Laboratory Supplies


Procurement Cost Savings Efforts

In 2016, the University solicited proposals for laboratory supplies and related services.  Input from the campus research community helped inform strategic direction of the bid.  Feedback demonstrated that the research community preferred additional supplier options rather than continuing with a prime vendor model.  Furthermore, Procurement anticipated that a competitive environment would result in additional savings. As a result, the University contracted with two full-line distributors, Fisher Scientific and VWR, as well as various other suppliers for their specialized product lines.

Laboratory Supplies Spending Trends

As the University continues to attract talented researchers, grow its research community and enterprise, and take on more challenging industry collaborations and grant-funded projects, spending on laboratory supplies has either decreased or remained stable at the Storrs and regional campuses over the last several years.  In FY16, Laboratory supplies accounted for roughly 77% of all spend ($22.8M) on research related commodities.  In FY17, laboratory supplies accounted for approximately 64% of all spend ($19.8M).  FY18 saw similar spend to FY16 on research related commodities and a similar 77% portion of this spend ($22.4M) was on laboratory supplies.

While these are encouraging trends, Procurement is always seeking ways to improve its effectiveness in supporting the University’s research mission while simultaneously addressing cost reduction efforts.

Scientific Solutions Center (“SSC”)

In further support of its valued research community, Procurement is excited to announce the upcoming  launch of its new website, the Scientific Solution Center (“SSC”).

SSC will serve as a central access point to the comprehensive portfolio of existing, new, and upcoming scientific suppliers that we feel will best suit the community’s diverse needs.  Features of the website include but are not limited to:

  • Access to select vendor catalogs via HuskyBuy
  • Access to other vendors available under Consortia and University contracts via links to their direct e-commerce portals
  • Master list of available State, University, and Consortia contracts available for use
  • Vendor event announcements and current promotions
  • Links to helpful procurement resources such as required forms and Procurement Services staff contact information
  • Lab User Group functionality including sign-up for new members, important announcements, meeting schedules, and more!

The webpage is currently in early construction.  Once live, content updates shall be issued on an ongoing basis (the frequency of which is to be determined).

Best Practices in Laboratory Supplies and Related Services Purchasing

To help continue the positive momentum and optimize cost savings in laboratory supplies even further, end-users can use employ the following best practices when purchasing from the University’s vendor portfolio:

Competitive Sourcing

For equipment and some supplies, multiples quotes from various sources for like products not only provides the end-user with more exposure to various market offerings with similar specifications, but also can result in a cost savings.

Multiples quotes from various sources for the same products

For equipment and some supplies, multiples quotes from various sources for the same product can help the end-user determine which vendor will provide a better price. Oftentimes, there are may also be differentiating factors regarding service and post-purchase support (warranties, etc), so reviewing multiple options may help with short-term and long-term savings

Generic versus name-brand offerings

Some vendors on University contract may offer their own generic product line that is similar to a well-known brand, but at a reduced cost. This is similar to the concept of a store-brand generic versus a name-brand item.  These items are of comparable quality.  Please inquire with Procurement and/or the vendor representative to see if options are available

Take advantage of volume purchasing and bulk buys

Certain product lines and supplies may be available at a discounted price from various vendors if they are purchased in bulk. While this requires advance planning on the part of the end-user, volume purchasing can result in additional discount on top of our already competitive contracts.  Please inquire with Procurement and/or the vendor representative to see if options are available

Take advantage of promotional offers/pricing

In addition to contracted discounts from our vendor partners, promotional and limited time offers may be made available for certain product lines. Procurement plans to display many offers on the SSC website, but you may also inquire with vendor representatives to see if any promotions are ongoing or available

Sign up for our lab user group

The lab user group serves as a forum for frequent laboratory supplies HuskyBuy shoppers to collaborate with Procurement to discuss purchasing practices. Signing up for this group will allow end-users to have a direct dialogue with each other and share best practices.  Furthermore, it allows the group to speak with Procurement to help optimize workflow, to make the end-to-end purchasing process more efficient.

Visit SSC for additional advice

The SSC webpage will serve as the primary point of entry for all laboratory supplies purchasing needs. From time to time, additional updates and best practice guidance will be made available on the webpage, so please visit it periodically.


Please contact Kathleen Kearney with any questions at x2621.