Procurement Cost Savings Efforts

During Summer 2018, Procurement consulted with three of the University’s top furniture suppliers based upon overall spend.  The purpose of this exercise was to determine if the appropriate contract vehicles were in use by the University to achieve maximum discounts and cost savings from these vendors.  Based upon a review of internal University practices and spend allocation, available contract options, and discussions with the vendors, the following section provides recommended cost savings practices for three different categories of furniture purchases.

Capital Projects

Capital Projects typically involve project-based spending on furniture, which may include design, install, and related services.  Further, these projects often involve a higher volume of furniture and subsequently are more time-consuming and expensive.

  • Procurement has concluded that these efforts should be competitively sourced to maximize cost savings opportunities.
  • If a bid is not feasible, then State of Connecticut contracts (via DAS) should be reviewed as design and install costs are already included.

Ad-Hoc Buying

Ad-Hoc buying includes larger transactions and multiple pieces constituting a furniture set that is not part of a Capital Project.

Analyst Recommendations:

  • While state contracts (via DAS) are competitive, they should not be used as the catchall or default option. A bid (even if informal), may result in increased cost savings.
  • It is critical for larger projects that stakeholders engage with Procurement and the appropriate vendor rep early in process, especially if planning/design and install are required.
  • Any project that requires planning/design and install, should have some kind of bid conducted. If a bid is not feasible, then the state contract should likely be used or at least looked at first.
  • Transactions with Plan/Design & Install needs should be fulfilled outside of HuskyBuy. Cost will likely be most favorable on state contracts when plan, design, install is included.

One-Off Buying

Analyst Recommendations

  • While state contracts (via DAS) are competitive, they should not be used as the catchall or default option. A bid (or solicitation of three quotes) may result in increased cost savings.
  • End-users can also leverage HuskyBuy may grant access to multiple non-state contract options (MHEC, E&I etc.) This allows for stakeholders to see multiple prices for same/like items and achieve the most aggressive pricing

For all furniture purchases, End-Users should continue to proactively work with Procurement      and vendor reps to inquire about savings opportunities, where available.

Further Efforts

Every piece of purchased furniture combined has a very large impact on the University’s budget. UConn's spend on furniture has historically ranged from approximately $1.5 million- $3.5 million per year for FY12-FY16. This, along with the tough economical times the University is faced with, reinforces the fact that how we purchase and what we pay matters now more than ever.

In 2011 a Furniture Sourcing Team was formed to analyze spending patterns, research options, and develop standards. With changes as simple as fabric offerings, paint finishes, wood laminate, and faux leather options, costs have been greatly reduce costs over the last few years. Now we need to do more.

In an effort to provide a wider selection of options while maintaining costs, Procurement Services launched an initiative to award a new furniture contract that will offer the option to purchase dorm, classroom and office furnishings from multiple vendors at better prices. Additional information on this initiative will be shared once each contract is awarded. In the meantime, you have options...

Current Options

The University has access to multiple vendors for Workstations, Freestanding Office & Dorm Furniture, and Pre-Owned/Refurbished Furniture through a variety of contract vehicles, including, but not limited to:

  • State of Connecticut DAS Contracts
  • MHEC
  • E&I
  • National IPA

Vendors available on these contracts include, but are not limited to:

  • American Seating
  • Herman Miller
  • Knoll
  • Kimball
  • Steelcase
  • Teknion
  • Lyco
  • Transfer Enterprises, and
  • B. Mason

If you have any questions relating to the purchase of furniture, please contact the Procurement Team Contact for this category group, Mike Franklin.