An Update from the Procurement Initiative: Significant Savings on Office Supplies

officesupplies-1SMU Faculty and Staff,

Through Operational Excellence for the Second Century (OE2C), we have launched several initiatives to decrease SMU’s procurement costs and increase resources for our academic mission. As the first stage of this process, we announced in March that we identified and designed some “Quick Wins” to save up to $1 million per year, with significant savings coming specifically from office supplies beginning today.

Why Office Supplies?

Currently, 30% of the total amount SMU spends on office supplies is through higher-cost, non-preferred vendors whose products are sold at retail price. SMU can save significant amounts of money by purchasing these same items at discounted, contract prices through a preferred vendor.

Effective April 1, 2015, the following changes will be implemented:

• All office supplies, on all SMU campuses, must be purchased through Staples Advantage. Office supplies purchased elsewhere will not be reimbursed.

• All office supplies must be purchased by a designated “Authorized User” in each department/unit, not by individual procurement-card holders. Here’s the process for getting your supplies:

1.  Go to our customized SMU / Staples Advantage Browse Catalog. (Do not use
2.  The Staples Advantage link will allow you to “view and shop” the available items offered through Staples.
3.  Communicate your specific orders to your Authorized User by email or other process being used in your area (the process will be determined by your FO).

Your FO will contact you with more detailed information about this process. Meanwhile, if you have questions about purchasing office supplies for your area, contact your Finance Officer directly. If you have questions about identifying your Finance Officer or Authorized User, click here.

How to Select Items on The Staples Advantage Site

Items on Staples Advantage are separated into 4 categories:

CORE ITEMS – Core items have deeply discounted contract pricing. Please select core items as often as possible since they are the most cost effective.

NON-CORE ITEMS – These have discounted pricing that is 5% less than items on the site. Non-core items are an option if the product you need isn’t on the core list.

HARD-SUB ITEMS – Hard-sub items have substitutes that are automatically assigned. For example, a user trying to purchase Nestle bottled water will discover that because of the SMU/Coca-Cola Pouring Rights contract requirements, Nestle water is a hard-sub item and Dasani and Smart Water are the available substitutes. Hard-sub items cannot be purchased. In this example, Nestle bottled water cannot be purchased.

BLOCKED ITEMS – Blocked items cannot be purchased through Staples Advantage. The University has established other avenues for purchasing these items. You will see a pop-up message for blocked items with instructions on how these items should be purchased.

SMU has blocked the following items and they will not available for purchase through Staples Advantage:

• CASE PAPER (cases of paper for ONLY letter, 3-hole letter, legal & ledger sizes): Email with order details: size/type of paper, quantity, delivery location, org#.

• COMPUTERS & COMPUTER EQUIPMENT (Including Printers and Fax Machines): Please contact your departmental technology support personnel or financial officer for guidance or email for computer equipment requests.

• FURNITURE: For all non-construction-related furniture purchases contact Chanda Arnold at 8-4647 for recommendations.

• MEDICINE: Over-the-counter medications (i.e. Advil, Ibuprofen, etc.) are not allowed to be purchased through Staples Advantage or any other sources.

• PHONES & PHONE EQUIPMENT: Please call the OIT Help Desk at 8-HELP or email with any phone equipment requests.

• PRINTER INKS & TONER CARTRIDGES: Please follow the instructions on the tag on your printer by emailing with the following information for toner needs: contact name, printer model, printer location (building and room), org number to charge and tag number on the printer (if it exists)

Thank you for your continued support of the OE2C initiative. We know it is a challenging and complex undertaking, but one that will greatly strengthen the economic vitality of SMU, significantly support our academic mission and enhance our growing stature as an outstanding academic institution.


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By Nick Rallo