Procurement Modernization

Simplifying the way UBC buys and pays for goods and services.

To address current issues and catch up with leading practices, UBC has embarked on a project to modernize procurement. The project began in the fall of 2016. It is led by Financial Operations in collaboration with faculties and administrative units across the University.

Recent Changes

As part of the Procurement Modernization project, Financial Operations has collaborated with faculty and administrative unit representatives from across the University to design and implement changes to improve procurement processes, guidelines and procedures, including:

  • Reduced multiple paper-based purchase requisition forms to one electronic form with online approval
  • Reduced backlogs and implemented process improvements to reduce turnaround times by more than 50%
  • Enhanced Reference Guide for Services, including a streamlined HR Fast Track Assessment (Employee vs. Contractor)
  • Enhanced Online Payment Tool (OPT) performance, usability, training and support for Travel & Expense
  • Implemented Auto PO close and changed the limit required for competitive tender from $50k to $75k
  • Implemented a new vendor website to provide information on doing business with UBC

For more information on each of the improvements, including what’s changing, why, and what you need to do differently, please refer to the Fact Sheet.

Supply Management & Financial Operations Reorganization

To align with the Procurement Modernization project, and to improve customer service and enhance value, our Supply Management and Financial Operations department has been reorganized. Reporting to Shelly Morrison, Director, Supply Management and Financial Operations, the department now consists of four teams and a newly created role of Strategic Project Lead. The four teams are: Accounts Payable, Customer Support, Procurement Services and Strategic Sourcing.

For more information on this reorganization, including the new organization chart, the benefits, roles and objectives of each team, go to: Supply Management & Financial Operations Realignment.

If you have any questions email

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is UBC undertaking this project?

UBC is undertaking this project because:

  • Procurement impacts a significant number of faculty, staff and students across the university;
  • Current state procurement processes at UBC are generally manual, time-consuming and supported by out-dated systems;
  • Most of the large Canadian universities have already implemented leading practice processes and solutions for procurement; and
  • UBC has an opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of procurement to better meet the needs of all stakeholders.
  • As the university prepares for the implementation of Workday in the next two years, Financial Operations is also laying an important foundation by streamlining and automating processes wherever possible.   
What is the future vision?

The vision for procure-to-pay at UBC is to make it easier to buy and pay for goods and services for faculty and staff while shifting the focus to provide strategic and value added procurement services across the university.

What are the project's focus areas?

The project is focused on:

Harmonize processes across UBC, reduce paperwork, and improve turnaround times for requisitions, purchase orders and invoices

Create a positive experience for faculty and staff by providing additional assistance with sourcing vendors, evaluating quotations and making strategic buying decisions

Improve usability and performance of the Online Payment Tool (OPT) while UBC prepares for Workday and point solutions as replacements for current technologies

Establish preferred vendors and contracts to make buying easier and quicker, and effectively leverage UBC's buying power

What has been done so far?


An initial review was completed to understand how procurement functions across the University and identify challenges. Following the review quick win opportunities were implemented, for example turn-around times for issuing purchase orders were improved and UBC standard payments terms were reduced from 45 to 30 days.


With the help of faculty and staff across UBC, the project focused on identifying opportunities and making recommendations. The project:

  • Identified strategic sourcing opportunities to leverage UBC's spend and deliver quality, service and savings, while keeping in mind the uniqueness of some areas of expenditure (e.g. research) by conducting a high-level spend analysis.
  • Identified opportunities to standardize and improve current procurement processes by performing deep-dive reviews using Lean methodology.
  • Developed a technology strategy to recommend options to automate and simplify procurement processes, including identification and prioritization of OPT enhancements.
What is happening now?


The project is focused on prioritizing and implementing the identified opportunities and recommendations, including:

  • Implementing prioritized process improvement recommendations, including development of refreshed process documentation (e.g. guidelines, procedures, etc.) and training and communications materials to support people through the future state changes.
  • Working in alignment with the Integrated Renewal Program to prepare for Workday, including future Procure to Pay and Travel & Expense functionality
  • Working with Faculty and Administrative Units to pilot a Service Delivery Model (SDM) to deliver procurement services (Procure, RFP and Pay) more easily to customers and clients.
  • Implementing OPT enhancements to improve system performance and user experience, and rolling out OPT to additional faculties and departments.
  • Beginning 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 Procurement Service Delivery Model initiative?

What is a Service Delivery Model?

A Service Delivery Model (SDM) is the organizational structure and process used to deliver procurement and payment services to the university. The Procurement Modernization project is redesigning our current SDM to make it easier and simpler for UBC faculty and staff to buy and pay for goods and services.

Why are we changing our Service Delivery Model?

The main goal of the new SDM is to improve service delivery and prepare those involved in finance across the university to transition to the new Workday system. The proposed model will deliver benefits for UBC.

What are the benefits of the new Service Delivery Model?

Over the past year, we have been working closely with Finance Leads across the organization to design a Service Delivery Model (SDM) that met common goals and considered Faculty and Administrative Unit needs.

  1. Upfront support: Introduce Buyer roles located within the Faculties and Admin Units to provide more upfront support in the buying process.
  2. Partner focus: Have a dedicated Procurement Partner in the Faculties and Admin Units to oversee service delivery and resolve issues.
  3. Increase productivity: Provide consistent and efficient service through the consolidation of Accounts Payable (AP) processes, with a focus on further improving service and turnaround times.
  4. Effective controls: Implement effective policies and procedures with internal controls to reduce risk exposure.
  5. Prepare for new technology & related processes: Create the structure to support the implementation of Workday. 
Relation to the Integrated Renewal Program

UBC is embarking on a multi-year journey to transform our Student, HR and Finance system environments. The Integrated Renewal Program unites previously independent renewal programs, formerly known as Student Academic System Initiative (SASI), Procurement Modernization, and HR Finance Renewal Program. The Program is now aligned and proceeding with the planning and architect phases for Workday across Student, Finance (including Procurement) and Human Resources.

As it will likely be 2020 onwards before the new Workday system is in place, there is an opportunity to improve and simplify processes in the interim. The improved and standardized processes implemented by Procurement Modernization will provide an important foundation for the future system and will help support a smooth transition to Workday and other new point solutions.

Who can I contact for more information?

For more information, please contact:

Trish Pekeles
Executive Director, Financial Operations

Shaun Malough
Project Manager, Procurement Modernization