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UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 08 | April 19, 2001

Supply set to meet demand

Goal is to get UBC researchers more bang for every buck

by Bruce Mason staff writer

UBC researchers have successfully competed for hundreds of millions of dollars in the form of government grants. A university department wants to help them make the most of every one.

"Supply Management, under the leadership of Dave Rankin, has the responsibility to work with researchers to extract the greatest value from every cent," says Terry Sumner, vice-president, Administration and Finance.

"The challenge is to convince researchers that it can add value by reducing the cost of purchases, improving quality and effectively and efficiently freeing dollars for additional research," he adds.

Four months ago, Rankin seized what he calls a "huge opportunity and challenge" and left the private sector to develop people and technology at UBC, the essential links in managing a supply chain along which $200 million dollars in acquisitions moves every year.

"We envision a new leadership role and customer service framework, not only for goods and services procurement but also travel, freight, commodity tax and surplus equipment management," says Rankin. He has changed the name and scope of the department from Purchasing to Supply Management.

University researchers and suppliers such as Fisher Scientific, Ikon Office Solutions, Telus and Scotia Bank will pack UBC's Memorial Gym, April 26, for a supply management trade show, Acquisition Solutions 2001.

"The event provides an opportunity for researchers, faculty, staff and ancillary service groups to engage in a productive dialogue with suppliers in one location," he says. "We sold out exhibit space in two weeks."

"Supply Management is getting the university on board Web-based technology which has not been utilized as effectively in the past. We want to make international resources available to UBC researchers to optimize their funding."

Rankin is focused on maintaining leverage for the best deals with all university suppliers, including air carriers and hotels.

"We want to add value to the front end but also keep our eye on surplus disposal," he says. "As rapid advances in technology shorten the life cycle of products we're challenged to reduce waste by recycling and selling or donating computers and other equipment."

"My main job is to coach Supply Management staff and make certain they are enjoying the challenge and opportunity."

Pointing to a picture frame in his modest office he reads aloud a quote written by former colleagues -- "Have Fun With This!"

He's rushing off to have his head shaved to help raise funds for B.C.'s Children's Hospital.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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