It may be the largest effort of its kind in higher education and possibly any industry: The University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) have joined forces around a singular procurement system that will benefit both entities and ultimately, California taxpayers.
By sharing an innovative, newly-launched software platform called California Universities Sourcing (CalUsource), the two systems — with their combined 33 campuses — will streamline procurement operations, reduce costs, generate more competitive bids and improve contract management processes. They have already cut costs by issuing one combined request for proposal (RFP) for this new technology and sharing in the implementation and training activities.
“This is a true game-changer in the procurement world,” said UC Chief Procurement Officer William Cooper.
“This partnership demonstrates our efforts to forge an even stronger collaboration among peer California institutions that yields mutually significant, tangible benefits. It opens the door to consider further procurement and supply chain collaboration with CSU, the California Community Colleges and even numerous private California colleges and universities that lack such state-of-the-art technology.”
“As a state-funded entity, we are always focused on making the most efficient use of the resources available to us to operate the university,” said CSU Executive Director Strategic Sourcing and Chief Procurement Officer Arun Casuba. “This new collaborative endeavor is a major step forward in leveraging opportunities and resources and reducing duplicative efforts across our two systems.”
Approximately 500 UC and CSU procurement professionals, thousands of faculty and staff, and tens of thousands of current and potential university suppliers will access CalUsource for information on the systems’ combined $10 billion in expenditures — using the platform for spend analysis, electronic sourcing, contract management and supplier management. By sharing valuable information and leveraging their economies of scale, the two organizations will take advantage of:
- Higher-value bids from suppliers vying for more expansive opportunities;
- Reduced costs by sharing in or leveraging the other system’s RFPs; and
- Increased benefits and revenue by sharing in or leveraging the other system’s contracts, including access to previously negotiated pricing.
UC is reaping the benefits of deploying a common procurement technology system across its 10 campuses, saving hundreds of millions of dollars over the past four years. This expanded collaboration is expected to deliver exponential value, allowing UC and CSU to channel even more savings into their respective university’s core missions of teaching, research and public service.
UC and CSU have worked together to create common processes and shared requirements to ensure smooth operations of CalUsource, which went live in December. They have completed their configurations for contracting, sourcing and spending analytics. Training for CSU and UC staff is currently underway.