Partnering with purchasers

Gundalow Gourmet founder Dana Sicko

Image caption: Gundalow Gourmet founder Dana Sicko in B-More Kitchen, an incubator for culinary startups that's located in Govans. Gundalow, a vendor identified through the HopkinsLocal initiative, participated in the recent Procurement conference.

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

If you're one of the 5,000-some employees involved in procurement at Johns Hopkins University, the office in charge has a message for you: Things are changing for the better.

The Johns Hopkins University Office of Procurement Services is now focused more than ever on innovating and streamlining in order to make purchasing processes—everything from travel expenses to local contracts—more efficient and headache-free.

"We aim to play the role of partner and advocate," says Crystal Burns of the Procurement team. "There's been a notion in the past that we're acting as a speedbump when trying to make a purchase or [are] 'purchasing police,' and we want people to know we are simply here to help."

To that end, the team is in the midst of rolling out a suite of new initiatives and tech upgrades. And last week, it hosted a conference in downtown Baltimore—which quickly booked up with more than 440 attendees—to provide a primer on some of those efforts.

Here's a taste:

  • The Amazon Business eMarketplace is now the online system that all university departments can use to order what they need—including office and lab supplies—replacing the former HopkinsSelect eMarketplace. Read more on The Hub.

  • You've probably heard about HopkinsLocal, the university and health system's far-reaching initiative to expand local contracting, purchasing, and hiring. With procurement, this means dedicated efforts to work with local Baltimore businesses and vendors. Last week's conference featured some of those, including Gundalow Gourmet and Westnet. For more information, visit here.

  • For those who work with Accounts Payable, the new PaymentWorks vendor registration system aims to ease the process so that vendors can get paid more quickly.

You can check out the full agenda of the June 1 conference here. The event's morning keynote speaker was Anne Rung, director of government sector for Amazon Business, and in keeping with the new theme of teamwork, the afternoon keynote speaker was Janine Tucker, JHU's women's lacrosse coach.

And to stay posted with all the latest happenings in procurement, look for updates on the Procurement Office website.

"We have so many new things going on," Burns says. "We want everyone to realize that the procurement team is here for you as a tool, a resource, and a partner."

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