AUSTIN, Texas—A cost-reduction initiative by The University of Texas at Austin that will take advantage of its consolidated purchasing power and require every department to buy office supplies through the same source will go into effect this month.
Office Depot and Hurricane Office Supply will serve as the “supplies gateway” for the university as part of a campus-wide effort by a Task Force on Efficiency that is exploring opportunities to improve spending efficiency throughout university operations. University departments will be required to procure all office supplies through the Office Depot contract regardless of funding source.
Training classes, conducted by University Supply and Office Depot personnel, will be provided through TXClass beginning March 17. All university employees involved in procuring office supplies for their departments are urged to attend.
Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of the university, said one universal theme that emerged from the Task Force on Efficiency review is that the university has not taken full advantage of its consolidated purchasing power. Historically, the various departments on campus have purchased office supplies from a great variety of stores and other suppliers. He said the Task Force on Efficiency estimates this program could save the university more than $2.5 million annually while improving office supply delivery to university departments.
“Simply put, to the extent we can consolidate our spending and negotiate pricing for goods and services based on our aggregate spending, we will all benefit from lower pricing.” Faulkner said. “With this gateway, the university will begin using its consolidated purchasing power and each department will have access to substantial discounts on office supplies, 24-hour on-line ordering capability, and next-day delivery on most orders.”
Kevin Hegarty, vice president and chief financial officer for the university, said Hurricane Office Supply is a minority-owned Texas Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) that has partnered for this gateway project with Office Depot. Hurricane Office Supply will provide copy paper and remanufactured toner cartridges to Office Depot for resale to the university, ensuring that a substantial portion of the product acquired through this arrangement will qualify for HUB credit . The opportunity for campus offices to use remanufactured toner cartridges instead of new cartridges is expected to result in a significant cost savings to the university.
The “supplies gateway” will involve ordering supplies through the Office Depot Web site by logging in with an electronic identity (EID) from The University of Texas at Austin. University Supply and Central Receiving will deliver orders to the departments and the program will track and retain a history of the department’s office supply purchases. Up-to-date information will be posted to the University Supply Web site.
Advantages of the “supplies gateway” include:
- substantial discounts on office supplies, including many items at 60 percent off list prices;
- access to 15,000 office supply items;
- 24-hour on-line ordering capability;
- next-day delivery on most orders;
- on-line tracking and order history;
- contract prices at Office Depot retail stores nationwide using a university procurement card.
In preparing for transition to this new program, certain steps must be taken by Tuesday, March 11. Each purchasing or accounting contact or electronic office manager in *DEFINE should go to Web site address https://utdirect.utexas.edu/pointplus/office_depot_users.WBX to authorize departmental office supply purchases. Information required will be the employee’s EID, account number to be charged and delivery location.
All office supply purchasers must attend a TXClass—DE 23—training session to learn the procedure to order from the Office Depot Web site and departmental responsibilities for verifying charges, documenting receipt of materials and processing payments. More information is available on the TXClass Web site.
No orders can be processed until approved personnel are set up in this system. When the program becomes fully implemented, it will be necessary for all office supply procurements to be made through the Office Depot gateway. In addition, every department should now purchase all copy and recycled paper from the University Supply store in the West Mall Building. These items are restricted from the Office Depot Web site.
For the convenience of the university community, the supply store also will stock top-selling supplies needed on an urgent or same day basis, along with postage stamps, university forms and university specialty items. However, in order to pay for the cost of retaining the store, prices will be slightly higher than those obtained through the Office Depot gateway.
For more information contact: Kevin Hegarty, vice president and chief financial officer, 512-471-1422, or Robert D.Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.