If you are currently located on the Augusta University campus, there is a good chance that your body is in contact with something procured by the university’s Supply Management Office. Everything on campus, from office furniture and lab equipment to the paved sidewalk itself, can be traced back to the department. In most instances, the Purchasing Department is responsible for buying the goods and services that allow the university to function properly.
For any organization or company, procurement and supply management are indispensable spokes that keep the operational wheel turning, which is why legislators across the country — including Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal — have enacted laws to recognize March as “Purchasing Month.” It’s an attempt to help raise awareness for this vital area of business.
Linking producer to end-user, the university’s Purchasing Department acts as middleman to ensure necessary goods and services are delivered to the appropriate groups or departments. According to senior manager Gregory Woodlief, collaboration is at the heart of purchasing.
“We want to support all of the end-users on campus,” Woodlief said. “We want to get them what they need to do their jobs and make it easier for them while saving the university money.”
For large organizations like Augusta University, which have many different functions, the purchasing process can be a logistical challenge.
“It requires a lot of specificity on both sides,” said buyer Sue Ruvo. “It can become challenging if the end-user does not tell you exactly what they need.”
In order to mitigate complexity, different buyers working within the department specialize in different areas. Purchasing supervisor Terri Gregory leads a team of five buyers and personally oversees all construction and professional service contracts.
As one of the prime movers behind the university’s expansion, Gregory has a firsthand perspective of how the growth of Augusta University is affecting the Department of Purchasing.
“I can certainly say that it seems like the volume has increased,” she said. “It’s becoming a very fast-paced environment. Luckily, purchasing is my passion.”