Procurement: An FAQ on Water Purchases

I’ve seen a variety of water purchases on campus ranging from bottled water, filtered water and water coolers, sometimes in the same building. What is SMU’s policy on water purchases and is there a way to streamline our spending in this area?

Individual bottles of water should be purchased using University funds only for guests.  If individual bottles of water are purchased for guests, there are two guidelines: 1) per the University’s contract with Coca-Cola, the water must be Dasani or Smart Water brands and 2) the water must be purchased through an authorized source.  Please contact Cathy Heckman ( for sourcing assistance. 

Departments make their own arrangements for providing drinking water, including in-line plumbed machines and stand-alone coolers, depending on their needs. Any department that is interested in participating in a campus-wide effort to receive quality, filtered water at a reduced cost should contact Cathy Heckman at

 If you have ideas about how the University can generate additional cost savings, please send them to the Office of Operational Excellence via our online comment form. Comments and questions can be submitted completely anonymously and all submissions that include contact information are sent quick responses.


FAQ: Why do I sometimes see exterior lights on during the day?

In some instances, it is due to the Building Automation System work related to on-going Energy Projects and in other cases it may be a specific electrical issue.  Each case reported is investigated and resolved as quickly as possible as there are a number of reasons that could cause failure. The campus community is encouraged to report energy or water waste through submitting a service request at SMU Facilities or (214)768-7000.


How will the new specialty printer exclusive contracts help SMU save money?

After reviewing data that showed an opportunity for savings up to $700,000 annually in specialty printing, the Purchasing department conducted a competitive solicitation process for vendors to provide specialty print services to the University using an exclusive provider contract model.

Thirty-one (31) vendors were invited to participate with nineteen (19) responses received.  An evaluation committee representing academic and administrative areas reviewed the responses and selected eight (8) vendors to provide pricing on a market basket of common print jobs across campus.  Three (3) vendors were chosen and their submitted pricing indicates that SMU should save a minimum 30% on off-campus printing by employing the exclusive provider contracting model, though projections indicate that the savings could be as high as 50% of last year’s spending.

Effective September 1, 2016, the Specialty Printing exclusive providers are now mandatory sources for the main Dallas campus, SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos.  Examples of custom printing services subject to the exclusive contracts include:

 Perfect bound books




 Annual reports

• Flyers, postcards, self-mailers

 Folded carton packaging & presentation boxes

• Forms

• Invitations

• Announcement cards and envelopes


 Presentation & pocket folders

The Specialty Printing services exclusive providers are divided into two categories. 

1) Full-service printers offer complete pre-press capabilities, color correction, photo manipulation, customer file library and archiving, graphic design, direct mail services, on-line interfaces for inventory management and warehousing, wide format printing and other specialty printing services. SMU’s exclusive full-service printers are ColorDynamics  and Quad Williamson.

2) Print-ready printer offers low cost print solutions and works from ‘print ready’ PDF files with limited pre-press capabilities and file manipulation, and no design capabilities. SMU’s exclusive print-ready printer is Ennis Graphics.

Contact and ordering information for each of the providers can be found here: Specialty Printing Providers. Additional price quotes are not required when using these vendors. Although as a best practice, the Purchasing Department recommends requesting pricing from all three vendors during this initial start up to determine which vendor offers the best solution for a specific project. All exceptions to using these exclusive providers must be approved by Purchasing.

In addition to these new partners, the Purchasing Department encourages the use of SMU Copy Central for smaller and less complex projects.  SMU Copy Central offers an on-campus solution, online ordering capabilities, and quick turn-around.  Visit the website and bookmark the page

SMU Mail Central is also available to assist you with your direct and bulk mailing projects. Visit the website and bookmark the page to learn more about the services offered.

Specialty print projects originating from all SMU departments must follow these procedures, including those paid for by restricted funds. For additional information, please contact Cathy Heckman at or 214-768-2174.


Finance Shared Services FAQ: On Roles and Responsibilities

What are the differences in the roles & responsibilities of the Finance Shared Services Unit Liaisons, formerly Assistant Financial Officers, in relation to Academic Financial Officers? 

The Unit Liaison position is a temporary position to help facilitate transaction processing in the move to the Finance Shared Services model. The goal is to transition the finance transaction processing activities to a central team to allow the school/unit’s remaining finance staff to focus on the strategic needs of their respective school/unit.  Current Unit Liaisons will be transitioning to their permanent positions over the coming months.   

Each school is responsible for providing strategic and decision support for their area (typically performed by the incumbent FO), initiating transactions for their area, and providing any needed data for the Finance Shared Services area to appropriately process and record any transactions.  Examples of some of these activities are:

      School/unit forecasting & projections

      Annual budget process

      Annual merit process

      Monthly financial review

      Monthly budget monitoring

      Ad hoc modeling & analysis

      Specialized external reporting

      Contract administration

      Space utilization monitoring

The Finance Shared Services team is responsible for implementing new or modifying existing processes to transition transactional processing to the Finance Shared Services area.  This includes the items listed below in addition to the various activities that have historically been performed centrally (i.e. treasury, audit, grant compliance, accounts payable, payroll, etc.):

      Balance sheet reconciliations

      Endowment monitoring

      Management reporting

      Non-resident alien payments

      Fixed asset inventory

      Journal entry processing

      Year-end close



New Facilities FAQ: Explaining the Role of Building Liaisons

I understand Building Managers will now be called Building Liaisons, but am confused about their role in relation to Facilities Managers. Can you explain who does what?

Before OE2C, one person, who might have had a title such as Facilities Director or Building Manager, had responsibility for both facility oversight (including grounds, maintenance, custodial services, security systems, and design/construction) and for emergency management (including risk control, data control, emergency preparedness, fire inspections, and notification/communication) within a particular building. To increase operational effectiveness throughout campus, that role has now been divided into Facility Managers and Building Liaisons. (For a while, Building Liaisons were called Building Managers, but to avoid confusion with the old roles, the title will now be Building Liaison.)

In a nutshell, the Facility Manager is responsible for the building, and the Building Liaison is responsible for the people in the building.

The Facility Managers report to the Office of Facilities Planning and Management and are responsible for building policies and procedures, building safety, grounds maintenance, custodial services, and preventive maintenance. Facility Managers may be responsible for more than one building.

The Building Liaisons report to the Office of Risk Management, though they are not Risk Management employees, and are responsible for risk control, emergency preparedness, and notification/communication, in  addition to their day-to-day responsibilities. Building Liaisons will work with their assigned Facility Manager to oversee the life safety, property, operational, financial, and reputational risk considerations of the University. In the area of risk control, they will conduct risk assessments in buildings, make sure building events are entered into SMU’s scheduling software, and provide analysis data.  For emergency preparedness, they will help conduct training drills, maintain emergency notification procedures with building occupants,  and participate in emergency preparedness meetings. In the realm of communication and notification they will maintain emergency contact lists, keep building occupants informed about scheduled Facilities work in the building, make sure maintenance work does not interfere with classes and events, and ensure each occupant is informed about SMU’s emergency notification procedures.

For questions about Facility Managers, please contact Ali Day at or 8-4042. For information about Building Liaisons, contact Lisa Morris at or 8-1550.

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