iBuy is a fantastic electronic tool which stream lines the procurement process from order placement, reconciling, and payments – all in a seamless operation. However, did you know that there are other benefits from using iBuy – just by searching for vendors and for products based on the icons that are represented in the Vendor catalogs? If you like to browse through the “shops”, knowledge of what these different icons indicate may help in your decision as to which products to purchase.
Sounds great right? So what exactly do you mean?
- A person can go into iBuy and search on Suppliers – which shows three columns for each Supplier. These columns consist of the Supplier Name, Type, and Preference.
- Under the column identified as Type, there are three different icons shown.
- An Open Book icon represents a “Hosted” catalog
- One half of a book with a green arrow indicates a “non-catalog” supplier.
- An icon that appears to look like a red peg through a black wheel indicates a “Punch Out” catalog.
The main difference between being a Hosted Catalog Supplier and a Punch-Out Catalog Supplier, is the additional functionality that the University receives with a Punch-Out. When using a Punch-Out supplier Level II Search capabilities are available along with E-quote functionality, Stock status views, and the ability to provide an individual “shopping list”. These functions are a whole other story!
- Now let’s focus on “Preference”. There are eight (8) different icons that we currently use.
- An icon picture that appears to be city view, designates that the University of Illinois Medical Center (UIMC) can purchase from this supplier.
- A blue Flag with a number 1 on it is an icon showing that this supplier is “Preferred”.
- An icon that is a bright yellow star, indicates a VoIP (Voice over Internet) Supplier.
- An icon that shows a white star in a blue circle indicates that this supplier is “Contracted” with the University – meaning we have solicited, negotiated and awarded competitively. Best pricing should be received with the use of contracted suppliers.
- A computer screen Icon designates that this is supplier is an IT provider.
- An open box icon designates that this supplier is an Internal Campus provider – such as UIUC F&S Stores and Receiving; UIUC ECE Stores, etc.
- A red circle icon with a slash through it indicates that UIMC is restricted from buying from this supplier.
- A green box with MBE in white lettering is the Icon for “General Minority” or a Diverse Supplier.
Well, this is all good, however I want to order products that are sustainable. How do I do this?
Unfortunately, the nature of the on-line catalogs is not “standardized”. Each supplier has their own catalog, and their own way of entering the information. Some suppliers are very good about identifying “green” products or products that are from diverse suppliers, however this is dependent on the supplier’s capabilities.
The University of Illinois iBuy catalogs offer a variety of sustainable/green products but just looking at the supplier page is not going to reveal those products on the “home” page. I have taken this opportunity to introduce you to a couple of different contracted Vendors who offer different Product Types, which allows the shopper to sort by their icon designations
- Office Max, Incorporated is the Office Supply Contracted Vendor with the University. They list the different product types that they use in their catalog to identify products which offer a “Special” designation.
- The Icon of a rainbow with MWBE identifies Diverse Suppliers
- The Icon of the Green Recycle Symbol identified Recycled Goods
- The Icon SB in Blue identified Small Business Suppliers.
- Grainger’s Catalog list their product Services from a drop down of “services” on their Home Page. They include an over view of their recycle program; their Hazardous Recycling Services, Safety Services Programs, and Their Supplier Diversity goals.
- If the reader clicks on Supplier Diversity Products a list (with pictures) appears showing categories of products available. Products under the category show an icon image that looks like a metal round control. This icon represents “this product is manufactured or supplied by a minority, woman owned, or disadvantaged business”.
- Green Resources is indicated with a green leaf icon to help locate products that may help run a greener facility. Products identified with this leaf fall into two categories of more environmentally preferable products – those that are certified by independent organizations and those products that have “green environmental attributes”.
- The organizations such as Energy Star, WaterSence, BioPreferred, etc. show their logos with a link to their web sites.
- From the Home Page of VWR’s Catalog under “MORE”, follow this link to “About VWR”. Under the title About VWR there is a list of everything you ever wanted to know about the company, along with “Supplier Diversity” and “Sustainability”.
- Click on Supplier Diversity (either on the left hand side, or next to the picture – if you scroll down. A list of all the categories that are supported by diverse suppliers are listed. With over 25,000 SKU’s of diverse suppliers, the end-user must pick a category of product.
- For demonstration purposes, I picked “Janitorial/Maintenance and Lunchroom supplies. This page allows the end user to search by “Criteria” which includes Environmentally Preferable and SBE (along with products in Stock and Market source).
- The SBE products are identified with the letters SBE in Dark Blue and Highlighted in Turquoise.
- The Eco-Products are shown with a green leaf, once the product category is chosen.
I hope that this brief “Did you Know” has helped in gaining insight on some of our iBuy Vendors and that the extra search functionalities help in purchasing the products of your choice.