Texas AgriLife Research is the state’s premier research agency in agriculture, natural resources, and the life sciences. An agency of The Texas A&M University System, AgriLife Research collaborates with the Texas A&M University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and others to help fulfill the A&M System’s land-grant mission of teaching, research, extension, and service.
“Cooperatives have historically been a part of the agriculture business structure, providing supplies, service and marketing functions,” explained Dee Ann Schneider, Texas AgriLife Research Director of Purchasing. “E&I provides my agencies with each of these three functions, truly enhancing the value I provide to my customers. The VWR Scientific contract is a primary example of that value.”
The E&I VWR contract provides numerous benefits to the Texas AgriLife Research end users as well as the purchasing staff.
“E&l’s competitively solicited VWR contract offers the widest variety of products at beneficial pricing to make our researchers’ grant money go farther,” said Schneider. “Additionally, the multiple VWR representatives who service our agency’s many locations have established supportive relationships with the laboratory researchers and staff.”
Schneider explained that in terms of increasing contract awareness and utilization, communication is key. She worked with both her E&I Member Relations Representative Barbara Amosson and VWR Representative Dicki Mureil to develop an effective communication approach. “Barbara provided us with a helpful fact sheet summarizing the highlights of the contract, which I not only distributed at our annual conference, but I emailed it to the staff and posted it to our website,” she said. “I also worked with Dicki Murrel from VWR to prepare a contract announcement that was sent out.” She went on to explain that the agency is currently facilitating team efforts with VWR to discuss green initiatives and products that can improve lab safety.
Kathy Wingate, Texas AgriLife Research Business Administrator explained that utilization of the VWR contract has resulted in a variety of cost saving opportunities for the agency. Much of this savings can be attributed to the fact the Cooperative’s contract is competitively solicited.” Avoiding the bidding process saves us time both at the unit level and at the Agency Purchasing Department, which ultimately translates into financial savings,” she said.
Texas AgriLife Research Staff Accountant Manuel Gautreaux went on to quantify that savings. “On purchases over $5,000, the Cooperative’s VWR contract saves us a lot of time,” he said. “We identify the equipment we need and just make a requisition to place the order. That means the following time consuming processes are eliminated: developing specifications for the bidding process, the time lag in the bidding process (send out, receive, and evaluate), and final award. It’s helpful given the fact that we order many items over $5,000 under this contract.” The VWR contract also provides free shipping of goods to end users across the State of Texas, representing a huge cost savings to the agency. “Not to mention the savings we realize from participating in the excellent contract pricing,” said Wingate.
“The overall experience by our agency scientific faculty and staff end users, accounts payable staff, and purchasing staff has been extremely positive,” said Wingate. “Texas AgriLife Research enjoys the benefit from excellent pricing and outstanding products when partnering with VWR and E&I.