October 4, 2017

Go Dawgs! Wednesday | UW Medicine Compliance: Weekly Ordering

Each Wednesday, we feature an individual or team that has come up with a fantastic good business idea.

Reducing expenses through resource and process efficiency is one of the primary ways students, faculty, and staff can help do good business right here at UW. In 2014, the team at UW Medicine Compliance developed a way to streamline the process of ordering offices supplies that reduced process time (for both UW and the vendor), as well as reducing our impact on the environment.

UW Medicine Compliance Weekly Ordering

  • An internal online system was developed for staff to use when special office supplies and other products were needed (administrative staff maintained regular office supply quantity and ordering).
  • Each Wednesday, the budget approver reviews the lists of order requests and approves the items that can be purchased.
  • Once the items are approved on the Wednesday, one staff member then orders all of the requested items (through only one or two vendors if possible).
  • Generally, items purchased arrive on Th or Fri in one delivery


Cost Reduction. Cost reduction is achieved in several ways in this program. 1. The amount of time spent on ordering items is significancy reduced: reduction in salary expense.  2. The number of staff members involved with ordering and processing items is reduced: reduction in salary expense  3. Duplicates requests are caught early in process. 4. The amount of time spent processing incoming items is significantly reduced: reduction in salary expense. 5. Because items are ordered together and generally arrive together, less packaging material is needed: reduction in disposal and recycling expense.

Process Efficiency. Multiple process efficiencies are achieved in this program. 1. The online form makes it very easy for any staff to quickly order a special office supply. 2. The budget approver can quickly review the list of requests and approve/deny items. 3. Ordering is completed by one staff member. 4. Usually all of the ordered items arrive at one time making it easy to process and reconcile incoming items and paperwork.

Resource Efficiency. This program reduces resource use in two ways. 1.  The program eliminates duplicate and surplus ordering. 2. This program means fewer deliveries by the vendor which reduces fuel use.

Reduced Environmental Impact. This program reduces our environmental impact in two ways. 1. This program reduces packaging materials. 2. This program reduces fuel use by vendors.