A Letter from Lorelei Meeker,
Associate Vice President of Procurement Services
After 33 years at Indiana University, December 10 is my last day as an employee. IU has given me many opportunities, and I have tried very hard to do my best for the faculty, staff and students throughout all of my various roles.
My first job at Indiana University was as a secretary in the Groups Special Services Program. I was greatly inspired by the students who worked so hard to make the most of the opportunities that IU presented for themselves and their families and by the commitment my colleagues showed to those students. I developed a profound respect for the academic community, and, as students must meet graduation requirements, I learned the importance of clear processes and procedures.
Moving to the Purchasing Department was an eye opening experience. There were times when I questioned my ability to keep pace with the unrelenting workload while learning all I could about my assigned commodities. My respect for processes and procedures deepened. Instead of providing assistance directly to students and faculty, I learned how I could serve them by ensuring the best value for Indiana University at large, by protecting the institution that has been so good to us all.
The last few years, with the consolidation of campus purchasing operations into a central organization, I've had the privilege to work with our colleagues across all campuses and witness their successes first hand. They are fine professionals with a shared commitment to excellence, and they taught me the value of a strong and broad-based team.
I write this summary for all of you who are making a career in higher education. Success requires regular reinvention of your roles and responsibilities, and for that, you must make learning a priority in your life. Remember; excellent, hard work is valued in any organization.
This is also a very heartfelt thank you for your patience, candor, sharing, support, good humor and kindness throughout the years. All of the best to each and every one of you,
Jill Schunk Named new Associate Vice President
The Purchasing Department is pleased to introduce Jill M. Schunk as the new Associate Vice President for Procurement
“Jill's extensive experience and strong relationships across our seven campuses make her the perfect choice to succeed Lorelei,” said Doug Priest, Senior Associate Vice President for Finance. “I am tremendously pleased that Jill's valuable experience will continue to serve us, as she fills the senior role in this critical operation.”
Jill began her career at IU in 1988, as a project assistant. She has held positions of progressing responsibility since then, most recently working as the Executive Director of Purchasing. She has been a Certified Purchasing manager since 1997, and achieved Lifetime C.P.M. Certification in 2001.
Earlier this year, Jill shared responsibility for the successful consolidation of IU's seven campus purchasing departments into a single entity. “The reorganization allowed us to offer substantially lower prices to our schools and campuses,” says Neil Theobold, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. “Savings to date are already about $15 million.”
Jill has also been responsible for the development and implementation of multi-million dollar contracts with Coca-Cola, Dell, Microsoft, and Adobe that generated significant savings to IU, its students, faculty, and staff.
“I am thrilled that Jill has agreed to join our management team,” said Vice President Theobold, “as we pursue President McRobbie's goal of ensuring that all of the public and private resources entrusted to IU are used as effectively and efficiently as possible in pursuit of IU's academic mission.”
In the early morning hours of November 3, 2010, representatives from Coca-Cola installed a special new vending machine in the Wright Food Court on IU's Bloomington campus. It looked just like any other coke machine, but the students soon discovered that it held far more than soda.
You can learn more about the surprising event that ensued through an excellent Indiana Daily Student article by Matthew Glowicki. You can also view footage of the experience through a brief documentary film produced by the IU Purchasing Department. The video is also available to the public on the IU Procurement YouTube channel.
We recently conducted a broad survey to gauge the general perception of IU Purchasing following the consolidation. The Purchasing Survey Summary provides a detailed look at the survey and our response.
We were pleased to receive over 400 responses from a range of job roles across all campuses, and to see that the responses were generally positive. There were 2,802 positive responses to our ranking scale questions, compared to 701 negative responses. We were deeply gratified by your support for our department's efforts and accomplishments, and by written praise for the courtesy and effectiveness of individual staff members.
We are also thankful for the negative responses. They provide important insights on our operations and a clear picture of where we can improve. We have already taken steps to alleviate your concerns, and we hope you will enjoy the effects of these changes over the coming year. A brief overview of the four key areas of improvement is provided below.
Accessible Contact Information
Uncertainty over who to contact was the survey's most frequent negative trend. In response we have:
- Improved the contact information provided on the Buying page of our website.
- Developed a Contact Spreadsheet for departments to print and retain.
- Added contact and information links to the EPIC portal in OneStart.
Most respondents praised the individual responsiveness of our staff members (75% say we respond to questions in a timely manner), but there were still some concerns regarding the overall time required for transaction processing. To address this need we have:
- Re-emphasized to our staff the importance of a timely response to all inquiries.
- Consolidated responsibility for the Purchasing Help Desk (available at firstname.lastname@example.org), to ensure that all questions are assigned and answered.
Training and Communication
The Purchasing Newsletter fared well in the survey, and we will continue using this resource as our primary means of relaying important information. In response to those users who feel "out-of-touch" with purchasing operations, we have:
- Added a link to our Training page from the EPIC portal in OneStart. This page provides access to video tutorials, written guides, FAQs, and the class registration tool.
- Revamped the Basic Training Class, to be offered regularly over the coming year.
- Initiated development on an Advanced Class and several other user-specific courses.
The results showed some trepidation over the required use of IU contracts. While we appreciate the unique demands of various departments and regions, we must reiterate that spend management is a proven method for bringing savings to the university. By consolidating our spending with contracted vendors, we can leverage that spend to achieve the greatest savings and service.
It's important that you get what you need efficiently, effectively, and pleasantly. We are striving to make university contracts more identifiable and the B2B process easier. We are also concentrating on improving the contracts themselves, to ensure the best pricing and value. We welcome suggestions from the university community whenever there is an opportunity to improve existing contracts or implement new agreements, but we must all continue to use these contracts whenever possible.
New Scientific Deals
The Purchasing Department is proud to announce several pricing agreements to benefit the users of scientific equipment at IU:
- Carl Zeizz Microimaging, LLC
Effective November 1, our new pricing agreement reflects discounts on all Zeizz equipment, as well as disposable and consumable items. The agreement also includes free standard shipping and FOB Destination shipping terms.
- Shimadzu Scientific Instruments Inc
Effective August 23, this new pricing agreement reflects discounts on Shimadzu instruments and provides access to GSA contract pricing when available.
NOTE: Shimadzu items that were previously available from Fisher Scientific can still be purchased through Fisher's “Shop Contracts” site (B2B). However, the pricing on that site may differ from the pricing available through the new Shimadzu agreement.
- The Baker Company
The Baker pricing agreement was renewed on October 28 for another year. The renewal includes an extended four year warranty on all manufactured defects; one year longer than in the previous agreement.
NOTE: Expected ware items, like bulbs and filters, are not covered under the warranty.
Create a Requisition in EPIC to initiate purchases from any of these suppliers. If you have questions about the available items, prices or terms of service; contact Tom Westerhof.
Remember to visit our Contract page for a current listing of IU pricing agreements and contracts across all commodity areas, and to join the Scientific Purchasing Listserv for the latest updates regarding IU scientific commodity contracts and procedures.
Employee or Contractor: An Important Distinction
By John Fox
Ever wonder if an individual should be paid as an employee or as an independent contractor? What defines an employee? What defines an independent contractor? And more importantly, what impact can this distinction have on Indiana University?
There are significant financial repercussions associated with certain worker classifications. Generally, employers (IU in this case) are legally required to withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to employees. Conversely, an employer does not withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors. Independent contractors are solely responsible for their own tax liability and their own Social Security and Medicare contributions. As a result, the IRS actively audits and screens employer records to certify they are performing due diligence in determining a worker's status. If the IRS determines an employer has misclassified an employee as an independent contractor, they can levy back taxes, penalties for late payment, penalties for filing incorrectly, and other significant penalties.
But how is a worker's classification determined? The IRS focuses on three areas when determining whether a worker is appropriately classified: behavioral control, financial control, and relationship of the parties' involved. These three areas are often termed the "right-to-control" tests, because each factor is designed to evaluate who controls how the work is performed. The more control an employer has over how, when, where, and by whom the work is performed; the more likely the worker is an employee, not an independent contractor.
Behavioral Control covers facts that show whether the business (IU) has a right to direct or control how the work is done, through instructions, training, or other means.
Financial Control covers facts that show whether the business (IU) has a right to direct or control the financial and business aspects of the worker's job. This includes:
- The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed business expenses
- The extent of the worker's investment in the facilities, equipment, and materials used in performing services
- How the business pays the worker, and
- The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a financial loss outside of wages not earned
Relationship of the Parties covers facts that show how the parties perceive their relationship. This includes:
- Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intend to create
- The extent to which the worker is available to perform services for other, similar businesses
- Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation pay, or workman's compensation
- The permanency of the work relationship, and
- The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company
As you can see there are many variables and no one hard and fast definition; the determination is based on the facts and circumstances of each individual's situation. Indiana University fiscal policy (IV-220) provides addition guidance. This fiscal policy details the criteria required to meet the university's definition of an independent contractor work status. If you have further questions, please contact the FMS Tax Department at email@example.com.
If Accounts Payable receives a vendor invoice that does not match the costs, terms, or conditions of its associated Purchase Order (PO), then that PO will likely need to be amended. Accounts Payable will contact the department to request the change.
Only Purchasing staff has the ability to change existing Purchase Orders or contracts. Follow the steps below to contact purchasing and initiate an amendment.
NOTE: If the change requires an increase to the department's encumbrance or financial commitment, the department's Fiscal Officer or Fiscal Officer Delegate must personally complete the steps below.
- Locate the PO using the search for documents feature in EPIC.
- Verify whether the document is a standard PO or an Automatic Purchase Order (APO). This can be determined quickly through the Purchasing Contract Manager field. If the phrase "Automatic Purchase Order" appears in this field, then the document is an APO. If any other value appears, then it must be a standard PO.
- If this is a standard PO, note the name found in the Initiator field. He or she will be your purchasing contact for this PO.
- If this is an APO, your initial contact will be firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Click the Notes tab at the top of this screen.
- Enter a full description of the required amendment in the Note text-box found under the Purchase Order section of the page.
- Click the Save Note button.
- Enter the email address of your purchasing contact (as determined in step 2 above) in the Send to E-Mail Address field.
- Click the Send Email button.
RESULT: Purchasing staff reviews the note and contacts you if any additional information is required. Some changes may also require the amendment of an associated contract or agreement, so be sure to allow ample time for processing.
Purchasing staff will notify Accounts Payable and your department when the amendment is complete.