New online procurement system will streamline purchasing

shopping carts

A new electronic purchasing system is about to make routine purchases at York University a lot more “routine”. The new SM@RTBUY system will reduce the number of steps needed to complete a purchase transaction. It has the added benefit of helping green York campuses by reducing the paper required to make a simple purchase.

Finance, in conjunction with PRASE, has been working for some time on developing the new SM@RTBUY electronic purchasing system. SM@RTBUY is York’s new online procurement system designed to streamline purchasing at York, creating significant time savings for everyone currently involved in purchasing routine items. Those time savings will lead directly to reducing administrative costs, freeing up valuable staff time and budget dollars.

Close to 500 people at York University are “requisitioners”.  In 2011, these requisitioners completed some 84,000 purchase transactions.  Under the current paper system, it takes 20 steps to make a purchase, which translates into 1,680,000 individual steps that were required to complete all of the University’s purchases last year.  With SM@RTBUY, best practices suggest that only seven steps will be required to make a purchase. So once SM@RTBUY is fully operational with all functionality implemented, the total number of steps will be reduced to 588,000 –-  which represents an improvement of 65 per cent.

But workflow is not the only winning element of SM@RTBUY.  Here are some of the other key benefits:

  • One-stop shopping:  with SM@RTBUY, you will be able to purchase a variety of products from office supplies, to computers, to scientific supplies, to catering just by logging into their Passport York account.
  • Lower prices:  York University will be better placed to leverage improved pricing by maximizing its relationships with preferred vendors on SM@RTBUY.
  • Accessible:  SM@RTBUY will be accessible, should you need it, from any computer where you have an Internet connection.
  • Comparison Shopping:  SM@RTBUY allows you to compare prices from competing vendors and select the best value for the same product.
  • Environmentally Friendly:  SM@RTBUY is a paperless process, so it helps reduce the University’s carbon footprint.

So, when can you start using SM@RTBUY?  The University is currently working with a group of 60 users to test run SM@RTBUY.  They will be involved in a SM@RTBUY pilot starting in late June, with an anticipated activation of SM@RTBUY by August of this year, with 20 vendors initially participating.  A training program has been developed for all SM@RTBUY requisitioners and approvers, which will be available through July and August.

To learn more, check out SM@RTBUY’s new website at

Once implemented, SM@RTBUY will provide a great opportunity, which will bring benefits to the whole University by streamlining purchasing procedures, leveraging purchasing power, reducing the University’s carbon footprint and saving York time and money.