UNC Greensboro is a public research university with more than 20,000 students, 2,800 faculty and staff, 30 residence halls, and 30 academic buildings on 200-plus acres. As a state institution, UNC Greensboro is required to use contracts that comply with the state of North Carolina regulations.
Like many higher ed institutions, UNC Greensboro was faced with limited resources. The University’s procurement team is always looking for ways to save time on the RFP and contracting process to be able to focus on other important initiatives.
UNC Greensboro has been an E&I member for over 10 years, and regularly relies on E&I contracts to provide time and cost efficiencies. Before going out to bid, UNC Greensboro will do two things: check the state of North Carolina and UNC System agreements, then check with E&I. If E&I has a contract in place, they will typically not have to go out to bid. The University is currently using more than 15 E&I contracts over various commodities and services. The most extensively used contracts on campus are Steelcase, Lowe’s, B&H, Avantar, delivered by VWR, and many of the moving and relocation agreements.
Quality Contracts from Best-in-Class Suppliers
E&I’s extensive RFP process ensures that all contracts are awarded to best-in-class suppliers that understand the unique needs of the education industry and the products, services, and support required. This level of knowledge and understanding is invaluable to UNC Greensboro.
“The Cooperative’s RFP teams are comprised of subject matter experts who have put together an extremely impressive matrix to determine contract awards. We’ve rarely run into issues with E&I’s contracted suppliers, and if we do, they are resolved swiftly,” said Logan.
In addition to cost-savings, the terms and conditions in E&I agreements are also extremely important. UNC Greensboro has realized additional advantages such as free freight and financial incentives and rebates.
Customer Service & Support
E&I’s nationwide team of dedicated representatives ensure localized attention and support for members. According to Logan, UNC Greensboro’s E&I representative understands the unique challenges facing a state university, which can be very different from a private institution. He meets regularly with his representative to discuss the University’s needs and how the Cooperative can best be of service.
“Our representative is supportive, has the expertise, is willing to help, and is innovative as well. She will proactively let us know of a new contract or perhaps a new incentive program with an existing E&I supplier,” said Logan. “There’s no monetary value you can put on that type of knowledge and service.
Benefits Beyond Contracts
For UNC Greensboro, the benefits of their E&I membership go beyond just contracts. Supplier-hosted webinars, information on important initiatives such as sustainability, and a library of helpful resources are available to all members.
“We’ve had a ton of useful information funneled to us from E&I,” said Logan. “They share the latest industry news, innovative developments on, say, scientific equipment, and valuable expertise that we can all take advantage of within our own operations.”
In an industry where procurement professionals are forced to do more with less, UNC Greensboro’s membership with E&I has saved valuable time and money while delivering many added perks. Whether an institution is public or private, large or small, Logan suggests that membership is worth considering for any higher ed institution.