Rapid fire with Rick LeBlanc

From high-tech research equipment to hay bales, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) purchases a wide variety of items to support its teaching and learning, research and administrative activities.

To get a closer look at how the university purchases everything from everyday supplies to specialized scientific equipment we sat down Rick Leblanc, Director of Enterprise Procurement.

Q: How would you describe the role of Enterprise Procurement at USask?

RL: We view our role as advisors and strategic partners. Our team works closely with people from areas across the entire university to make sure they are getting the best value for the items they need. This can mean working on their behalf with suppliers to negotiate prices and contracts or consulting with members of our research community to help source rare and sophisticated items.

Q: Can you give us an idea of the value of the items being purchased by USask on an annual basis?

RL: Last year that amount was more than $330 Million for contracted goods and services. That includes services or items purchased on behalf of members of the university community which ranges from the stationery and technology items that you use on a daily basis, to projects like replacing the artificial playing surface at Griffiths Stadium.

Q: What are some of the unique requests for items that come through your department?

RL: That’s one of the great things about working at this university, we are constantly being tasked with fun new challenges. Last year we helped source drones as part of a research project, tractors for the campus farm and a pet CT scanner that is now being used on animals in our veterinary college.

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Rick LeBlanc Director, Enterprise Procurement

Q: What are some of the advancements or new services that Enterprise Procurement is responsible for?

RL: As with all areas within Finance and Resources we are continually looking for more efficient ways to provide value to the university. A couple of recent accomplishments like the integration of procurement activities within ConnectionPoint and the introduction of an Indigenous business strategy standout. Both initiatives took a great deal of collaboration with other units at the university, but we are proud that we are able to take these steps to improve the delivery of procurement services on campus and enhance relationships with Indigenous companies wanting to do business with the university.

Q: How do you measure success for Enterprise Procurement?

RL: We started to create a number of different methods to track this. With the integration of procurement activities within ConnectionPoint we are now developing better service quality metrics that will help identify areas that we can improve for our customers. We’ve also introduced a new operations dashboard that tracks procurement activities at an institutional level to evaluate things like cost savings, business interactions with Indigenous companies, and return on investment.

Q: What are some of the priorities for Enterprise Procurement in the coming year?

RL: To make procurement easier for the university community. That includes streamlining and standardizing processes while getting more awareness out about how our department can be a valuable partner. That includes working with you right from the initiation of the idea of planning the purchase, going to tender, managing the contract and the disposal of items in a sustainable way.

Learn more about Procurement at USask at ConnectionPoint.usask.ca.

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