PantherExpress

Update on Supra Office Solutions

Website shopping experience

Based on your feedback, Supra Office Solutions is making improvements to the website experience for Pitt purchasers.  Some improvements have already been implemented and others are on the way.

Shopping Lists for all items (except paper and ink cartridges-HP) are now sorted by price, low to high.  Paper is now more logically grouped by white and color - and within those groupings, sorted by size.  Ink Cartridges-HP are sorted by the type of printer.  Select Create New Order on the home page and from there select Shopping Lists to view these newly implemented improvements.

There is a major project underway to provide a new and improved office supplies website.  This project will result in a more intuitive shopping experience, which will include improvements such as sorting all product searches by price; providing more pictures and enhanced descriptions; and eliminating duplicate products.  Implementation is targeted for October 2014, after the beginning of the new academic semester. 

Prior to implementation, a rigorous test of the new website will be conducted with a pilot group of Pitt purchasers in August and September.  Please register here if you are interested in being one of several reviewers selected to be on the pilot team.  We recognize that feedback is critical to achieving the best office supplies shopping experience possible.

Pricing

Our analysis of competitor pricing (conducted in the fall of 2013) revealed total University-wide savings over the life of this new contract of $1.3 million.  While many large companies and universities have implemented standards for routine office supplies, departments here at Pitt have told us that they require unique products.  Therefore, a full and unrestricted Supra catalog of 146,000 products, including infrequently purchased items, was implemented for Pitt.  While deep discounts can be negotiated with suppliers on high purchase volume products, purchasers can expect to realize smaller discounts for infrequently purchased items since suppliers must pay more to source these items.

Shortly after contract implementation, the PantherExpress team began receiving feedback that pricing did not meet our purchasers’ expectations.  Working with the Staff Association Council, a purchaser survey was issued, and the PantherExpress team conducted an extensive review of the pricing for all individuals who provided feedback.  For these individuals, we compared pricing for all of their purchases during the past two fiscal years to current Supra pricing, and we communicated the results back to each purchaser.  These reviews have validated the overall savings that was identified at the start of this contract.  Our analysis did uncover incorrect pricing for less than a dozen of the 146,000 available products.  We immediately corrected the pricing on these items and issued refunds if purchases were made. 

The survey and pricing analysis also revealed that one of the primary issues was that website features made it difficult for Pitt purchasers to find the best values, and, as a result, purchasers inadvertently selected higher-priced, infrequently purchased alternatives.  The ability to sort by price, now available in the Shopping Lists, and the new improved website that is coming soon will make it much easier to locate the best value.  While website enhancements are under construction, we will continue to provide assistance to individual purchasers in cross referencing product codes under the old contract to the new contract and in building individual Shopping Lists.      

We apologize for any inconvenience that these issues have created, and we want you to know that we are working hard with Supra Office Solutions to meet your expectations and to achieve the same high quality shopping experience as our other University-wide punch-out suppliers.  We look forward to reporting more enhancements early this fall.

If you have questions, please contact PantherExpress Customer Service at 412-624-3578 or submit an online inquiry.


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