Emory Report

 October 27, 1997

 Volume 50, No. 10

Electronic processes will

streamline purchasing and paying

A new Emory MasterCard and an Intranet-based requisitioning and receiving process are being implemented on campus this fall. These two new processes are part of the re-engineering of the purchasing and payment processes and have been joint efforts of the purchasing and accounts payable departments. Rex Hardaway, director of procurement and materiel services, and Anita Moore, manager of accounts payable, estimate that 200-250 of Emory's 300 departments will adopt these new processes in the next year.

Purchasing and payment procedures in many departments will change, but no additional work will be required of departments. "This is not going to be more work-it's going to be different work," said Hardaway. "This move to electronic systems will make the processes easier, improve the cycle time on acquiring items, and move the purchasing process to the level where approvals naturally occur."

The Emory MasterCard will allow departments to make purchases up to $1,500. Currently purchases more than $500 require a purchase order. Hardaway sees the MasterCard as a solution to small-value orders that currently clog Emory's accounts payable system. "Sixty percent of Emory's purchases are less than $1,500," said Moore. Moore estimates that Emory's monthly check to MasterCard could replace some 8,000 checks currently being written each month for amounts less than $1,500.

"We also want to provide departments more direct transaction control," said Hardaway. Departments will be able to review card expenses online with the accompanying software, and vendors will be paid within 48 hours of the sale. This prompt payment of vendors will give Emory power to bargain with them for even deeper discounts. Initially, the MasterCard cannot be used for travel and entertainment expenses. Unauthorized charges can be disputed and credit will be applied instantly to accounts while a charge is in dispute.

"This is a department head-driven process," said Hardaway. "The purchasing department is not imposing this, and we've developed systems that will allow departments to reflect the diverse styles of management that exist at Emory. The control is built into the card as defined by department heads."

For offices wishing to obtain an Emory MasterCard:

1. Fill out the registration form on the Emory Purchasing Card web site at <http://epic.emory.edu/pcardreg.htm>. Mimimum computer system requirements required to operate the card's accompanying software program are a 486/ 66MHz PC or PowerMac.

2. The request will be reviewed by Alan Weinstein, purchasing card coordinator. He will then contact the director or department head of that area for permission to introduce the card.

3. Weinstein and Moore will go to the department, explain how to use the MasterCard and provide a card application to people whom the department head designates.

4. After the purchasing card coordinator receives the application, they will work with the department head to set credit limits for individual purchases and credit limits for the card. These will vary by department or by individuals in departments, depending upon job function.

5. The MasterCards will then be delivered by purchasing card coordinator. At that time purchasing will install the PARIS software package and train cardholders.

Electronic requisitioning
The second new process uses software that runs via Netscape. "We're simply taking the paperwork out of the purchasing process and putting in a tool that everyone has access to," said Hardaway. He said moving to a paperless purchasing environment is part of a long-term strategy to set the stage for electronic commerce at Emory once the Internet resolves security issues.

Departments wishing to sign up for electronic requisitioning and receiving should:

1. Go to the Emory Purchasing Information Center web site at <http://epic.emory.edu/epicinfo.htm>. Link to the online registration form, fill it out and submit it.

2. Call Pat Long, director of special projects in purchasing, at 727-6064 to sign up for a class. Classes are currently being held on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Room 111, Human Resources.

3. After departmental staff have been trained, the purchasing office will go to the department to set up the software, assign log-in IDs, establish the hierarchy of approval for electronic requisitions and define who can authorize requisitions at what levels.

4. Once those approvals are worked out, departments may begin submitting requisitions electronically that are routed to buyers in purchasing who complete the transaction. Departments will submit receiving reports as the final step in the process.

-Jan Gleason

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