Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 10

FEATURE

Research and
Development RFP:
Procurement Assists
with Innovation
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by Kristin Floyd, MBA
University of Virginia

I

cringe when I hear the term "sole
source." That term eliminates
the majority of the influence I,
as procurement professional,
have in a transaction. Once
a vendor knows it is the sole
source, it also knows it has the upper
hand in negotiations. The sole source
justification takes time, and the process
involves individual negotiations that
are administratively burdensome,
time consuming-and they may not
always result in the best terms for the
university. The sole source process
is pretty common among public
universities. In 2015, I was spending
practically my entire day issuing solesource purchase orders. These were
mostly associated with research, and
many research commodities are highly
specialized. I knew the procurement
role could add more to the process;

10

I felt there had to be a better way to
leverage my value and facilitate the
research activities I wanted to support.
In April 2016, at the University of
Virginia, I took on the challenge of
helping Procurement and Supplier
Diversity Services (PSDS) increase
research activity and improve
purchasing effectiveness. My goals
were to: (1) streamline the research
contracting process, (2) obtain the
best possible pricing, and (3) ensure
compliance with federal, state, and
university requirements. I knew that
we had an effective tool in the Request
for Proposal (RFP) process and
that world-class research requires
specialized, hard-to-procure supplies,
equipment, and services. We issued a
blanket RFP to negotiate, in advance,
optimal terms and conditions with
vendors for Research and Development
(R&D) goods and services. Rather
than handle each transaction at the
time of the order, PSDS leveraged
the RFP process, eliminating the
time-consuming effort of sole source
justifications, and it succeeded in
making quite a few researchers happy,
by reducing workloads.

The "Problem"
One of the main objectives at
the University of Virginia is to be
responsible for the integration and

EDUCATIONAL PROCUREMENT JOURNAL | SUMMER 2018

enhancement of research activities
across eleven schools and multiple
research centers. Prior to issuance of
the R&D RFP, principal investigators, lab
technicians, and professors (our "clients")
were typically procuring their needed
goods and services through two main
methods: use of the previous 20 supply
contracts negotiated by PSDS or through
sole source justifications.
To justify a sole source purchase
the clients had to complete paperwork
explaining in great detail why the goods
or service was necessary. The process
was especially cumbersome for the
client, as it often came after a lengthy
grant-seeking and grant-writing effort.
Procuring the resources necessary to
complete research was often the final
step before the research could begin,
and often, this additional paperwork
and approval process within PSDS was
viewed as an administrative burden.
It also represented an imaginary
roadblock-frustrating for both PSDS
and the client.
Fortunately, there was a commonality
between PSDS and its clients, even
though the expectations of both
parties were different. PSDS had
the expectation that the client would
select a good or service and seek
competitive quotes according to legal
procurement regulations. The client
had the expectation that the good or


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018

Professional Development Notes
NAEP President Nichol Luoma
Research and Development RFP: Procurement Assists with Innovation
Training, Testing, and Incentives
Annual Meeting Wrap-Up
Certification: Which One Are You?
Evolution or Revolution? Campus Cards: Time for a New Business Model
Book Review: Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time—Part Nine
Best and Final: Procurement: How the Torch Gets Passed
Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - intro
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover1
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover2
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 4
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 5
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Professional Development Notes
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 7
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - NAEP President Nichol Luoma
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 9
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Research and Development RFP: Procurement Assists with Innovation
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 11
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 12
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 13
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 14
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 15
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Training, Testing, and Incentives
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 17
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Annual Meeting Wrap-Up
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 19
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Certification: Which One Are You?
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 21
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Evolution or Revolution? Campus Cards: Time for a New Business Model
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 23
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 24
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Book Review: Building a Fund of Sustainability Knowledge, One Book at a Time—Part Nine
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 26
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 27
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Best and Final: Procurement: How the Torch Gets Passed
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - 29
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - Index to Advertisers
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - cover4
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert1
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert2
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert3
Educational Procurement Journal - Summer 2018 - outsert4
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0318
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0218
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0118
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0417
http://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/NEPQ/NEPQ0317
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