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It’s Official: Making It Easier to Conduct Business at Penn…
May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34


Launch of P2P Website, “Step-by-Step” and Reference Brochures

The Procure-to-Pay (P2P) project is a multi-year initiative to streamline the University’s business and financial processes and to provide clear guidance and instruction to the Penn community. Making our procurement and payment processes transparent to all participants, including faculty, staff, and suppliers, will result in greater purchasing efficiency, less time spent on paperwork, stronger relationships with suppliers, and new cost containment opportunities.

To be able to continually streamline and improve our business processes, the P2P team has representation and direct input from Purchasing Services, Accounts Payable, Financial Systems, Financial Training, and Information Systems & Computing (ISC). In addition, a group of dedicated P2P representatives has been established to serve as direct “two-way” communications conduits to Schools and Centers, and to champion new P2P developments. Local P2P representatives allow for efficient and consolidated communication of all technology enhancements and process improvements (such as PaymentNet) that fit within the P2P mission of “making it easier to conduct business.”

With the recent launch of an in-depth P2P website and distribution of related “quick reference” brochures, one part of the team’s primary objectives has been achieved: developing and communicating an authoritative overview of the process for purchasing and paying for goods and services. Only by fully informing the community at-large, from expert to occasional purchaser, can we together eliminate process exceptions. Process exceptions are an enormous and costly drain on resources (ours and our suppliers’) and stand in the way of the University’s quest for an efficient, paperless business process.

Because 80% of all purchases are made via a purchase order (P.O.), it was selected as the first of four approved purchasing methods at the University–P.O., purchasing cards, C-forms, and T&E (travel and entertainment) reimbursement–to be fully described and outlined. The P2P team interviewed scores of representatives from Schools, Centers, and suppliers­—at all levels of expertise—to arrive at a logical, seven-step process overview of the P.O. method. The individual steps in the P.O. process, as well as the responsibilities and actions of the participant(s) in each step, are detailed on the new P2P website at www.upenn.edu/p2p. The “step-by-step” process is also featured in a reference brochure to be distributed to the Penn community, and in an informative reference brochure for all contract and Penn Marketplace suppliers.

Currently, the P2P team is developing a definitive purchasing card process overview to be added to the website this fall, and plans to follow with C-form and T&E (travel and entertainment) reimbursement overviews thereafter. Additional information will be made available as the P2P project moves forward. Please check the website often for communications about specific developments and training opportunities. In the meantime, should you have any suggestions or questions about the P2P initiative, please send us an email at p2p-l@lists.upenn.edu.

–Ralph Maier, Director, Purchasing Services
–Tom Slavinski, Associate Comptroller

Almanac - May 22, 2007, Volume 53, No. 34