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MIT to seek proposals for simplified buying

In an attempt to reduce costs and simplify the buying processes at the Institute, the Reengineering Supplier Consolidation Team will seek proposals from several major manufacturers/distributors of scientific supplies.

After studying business practices and trends and conducting interviews and focus groups both within MIT and outside, the team recommended investigating possible benefits of new ways of procuring such commodities.

"Improved inventory control and distribution systems, for example, suggest that consolidating the supplier base could produce significant savings for MIT," said Diane Devlin, team captain. The decision to seek proposals is supported by the Reengineering Steering Committee, said William R. Dickson, senior vice president, who heads the Institute-wide effort.

Requests for proposals are about to be issued, Ms. Devlin said. After analyzing the proposals, the team will make further recommendations in April.

If the proposals suggest benefits from becoming partners with major suppliers, MIT's need to maintain in-house inventories and distribution systems would be minimized.

A recommendation to consolidate suppliers would result in reductions in force in the Office of Laboratory Supplies and, over time, in the General Purchasing Office both of which have carried out MIT procurement and distribution of supplies for many years.

Forms savings to be realized

New improved requisition forms are appearing on the campus. The improvement? There's no yellow copy.

"After someone asked `who uses the yellow copies?' we did a small survey and couldn't find a good use for them," said Barry Rowe, director of purchasing and stores. "So we decided to eliminate them."

The dollar saving is insignificant, Mr. Rowe said, but it is a reduction of 100,000 pieces of paper per year. That's 20 reams not used, filed or thrown away.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 8, 1995.

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