In 2002, Gordon Harrison took over as director of supply management for Iona University, a small private university in Des Moines, Iowa. Upon his arrival, he discovered that the staff was spending too much time processing requisitions for office supplies. Consequently, he wanted to develop methods of increasing the effectiveness and the efficiency of handling the acquisition of office supplies for the university. The University
Iona University offers both liberal arts education and professional and pre-professional programs. The university’s 120-acre campus is a self-contained community just outside Des Moines. The population of the university includes approximately 8,000 students and about 400 full-time faculty and staff representing over 50 different academic and administrative departments.
The Supply Department
Mr. Harrison directed the supply department. His primary responsibility was to manage the supply of materials requested by all university departments. Mr. Harrison’s current supply staff consisted of himself and his secretary who assisted him in the daily supply activities. This involved the processing of approximately 1,000 requisitions and 3,500 invoices per month for over 500 suppliers. Mailroom personnel also reported to him, and were responsible for maintaining the office supply store, which carried over $13,000 of office supply items in inventory.
Office Supplies and Requisitions
Mr. Harrison’s research covering a 12-month period of the school’s supply management activity revealed that $57,000 was spent for office supplies—and that the requisitioning, invoicing, and related check issuing frequency for these purchases was uneconomical. Mr. Harrison discovered that much of the time spent maintaining the office supply store involved mailroom personnel. Their daily responsibilities included putting away items received, filling campus orders, and pricing each item for accounting. Since most standard items were held in inventory, supplies...
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