You may have recently heard the “buzz” that procurement at Wake Forest will transition in the coming months to an electronic procurement environment, with the addition of an e-Procurement capability. This transformational initiative is a campus-wide effort; a project team of users representing both academic and administrative areas has been formed to help build the WFU-specific environment. Also, a key group of departments have volunteered to be the phase one group to go live with the new environment in early September 2011. This new capability will be an online, hosted solution, and Finance Systems, Financial and Accounting Services, Information Systems, and Procurement Services are working together with the solution provider to get the application up and running from a strategic and technical standpoint. This new WFU e-procurement capability has been branded Deacon Depot.
What is e-Procurement?
e-Procurement is user friendly, on-demand method of procuring goods and services. This method automates the entire process of purchasing goods and services, from selecting items to creating a Purchase Order to receiving an invoice. Deacon Depot is a web-based shopping experience, much like Amazon and other similar online shopping sites. Once Deacon Depot is live, users from across campus will be able to log in and shop for goods and services at any time. Additionally, they will be able to place their orders and have them approved up front.
How will Deacon Depot Benefit My Department?
Offering an e-Procurement capability will provide many benefits to departments and users across campus:
- Better customer service through the use of an online, hosted provider
- Expanded use of contracted suppliers and improved price negotiation ability
- More efficient, streamlined, paperless procurement process, from requisitioning to receiving and invoicing
- Improved availability and utilization of sustainable and diverse suppliers
- Better decision making ability through more accurate, timely, and beneficial reporting
- Support of the current decentralized procurement environment while providing and utilizing a centralized, managed system
When will I be able to utilize Deacon Depot?
The project team decided that to achieve the greatest success, a phased approach to implementation was best for Wake Forest. Based on this approach, we expect that all departments will be fully operational within 18 months. The departments who volunteered to be a part of the phase one group in September include:
- Athletics: Maintenance and Turf
- Information Systems
- Schools of Business: Administration
- School of Divinity
The full rollout schedule will be completed in the coming weeks; however, a phase two group of departments will be decided upon soon, and is expected to be phased in during the Fall and/or Winter of FY12. If your department cannot wait to be part of the excitement, please complete our contact us page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your department name, contact name, phone number, and email address.
The goal of this initial article has been to introduce the campus community to the idea of e-Procurement and the overarching benefits to the University. Throughout the implementation process, we will provide further articles for Inside WFU, which will delve more deeply into many of these benefits, as well as the improvements to how we do business now and once Deacon Depot is implemented. We will also share lessons learned from other institutions that have implemented this same tool.