing programs. With the operational aspects of the procurement department realignment in place, our energy now shifts to delivering the associated benefits.
In addition to our work on the P200 program, Procurement Services’ current strategic priorities include the UCSC business division’s focus on simplification as a value. A procurement workgroup recently expressed this concept by partnering to replace a burdensome one-off business process for ordering and settling temporary staffing requirements with the same standard e-procurement system workflow for ordering other service categories. The solution -making it easier for departments to identify the suppliers providing best value in the form of reduced cost and administration- demonstrates the synergy between process simplification and the UC procurement definition of Benefit.
UC Santa Cruz has always been an institution willing to experiment and operate outside norms. True to that culture, Procurement Services will continue to look for ways to reinvent procurement roles, tweak processes and otherwise challenge convention to improve service delivery and engagement with our campus clients and UC procurement colleagues.
Director, UC Santa Cruz Procurement Services