In an effort to reflect the range of proactive, customer-oriented services it provides to the University of Florida community, UF Purchasing has changed its name to UF Procurement Services. The name-change better represents the unit’s evaluative and strategic services—including market research, vendor solicitation, competitive and strategic sourcing, contract negotiation, compliance and cost-reducing solutions—as well as its traditional purchasing services.
In 2015, UF Procurement Services saved the university nearly $3.5 million through a combination of buyer savings, solicitations and negotiations. The office has received a number of national awards and honors including, most recently, the 2015 National Procurement Institute’s Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award.
“The rebranding of our office really represents a shift from being perceived as tactical to strategic,” said Lisa Deal, director of Procurement Services. “We want campus to understand that our office’s professionals provide a wide range of expertise and look forward to partnering with departments and units early in the process to find creative recommendations and cost-effective solutions that support their needs.”
Deal, who serves as president of the National Association of Educational Procurement, also noted that the change reflects a national trend toward this more inclusive descriptor.
Departments throughout campus attest to the value UF Procurement has added to their organization. According to Kelly Sharp, administration and finance director for the McKnight Brain Institute, the office has helped the institute source everything “from staplers to high-end research instrumentation.”
“UF Procurement has assisted the McKnight Brain Institute on many occasions to source the products and services we need at favorable prices, negotiate contracts and agreements, and manage vendor relations,” said Sharp.
When UF online terminated an agreement and needed to identify a different supplier to assist with marketing quickly, UF Procurement was instrumental in recommending the best pathway.
“With UF Procurement’s knowledge and insight we were able to move swiftly and appropriately to request quotes from existing university contracts and ultimately procure new services in a timely way,” said Evangeline Cummings, assistant provost and director of UF Online. “Not only did Lisa bring invaluable knowledge of existing mechanisms available for us to evaluate, but she also provided unique insights and advice along each step of the way as we pursued those mechanisms and even as we finalized terms.”
Nicole Yucht, assistant vice president of UF Communications, also experienced the high level of attention to the customer’s needs when her office needed assistance identifying a consultant.
“I was prepared for a long and arduous series of emails and phone calls to explain and justify the process we used to select a consultant for a project in University Relations,” Yucht said. “The fact that I needed resolution during the holidays made me dread the discussions even more, but Lisa and Cheri [Spitzer] were fantastic to work with. They were quick to respond and very helpful. I felt like I was their only customer, and I really appreciated the high level of service I received.”
For assistance with your department’s procurement needs, please contact UF Procurement Services at (352) 392-1331.