In tight budget times, strategic purchasing is critical. In 2010, the Division of Information Technology began participating in two combined computer purchasing initiatives that have brought substantial savings to WCU.
Combined Pricing Initiative
One program, the Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI), was driven by the UNC CIO Council (comprised of the CIO’s from each of the UNC institutions) and was designed as a way for UNC campuses to lower their PC purchase costs by leveraging the purchasing volume of the entire system and increasing the educational discounts. UNC-GA negotiates with several PC vendors to get the best prices for a range of standard desktop and laptop computer configurations. The program is intended to meet diverse computing needs while also reducing the total cost of ownership and including the EPEAT/Energy Star energy conservation standards. For WCU purchases are limited to Dell laptop and desktop computers, along with Apple devices from Apple Computer. Computer purchases covered by the CPI program include all university funds, including state funds, grants, or any other special funding source. The CPI website can be found at http://www.wcu.edu/27188.asp. In the first year of the CPI program, WCU saved over $94,000. This past year the CPI program saved WCU just over $100,000 for a savings of 17%.
Apple Bulk Purchases
In addition to the UNC CPI program, UNC-GA coordinates a quarterly bulk purchase agreement with Apple Computer that gives UNC campuses an extra discount in addition to the standard education discount we receive from the Apple Higher Education program. These quarterly bulk purchases allow the entire UNC system to get greater discounts through the power of system-wide bulk orders. In the first year alone, these bulk purchases saved the university $19, 842. Over the past year, the savings averaged 6.5 % for a reduced cost of almost $9000. These bulk orders require that IT and Purchasing working collaboratively with the UNC system.
Computer Exception Committee (CEC)
The CEC is a local campus committee that grew out of the CPI initiative. The CEC meets on a monthly basis and looks at any request to purchase PC’s that are non-CPI standard. The main purpose of the committee is to save the university real dollars in helping guide university purchases to our CPI standards. These savings are above and beyond the costs saved in the CPI and Apple bulk purchases. Here are a few examples. In one purchase, the CEC saved a department $2000 on a single computer purchase where a vendor was trying to sell the department a much higher priced PC. In another order, a vendor suggested two $3500 computers be purchased and the CEC was able to recommend a purchase of the same standard computer, as specified by the department, for only $1500 each, saving the university around $4000.