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July 22, 2011: Message from the Operational Excellence Steering Committee on Strategic Sourcing Initiative

We want to take this opportunity to update the campus community on recommendations emerging from Project 50 Forward - Operational Excellence. Stony Brook has seen cuts to its base budget exceeding $75M over the last few years and the recent optimistic news coming out of Albany will not restore this funding. Over the last year, Project 50 Forward - Operational Excellence has been identifying ways for Stony Brook to be more efficient while preserving the core missions of the University. One of the key focus areas has been the procurement of goods and services, an area where we can take steps to reduce our expenditures by up to $10-14M annually without impacting the University's core missions.

Since February, a group of key stakeholders has been meeting weekly as part of the Procurement Strategic Sourcing initiative team. At the direction of the Steering Committee, this team was asked to identify an aggressive and comprehensive set of savings opportunities across funding sources. The team has developed a preliminary list that will continue to grow and now includes:

  • Standardizing and limiting the catalog for office supplies
  • Standardizing to networked printers and multi-functional devices
  • Developing furniture standards
  • Examining opportunities to save on lab supplies and equipment

Campus wide standards that apply to every department regardless of funding level will drive savings for all. The team will also work to develop a range of smaller spend control policies in areas like travel and cell phones. Each specific policy will be developed in consultation with key customers of those goods and services the policy would affect, and then be presented to the Steering Committee for approval. Purchases that utilize direct research funding will continue to be provided greater flexibility.

Achieving these and other similar actions over the next three years could enable the realization of up to $10-14M of savings across procurement and utilities. This process will evaluate all expenditures on an ongoing basis to identify opportunities to continue to save. Over the coming months, Procurement will develop the necessary forms, processes, and exception policies to accommodate changes in the first few categories to be addressed. For those categories that will have standards implemented in the near future (e.g. printers and copiers), Procurement will begin to employ restrictions on purchases (e.g. encouraging the campus to delay purchases where possible or regulating the models and contract terms where necessary) to ensure that we optimize our investments in equipment and contracts.

These recommendations will help reduce the impact of the budget climate on our core missions and allow the University to reinvest in crucial areas. It is our hope that in the future, through a new procurement system, pre-selected catalogs of items will save the campus time as well as money. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as pursue out this initiative.

The Project 50 Forward Operational Excellence Steering Committee

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