To the Editor:
Re: “It’s Not Just Paper Clips They’re Cutting Back On,” Opinion, Oct. 15
In yesterday’s editorial, you asked whether recommendations from Bain & Company would have consequences for our core mission, asserting that “it is important that the academic core of Cornell remain untouched by non-academic consultants,” and if our new procurement initiative will affect the readings faculty assign, the publications the library purchases or the equipment used in classes.
As project manager for our engagement with Bain, I have spent the past four months working with colleagues from Cornell and Bain to ensure that our project stays on the right side of the line between academics and non-academics.
I want to assure you that our procurement initiative will not affect what Cornell faculty and staff are able to purchase. Rather, as was stated in our announcement, “The improved procurement system will allow staff and faculty to purchase the same goods and services they always have, but at better prices — and save up to $40 million a year.” This is possible because currently we manage only a small percentage of our purchasing. Negotiating contracts with vendors, and pushing volume through those contracts, will lead to huge cost savings. If we are unable to negotiate an agreement with a vendor for a specific good or service, we will waive the requirement to use a preferred vendor.
For results from a similar procurement initiative at a peer university, I encourage you to review information on the Penn website: http://www.purchasing.upenn.edu.
Deputy Provost David Harris, professor of sociology