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Current state procurement processes at UBC are generally manual, time-consuming and supported by outdated systems and there is a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and effectiveness to better meet the needs of all stakeholders.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.
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
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 UBC, we had four work streams focused on:
- Lean Process Improvement: Deep-dive reviews of procurement processes to identify opportunities for standardization and improvement
- Procurement Systems Strategy: Development of a technology strategy to recommend options to automate and simplify P2P processes.
- Online Payment Tool (OPT) Review: Identification and prioritization of OPT improvement opportunities, in consideration of the overall Procurement Systems Strategy
- Strategic Sourcing: Analysis of UBC spend to identify strategic sourcing opportunities to leverage spend and to deliver quality, service and savings, while keeping in mind the uniqueness of some areas of expenditure (e.g. research)
Phase 2 (June - December 2017+) is focused on prioritizing and implementing Phase 1 recommendations. Key activities for Phase 2 include:
- Lean Process Improvement: Implement prioritized Lean 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
- Procurement System Strategy: Engage UBC community stakeholders to gather functional requirements for Procure to Pay and Travel Expenses as input to selecting a future solution, in alignment with the Integrated Program vision and approach
- Online Payment Tool (OPT): Implement improvement opportunities to enhance user experience and roll out OPT to additional faculties and departments where appropriate
- Strategic Sourcing: In collaboration with UBC stakeholders, begin our strategic sourcing journey with initial categories of focus including; Materials, Repairs and Operations, Credit Card and Fleet
- 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
In June 2017 we started our work to implement process and organizational recommendations. For our longer-term timelines related to Procurement systems, we are working in alignment with the Integrated Program (Student/HR/Finance) to select and implement a new solution. The graphic below provides a high-level overview of the Procurement Modernization timeline.
UBC is embarking on a multi-year journey to transform our Student, HR and Finance system environments. The Integrated Program unites previously independent renewal programs, formerly known as Student Academic System Initiative (SASI), Procurement Modernization, and HR Finance Renewal Program. The Integrated Program is now aligned and proceeding with pre-implementation planning for Student, Finance (including Procurement) and Human Resources.
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