Purchasing Procedures at University and Health System to
By Jeanne Johnson
Each year, employees of the university and health
system purchase thousands of goods and services using a
variety of methods — traditional purchase orders,
confirming orders, procurement transactions, coded
invoices, check requisitions, petty cash and more.
Now Johns Hopkins is getting ready to change the way
that employees make those purchases, exchanging a
complicated, often manually intensive system for one that
is more streamlined and integrated.
Under a new system being implemented through
the process will be simplified to take advantage of the
automated capabilities of an online, integrated brand of
computer software known as SAP. Where appropriate,
employees will continue to use procurement cards in
conjunction with SAP.
"Current purchasing methods are often cumbersome and
manually intensive and place a great deal of stress on
departmental purchasers and corporate purchasing support
alike," said Betty Gibula, director of purchasing for the
Johns Hopkins Health System and co-chair of the HopkinsOne
supply chain user group. "Under this new purchasing model,
processes should become more streamlined and efficient,
resulting in better customer service [and] higher customer
satisfaction levels, as well as cost savings."
SAP will automatically check for overspending —
resulting in better budget management — and will use
controls to improve compliance with internal purchasing
policies as well as external regulations, said Dow Weeks,
HopkinsOne supply chain project manager. It also will
improve efficiency, Weeks said, as managers and department
administrators will have better visibility of the entire
pay-to-procure process, including the ability to instantly
query the status of orders, approvals and payments. In
addition, faculty and staff will be able to request travel
and other reimbursements through a user-friendly Web
The HopkinsOne initiative is designed to transform
many of the business and administrative systems of The
Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medicine and the
Johns Hopkins Health System. Project leaders are working
with personnel throughout the institutions to tie together
and streamline functions such as purchasing, payroll,
accounts payable, grants management, general ledger,
materials management and human resources.
Begun in 2003, HopkinsOne is currently entering the
"realization" phase, which involves initial testing of the
project's software, with completion targeted for summer
2008. Administrators expect key components of the system,
such as purchasing, to be operational by summer 2006.
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