A new purchasing tool being introduced on campus will make buying goods and services much like shopping on Amazon, while also saving the University money. Called Falcon’s Purch, the new system removes the procurement component from the Financial Management Solution (FMS) system and will be much simpler to use, says Andy Grant, director of business operations.
“The new system simplifies and expedites purchasing and is more efficient and effective,” Grant said. “It will feel like making a purchase on Amazon, which is more familiar to most people than using the FMS system. Falcon’s Purch uses point-and-click technology and is very user-friendly.”
Training, which takes only about an hour, begins this month in Hayes Hall. As soon as employees are trained, they may begin using the new system. Users will log into Falcon’s Purch through the MyBGSU portal.
With Falcon’s Purch, “everybody is a shopper,” Grant said. The purchase-approval process will stay much the same as the current FMS structure but features several improvements to the business process. For example, the appropriate area budget administrators will need to approve requests ahead of time rather than after the fact.
So far, feedback on the new system has been positive. “Kudos to those in charge” for working the “bugs” out of the system before its going live, said Faith Olson, a fiscal officer for the College of Education and Human Development who participated in the pilot group. “The monetary savings . . . and the ability to shop, approve and track purchases in the system from computers anywhere in the world are huge pluses. The step-by-step processes for shopping, requesting and approving have been refined and will become second nature,” she said.
One of the best aspects of the new system is there will be no need for the “P-card” reconciliation process at the end of the month for those transactions that flow through Falcon’s Purch, Grant said.
Part of a statewide initiative, Falcon’s Purch teams BGSU with about half of the other Inter-University Council (IUC) members. It is estimated to save BGSU an estimated four and a half million dollars over the next five years, “with more savings down the road,” Grant said. Additional IUC institutions may join, which will further boost buying power and leverage with suppliers.
As of today, 20 out of 40 of the most popular vendors are on Falcons Purch, offering everything from office to scientific supplies to maintenance and repair products to information technology products.
A multi-university procurement team has researched the best contracts, Grant said. He strongly encourages campus offices to use the vendors on the list, noting that while lower prices might occasionally be found elsewhere, there is greater value in the time spent focusing on core business.
“It’s a definite benefit to the daily work environment,” he said.