Right to the Source: VPF Strategic Sourcing and Contracts - Part One

Publication Date

This is the first of a four-part series highlighting collaborations between the VPF Strategic Sourcing and Contracts team and members of the MIT community. The Strategic Sourcing and Contracts teams proactively address MIT’s complex purchasing needs by sourcing products and services for a wide range of education and research needs, developing and negotiating contracts, and finding solutions to complex problems. 
Part One: Keeping contracts on track for the Koch Institute and IMES 
Right to the SourceMIT is an intense place. Researchers in labs across campus find themselves at the forefront of innovations that can help solve some of the world’s most urgent problems. That urgency is particularly high at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science(IMES), as they race to solve many of today’s greatest medical challenges.
Lian-Ee Ch’ng is a lab manager at Koch Institute and IMES, where purchasing laboratory equipment, supplies, and materials is a significant part of her job. She handles the procurement of everything from standard lab equipment to more specialized items such as peptides and stem cells. If there is an issue placing an order with a supplier, it can have a serious impact on budgets, schedules, and the research itself.
Lian-Ee recently learned firsthand that when a purchase goes awry, the VPF Contracts team is there to help. When she approached an established supplier with a new purchase order, she was surprised to learn that the supplier had been acquired by another company. The new parent company had made changes to the contract with MIT without going through proper channels. “This was really complicated because there were a lot of clauses in the contract,” she said. “I immediately approached the VPF Contracts team, and they determined that the contract had become untenable.”
Lian-Ee worked closely with VPF contracts administrator Brion McAlarney to resolve the issues promptly. She was then able to ensure the lab had the materials it needed without interrupting ongoing research.
Lian-Ee found that VPF Contracts served as a collaborative, communicative partner. “Getting to know the people in VPF has helped me to move forward in my job. They’ve come through time and time again, and I really appreciate it,” she said. “Going through VPF was a direct link. I didn’t have to be in the middle of it all, as they told me exactly what was going on—that was extremely helpful.”
Learn more about everything VPF Strategic Sourcing and Contracts can offer you. And discover how you can save time, money, and effort by working proactively with VPF on your next project.

Photo credit: Ken Richardson