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'Smart Buy' web site launched

The MIT Procurement Department this month launched its Smart Buy Purchasing Initiative web site, which can help members of the MIT community order printing and shipping services.

The Smart Buy Purchasing Initiative was undertaken to help MIT use its bulk purchasing power to save money, according to Diane Shea, procurement director and key sponsor of the Purchasing Initiative. Starting in fall 2004, teams of staff members from across the Institute worked together to research the community's needs and evaluate vendors in order to get MIT the best service at the best prices.

The Purchasing Initiative print team analyzed Institute print buying trends, interviewed staff at MIT and at peer institutions, and evaluated 240 Boston-area printers, many already serving the Institute. The team analyzed and compared operations and evaluated customer service. They also looked at each printer's ability to deliver the highest quality products reliably and economically, says Minerva Tirado of the Publishing Services Bureau, who led the print team.

In the end, the team came up with a list of 11 preferred printers representing a broad array of capabilities. The Smart Buy Purchasing Initiative site provides a profile of each, as well as a toolkit of resources and links for guiding a print project through completion.

Another team of MIT employees spent eight months evaluating express shipping vendors. Among the criteria considered were service and support, expertise, pricing, technological capabilities, reliability and infrastructure. The chosen shippers are DHL and Skycom Courier.

Other frequently purchased products, like catering services, office furniture, copiers and office printers are expected to be available through this program in the coming months.

For more information, visit the Smart Buy Purchasing Initiative web site at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 15, 2006 (download PDF).

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