By: Mason Di Palma – News Editor
The University of Dayton is set to release a new eProcurement system that is projected to save the University six to nine million dollars in the first three to four years. The system is called Runway and Tom Madden the Associate Vice President for Financial Services said “This tool will allow us to provide outstanding service to the university.”
In an interview Tuesday, Madden explained that an eProcurement system will allow the university to get a better idea about the total spend on goods and services is. Maura Donahue from the office of the dean after a focus group, compares this system to Amazon and contains catalogs from the university’s suppliers. Runway will service all departments at the university and allow departments to strategically plan what vendors they are going to use.
Runway will simplify the process according to Madden, and he said that “We will be able to get significant visibility to what we are spending.” This simplification process involves how every transaction being done now, will be converted to electronic documents instead of paper documents that are curently used.
Mary Ann Ruthmeyer of Advancement Operations, in a Runway focus group video said that “It is going to automate a very manual process with automatic approvals, and I like how there is no paper.” Madden says that right now the system is all done on paper, which is not only unorganized but it is costing departments at the university more than they would like to spend.
This will limit purchasing card (Pcard) use, along with being organized. Madden said that the problem with Pcard’s is, that it allows people from all departments to essentially buy whatever they want, without the administrators being what item was actually purchased.
“It’s really about building long term relationships with our vendors,” said Madden when talking about the unorganized nature of campus spending currently. Madden spoke about negotiation, and how Runway strives to find the best deals for the univeristy, and uses an example of the number of florists the university uses.
Madden says that if we use 20 different florists, we are not maximizing our full potential in getting the best deal possible. He explains that if the university were to negotiate with one florist, that it would result in not only that supplier getting all of the university’s business, but would allow the univeristy to negotiate bigger discounts with that vendor. Donahue said, “If we are able to pay our invoices quicker than it will reduce the costs, because we will be receiving discounts from our suppliers.” Runway will strive to get all of the universities suppliers into the system, in order for departments to carry out their business of purchasing specific items while reducing the cost.
“It’s all about how we can be smarter with our money,” said Madden and he says that Runway is the solution to high payment costs with suppliers. The pilot for Runway was launched earlier last month and will remain in pilot mode up to the Nov. 14 launch date. While in pilot mode Madden says the entire Runway system is in the process of being trained, which he says is going smoothly.
With Runway set to launch Nov. 14 Madden said that his overall goal, is to help the university find the best possible ways to help faculty, staff and students leverage this tool to be successful. Madden along with the rest of the Runway team are very excited to see their program, which has been in development for about a year now be released and help the university take strides, towards improving financial management .