Purchasing at the University of Chicago

Procurement has negotiated free shipping with GovConnection but this arrangement is contingent on the University placing a certain volume of orders through GovConnection every year.  You can browse GovConnection's inventory at their public web site http://www.govconnection.com but you will have to search for parts through the BuySite GovConnection punch-out to see pricing with our negotiated discount.

To encourage the use of GovConnection for IT purchases, Procurement plans to remove CDW-G from Buysite.  We've requested they reconsider this plan and they've agreed delay the removal until March 1st, 2014 while they evaluate how much order volume moves there without further encouragement.  Following CDW-G, Procurement plans to remove access to Tiger Direct and Provantage  from the non-catalog vendor list as well.  No date has been set for the second round of changes.

We have been assured that, regardless of changes to Buysite, we will never be barred from ordering equipment from any vendor we choose.  We will just need to use means other than Buysite to process orders to some vendors.  Procurement has offered suggestions for how to adjust to these changes.

GEMS.   One suggestion is that we should use a GEMS corporate credit card to make purchases to vendors that are not in the BuySite system.  There are some issues here that you need to be aware of.

  1. You must apply for a GEMS card if you do not already hold one.  That application must be approved by a signer on the account you intend to charge against.
  2. You can request an arbitrary credit limit when you apply, subject to approval of course.  You can not, however, charge more than $4999 to a GEMS card for a single purchase.
  3. You have to process expense reports for all of your GEMS charges through the GEMS website.

ePayment.  Another option is the ePayment system.  ePayment is replacing the old paper DPs [Form-62s], Travel expense, Travel Voucher, and Petty Cash forms that you may be familiar with.  There are pros and cons to using ePayment over Buysite for orders.

  1. ePayment is open to Benefit eligible Faculty and Staff without any prior application requirements.   Non-Benefit eligible Faculty and Staff must request access to the system.
  2. ePayment requires you to submit an invoice from the payee.  This could slow down order processing.
  3. ePayment does not require that the payee be pre-entered in the system so it's much easier to order from new vendors or to process payments for consultants.

Our negotiations with Procurement are on-going but as things stand, we expect they will begin moving some of our favorite vendors out of Buysite over the next few months.  We'll update this page as the situation evolves but we encourage you to familiarize yourself with ePayment now, and make your application for a GEMS card should you expect you'll need one.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly. 

Steven Bandyk, PSD Computing Manager