A team of professional buyers, the VPF Procurement Operations staff brings its considerable commodity and buying expertise to bear on this complex process, which often requires knowledge of sponsor requirements, safety regulations, and special considerations for large-ticket items or new technologies.
VPF receives and reviews 250-300 purchase requisitions per day. Depending on the type of purchase, one of three VPF teams—Procurement Operations, Strategic Sourcing, or Contracts—handles the process. They take on this high volume of work by commodity specialty, as individual team members are trained in specific areas from creative services to lab supplies. Team members are also cross-trained so they can fill in for one another and broaden their areas of expertise.
As VPF completes the transition to the new Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system, many small-dollar purchases are now automatically submitted to the supplier electronically. This enables the buying team to focus on more complex purchasing activities. The new B2P system provides more visibility into the buying process, enabling DLCs and VPF buyers to follow a purchase through every stage of the transaction, as well as provide better metrics for reporting.
Procurement Operations works closely with Research Administration Services (RAS) in the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR) to help DLCs stay compliant with sponsor requirements. They help facilitate the purchase of lab chemicals and sensitive materials with MIT Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), ensuring all hazardous materials are purchased under safety guidelines.
As technologies change, the buying team keeps up on technical and safety requirements and regulations. They stay informed about changes within companies and industries, and can direct DLCs to alternative companies if a supplier goes out of business, is debarred, or is not meeting guidelines for safety, security, or other critical concerns.