Scott Pedersen ’89 used to spend anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes processing a single request for supplies from one of Cornell’s maintenance staff. For each item – say a roll of duct tape – Pedersen had to scroll through several vendors’ websites to find the item and then create multiple online “shopping carts” in e-SHOP. He would repeat this process throughout the day, searching vendors’ websites for up to 50 items per order.
He and his three colleagues could never keep up. “It was impossible. It was painstaking, it was slow, and it was obviously a waste of paper,” Pedersen said, referring to the triplicate forms that needed processing.
Developed over the past year, a new feature of e-SHOP allows a vendor to fill the order and create an online shopping cart, so buyers spend much less time processing each order.
“Now we’re less backlogged,” said Pedersen, who is an electrician foreperson in Infrastructure, Properties and Planning. Pedersen and other buyers across campus worked with Cornell Procurement Services and key suppliers to create the feature.
This is the type of streamlining that Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett called for in one of her first decisions as president. In August, Garrett sent a memo to all faculty and staff asking them to assess how they can make Cornell a more effective, efficient institution. The goal is to weed out unnecessary regulation, duplicative structures and burdensome paperwork. Garrett has asked the leaders of the central administration and colleges to submit to her by Dec. 15 a detailed plan to reduce administrative costs and increase efficiency.
“The procurement team is happy to partner with staff to find creative ways to streamline day-to-day activities. If we all contribute our ideas on how to make the university run more efficiently, Cornell will become a more effective institution,” said Tom Romantic, senior director of Cornell Procurement.
The e-SHOP feature has been rolled out to other Infrastructure, Properties and Planning suppliers and buyers. Pedersen and his colleagues have now processed thousands of orders using this time-saving method.
It not only saves Pedersen and his co-workers time and effort but also benefits other areas of the university, Pedersen said. “I’m able to put more orders in each day, which means the tradesperson is going to receive their materials quicker, which means you’re going to have a higher level of customer satisfaction. It’s a trickle-down effect.”
Currently 33 e-SHOP suppliers are providing customized quotations with the vendor cart feature, and more than 500 e-SHOP users have benefited from this innovative approach to procurement.
Pedersen encourages faculty and staff to participate in the streamlining effort. “Submit whatever idea you might have, regardless of how effective you might think it is, because it really could be used to benefit the university.”