Procurement Modernization

Procurement is an area that impacts a significant number of faculty, staff and students across the entire university given the size of UBC’s annual spend on goods and services.

Current state procurement processes at UBC are generally manual, time-consuming and supported by outdated systems and there is a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and effectiveness to better meet the needs of all stakeholders.

In comparison, most of the large Canadian universities have already implemented leading practice processes and solutions for procurement. To address current issues and catch up with leading practices, UBC is embarking on a project to modernize procurement.

What is the future vision?

The vision for procure-to-pay at UBC is to have automated, seamless, efficient and effective processes, shifting the focus to providing strategic and value added procurement services across the university.

Key principles to guide the future state of procurement at UBC include:

  • Simple, transparent, and easy to use processes and systems
  • Standardized processes as the norm with governance around exceptions
  • Automated and streamlined procurement processes while balancing risk
  • Increased focus on customer service
What has been done so far?

In summer 2016, an initial review phase was completed to understand current state activities and identify challenges. Following the review, quick win opportunities were also implemented, for example turn-around time for completed POs were reduced and UBC standard payment terms were reduced from 45 to 30 days.

This past spring (February – May 2017), we kicked off Phase 1 to improve end-to-end processes and develop a strategy for system implementation. With the help of faculty and staff stakeholders across the UBC community, we had four work streams focused on:

  • Lean Process Improvement: Deep-dive reviews of procurement processes to identify opportunities for standardization and improvement
  • Procurement IT Strategy: Development of a strategy to recommend options to automate and simplify P2P processes, including how or if procurement technologies should fit within the existing HR Finance Renewal Project
  • Online Payment Tool (OPT) Review: Identification and prioritization of OPT improvement opportunities, in consideration of the overall Procurement IT Strategy
  • Strategic Sourcing: Reviews of UBC spend to identify strategic sourcing opportunities, keeping in mind the uniqueness of some areas of spending (e.g. research)
What is happening next?

Phase 2 (June - December 2017) is focused on putting a prioritized selection of Phase 1 recommendations into action. Key activities for Phase 2 will include:

  • Lean Process Improvement: Implement prioritized Lean process improvement recommendations, including development of refreshed process documentation (e.g. policies, procedures, etc.) and training and communications materials to support people through the future state changes
  • Procurement IT Strategy: Engage UBC community stakeholders to gather functional requirements for Procure to Pay and Travel Expenses as input to selecting a future solution
  • Online Payment Tool (OPT): Implement improvement opportunities and roll out OPT to additional faculties and departments where appropriate
  • Strategic Sourcing: Begin our strategic sourcing journey in collaboration with UBC stakeholders, to develop execution plans to support communication and implementation of new contracts
  • Service Delivery Model: Begin to design, build and implement an integrated Procurement and Payables organization to meet end users' needs and streamline and improve service delivery
What is the timeline for this?

The goal is to implement the process, organizational and/or system recommendations developed in Phase 1 from June 2017 to 2018. The graphic below provides an overview of the Procurement Modernization timeline.

How does this relate to the HR Finance project?

The HR Finance Renewal Program is taking a broad lens – replacing both Finance (FMS) and HR (HRMS) systems, decommissioning standalone systems and introducing standardized processes based on industry best practices among others.

The scope of Procurement Modernization includes end-to-end P2P (including credit card), Supply Management, Strategic Sourcing and Travel and Expense. The project is focused on procurement processes, service delivery model (how we best structure ourselves to meet the needs of faculty and staff), strategic sourcing (how we can leverage our buying power to deliver overall value) and identification and implementation of supporting technology systems.

The HR Finance Renewal Program and Procurement Modernization project are closely integrated from a project planning and change management perspective, to ensure a coordinated approach to engaging campus stakeholders.


For more information, please contact:

Trish Pekeles
Executive Director, Financial Operations

Patrick Kavanagh
Procurement Modernization Project Manager