Optimizing our Purchasing Practices in BuyWays: BuyWays Release 1.0

The UPST has been working with over the last 7 months to optimize end user purchasing experience in BuyWays in partnership with your campus representatives. BuyWays Release 1.0 is an umbrella name for multiple enhancements within BuyWays aimed at improving the end user experience with regards to ease of use and efficiency. 

Within BuyWays Release 1.0, the following enhancements are covered: 

  • New BuyWays Shopping/Homepage 

  • Guided buying approach to catalogs 

  • Guided buying forms for non-catalog purchases (3 forms: Goods only form, Services under $50K form, and Services over $50K form) 

  • Includes the policy change that supports the use of purchase orders to contract specific services under $50K rather than using contract for services (CFS) 

  • Standardized exception to competitive procurement (NBJ) process and form 

  • Automated change order process (terminates the use of the 0.99 form) 

This release is a game changer to how we currently do business within the system, and we have been socializing this change through general and campus specific information sessions. 

Taking a closer look to some of the major deployments under the BuyWays Release 1.0 umbrella: 

Standardizing the Exception to Competitive Procurement (NBJ) Form 

Pre-UPST, each UMass campus had their own version of the Exception to Competitive Procurement/Sole Source/ No-Bid Justification (NBJ) forms and processes. To ensure that the process is harmonized across the system in alignment with the standards set out in the UMass Board of Trustees (BoT) Procurement Policy document, these multiple forms and processes have been harmonized into one document that is operationalized through BuyWays. 

The benefit to the end user community of this initiative includes: 

  • Standardized exception to competitive procurement process and form​ across the system 

  • Leveraged BuyWays form request to streamline submission/request and workflow approval process 

    • For campuses lacking workflow of their PIs, leveraged DocuSign for campus approval routing 

  • Elimination of the need to send your forms to UPST for approval before creating a requisition 

These benefits will help improve process cycle -time for both the campus stakeholders and UPST, while also driving process harmonization across the system. 

Automating UMass Change Request Process for Purchase Orders: No more 0.99 form! 

As part of the updated functionality within BuyWays, the Procurement Operations Team is excited to introduce and roll out the new and greatly enhanced Change Order process this Summer!   

Gone will be the days of entering a placeholder $0.99 request form! The new change request process will be done right on the existing original purchase order and will: 

  • capture the change request, comments, history and necessary information into the original purchase order  

  • utilize the BuyWays system to ensure requisition workflow and compliance requirements  

  • improve transparency and visibility as requester can see the status or where their request is at any given time 

This is a major game change on how the PO change order process is performed! 

Guided Buying: Letting UPST Guide Through Your Buying Process 

One of the most talked about features of the BuyWays 1.0 Release is the new set of intuitive guided buying forms designed to operationalize purchases based on specific categories and spend thresholds. 

These 3 forms are: 

  • Goods Only – operationalizes the purchase of non-catalog goods only irrespective of the spend amount 

  • Services under $50K – for purchase of services, or services and goods less than $50K 

  • Services over $50K – for the purchase of services, or services and goods greater than $50K 

These forms are used to initiate the non-catalog purchasing process before items can be added to one’s shopping cart. 

The benefits of using these forms cannot be over-emphasized as they: 

  • Were created detailed instructions 

  • Drive compliance to UMass policies and controls 

  • Drive increased transparency within the purchasing process 

New and Intuitive BuyWays Homepage  

The new BuyWays homepage has several features that aim to make the process of buying goods and services easy for both new and expert users. It allows users to easily access the most utilized features – catalog and non-catalog purchases, forms, supplier search, and more. Below you can find a breakdown of each homepage feature.  

  • Purchasing Categories – A way to access the current punch-out catalog suppliers. Clicking one of the options (Medical/Clinical, Office Supplies and Services, etc.) will open a new page for that category with the preferred suppliers as well as related contracts.  

  • Purchasing Links/Non-Catalog Purchases – This section curates the forms that support non-catalog purchases. Use of the appropriate form is encourage, see more details in the Guided Buying article. Note that the Services under $50k form operationalizes the policy change for contracting services with purchase order.  

  • Supplier Search – Easily search for suppliers before you initiate your supplier registration request. 

  • UPST Forms – Ensures easy access to your campus’ specific BuyWays forms, i.e. AtP for UMPO, Bank Card Statement Form, Direct Payment form, etc. 

  • Useful Links – Contains all the links you may need to aid you in your purchasing or transaction with UPST i.e. my contracts, UPST Website, UPST Training. It also includes major links that are owned by UPST but are needed for your purchasing activities i.e. Egencia, Tax, etc.   

  • Document Search – Quickly search for your items or use the curated links to find your personal requisitions, purchase orders, vouchers, and approvals.  

All these changes will be deployed to the campus using a phased approach from the week of July 19th. Use this link to review the BuyWays 1.0 Project page which contains the most up-to-date information on the project.