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Project Title:Aligning Strategic Sourcing with Strategic InitiativesInstitution Name:Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Innovation Category:Resource Management Project Director:Kimberly Auchenbach, C.P.M., Director of Strategic SourcingContact Information:(717) 720-4155, kauchenbach@passhe.eduWebsite:
Project Description:Given the variety of procurement consortiums available and limited staffing in procurement, PASSHE re-evaluated the mission of Strategic Sourcing. Through PASSHE-specific price negations, the leveraging of existing consortium type contracts has allowed staff to focus on providing the best quality, service and price for procurements, and which align with PASSHE’s strategic initiatives.  Typically, the focus of Strategic Sourcing is to gain volume savings from standard categories such as office supplies, computers, and janitorial supplies. However, PASSHE achieved better overall value through utilization of state and consortium contracts for those items and focusing resources on Higher Education specific procurements that contribute to the strategic direction.
  • One of the strategic initiatives is to transform Students and the Learning Environment. This includes employing technology to improve both online and classroom learning to meet the needs of faculty and students. 
  • Include diverse input to ensure that requirements and the overall selection process create an outcome that can satisfy various needs at multiple universities as measured by university satisfaction surveys.
  • Source a quality product while achieving overall system cost savings as measured by year over year comparison to include cost of implementation.  Success is also measured by on-schedule delivery of the product and corresponding training.
  • PASSHE utilized a multi-university, multi-functional team that included instructional designers, Academic/Distance Education representatives, Technology Officers, Faculty and students.  Using the Covey principle “begin with the end in mind”, the team discussed the type of functionality ultimately desired and produced requirements that were detailed and diverse, ensuring a quality result.  Although it was anticipated that there would again be a multi-award for each of the tools, the result was the selection of a single supplier for each tool. This consolidation resulted in an overall cost reduction of $2,752,833, or 64.4%, from FY 2009/10 to 2010/11. 
Challenges/Problems Encountered:Each university within the system has its own unique culture, therefore it is challenging to gain consensus on a single product.  However, by allowing their input throughout the process, stakeholders were able to see the cost benefit and value to the students by having a single solution.  The successful transition to new products required the cooperation of all three suppliers.  Leveraging the size of the whole system, PASSHE was able to encourage a partnership between D2L (Learning Management System), Learning Edge/Pearson (Learning Content Management System) and Perceptis (help desk support).
Evaluation Approach:Evaluation of success was determined by input from the stakeholders.  Although there were transitional issues, the LMS and help desk transition was completed on schedule and substantial cost savings were achieved.  Overall feedback on the use of the tools from the universities has been positive.  PASSHE is still in the process of fully implementing the LCMS solution.
Potential for Replication:When procurement utilizes templates and a consistent process it enables everyone to understand the process flow.  Achieving specific goals is difficult if expectations are always changing.  Employing a cross-functional, multi-university team to define requirements may require more time, but it ultimately produces a better result and stands a better chance of adoption by the campuses.  This approach aligns with state procurement laws, and further, and consistency and inclusion of varied evaluators reduces the risk of bid protest.
AASCU Resources:Public College and University Procurement: A Survey of the State Regulatory Environment, Institutional Procurement Practices, and Efforts Toward Cost Containment - April 2010
CEO-to-CEO Contact:John C. Cavanaugh , Chancellorjcavanaugh@passhe.edu
(717) 720-4010
Date Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011