Purchasing Cards To Debut Next Month

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Next month's debut of a card that will allow University employees to make office purchases directly from suppliers and charge the costs to Boston College will simplify the procurement process, according to administrators.

Under a pilot program conceived through Project Delta, 23 offices, departments and administrative units will receive purchasing cards, which will streamline the process for transactions of less than $1,000. Representatives from the 23 departments were trained to administer use of the cards in their respective offices and are designating staff members as card-holders, who also will receive training. Almost 30 recipients had been named as of last week and distribution of the cards was scheduled to begin this week.

Project Delta representatives say the system will be less time consuming and will greatly reduce or eliminate paperwork. The cards, which will be provided through First Bank of Minneapolis, can be used to pay for stationery, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, advertising, bottled water services and various other expendable supplies.

Authorized employees can use the card to place an order over the phone, through the World Wide Web or the mail, or buy an item at a store. At the end of the monthly billing cycle, the cardholder receives a statement detailing recent transactions to use in reconciling receipts, packing slips, invoices and other records.

By using the cards, Delta representatives said, employees will not have to complete a requisition on the U-BUY system, send an invoice to Accounts Payable, or obtain and mail checks to the vendor. Individual suppliers will be paid directly by the bank within two or three business days of the transaction.

Delta representatives have projected that within the first full year of its implementation, the purchasing card system should eliminate approximately 7,000 purchase orders, 8,000 departmental check requisitions, 16,000 invoices and 10,000 checks.

"This is the classic Delta initiative," said Project Delta Manager James Kreinbring. "The purchasing card system uses technology to create innovative service improvements, which in turn give individual offices, departments and units more capability to perform a task without involving so much paperwork and manpower."

Once the pilot program is completed, said Assistant Director for Purchasing and Systems Jerri Cole, the Purchasing Department will offer training to other offices and departments on a limited basis. Depending on scheduling and availability, she said, the orientation may be provided at various locations on campus.

Participants in the pilot program are: Project Delta, Dining Services, Buildings and Grounds, University Relations, Information Technology, Internal Audit, the Office of the Financial Vice President, Undergraduate Admission, Purchasing, the Athletic Association, the Law School, the Biology and Chemistry departments, the Development Office and the Institute for Scientific Research.

Other units which have recently been trained are: Human Resources, O'Neill Library, Student Affairs, Financial Management Systems, the School of Education, the Office of the Academic Vice President, the Audio Visual Department and the Bookstore.

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