Frequently Asked Questions


Table of Contents

Becoming PantherExpress System Ready

What does the Scientific Supplier Consolidation mean to University Purchasers?

In order to streamline the purchasing process, effective July 1, 2012 many suppliers of scientific supplies, equipment, and instrumentation will be consolidated and will no longer have direct supplier accounts through PRISM.  Instead, purchasers will be able to benefit from a one-stop-shopping experience by using the Fisher Scientific punchout on PantherExpress System to purchase a full breadth of familiar products with all applicable discounts.


These suppliers and their respective products are still available to University purchasers, but they have been streamlined through the Fisher Scientific consolidated purchasing channel.  Refer to this directory for further details and a list of suppliers that will no longer be directly available through PRISM.  


What about PantherExpress System Access and Training?

In order to purchase products from consolidated suppliers, purchasers must be registered PantherExpress System users.  PantherExpress System requires different levels of training for different user roles.  Refer to the PantherExpress System Training section page for details regarding training requirements and training schedules.  If your department has questions regarding user roles and responsibliities, please contact PantherExpress Customer Service. 


Placing Orders and Handling Quotes

Is it appropriate to contact a consolidated supplier directly to place an order?

University purchasers may directly contact suppliers for quotes and information on products that require specific supplier expertise.   However, the order must ultimately be placed through Fisher Scientific on PantherExpress System. 


What if I have a quote from a supplier? How will I be able to order it through Fisher?

If you get a quote from one of the consolidated suppliers, you will be able to access your quote once it is entered into the Fisher Scientific punchout. The supplier will work with Fisher to enter your quote electronically to make it available for the next time you punch out to the Fisher Scientific punchout.  For more information or to learn how to use "My Quotes" through Fisher Scientific's punchout, please refer to the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series for My Quotes.

How long will it take to get my quote from Fisher Scientific?

Typical turnaround time for a quote to be entered into the My Quotes system from the time the supplier provides Fisher Scientific with the quote is 24 hours.

Why is the item I am purchasing showing a higher price in the Fisher Scientific punchout?


Even though the item cost may be higher from Fisher Scientific's Pitt punchout, the consolidated supplier may be charging a shipping/handling fee.

Fisher Scientific does not charge a shipping and handling fee, and they ship next day delivery for most University orders. If the supplier has confirmed in writing that they do not charge shipping and the item cost is still higher to purchase through Fisher please contact PantherExpress Customer Service, and we will investigate the issue.



Searching the Fisher Scientific Punchout


How do I search for items in the new punchout?

There are numerous ways to search for your items in the Fisher Scientific punchout. The easiest and fastest way to search is using the Place Rapid Order feature. To learn about this and other search features, please view the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series on How to Search the Fisher Punchout, which contains comprehensive list with screen shots of the search capabilities available. 


What if I can’t find an item that I used to buy from the consolidated Supplier?

If you have the Supplier part number you can enter it in the “Place Rapid Order” feature to locate the current Fisher part number. If the item is not available in the punchout, you can contact a Fisher Scientific customer service representative, dedicated to handling University of Pittsburgh purchases, who will be able to set up a non catalog part number for you to place your order quickly and efficiently. If you plan to order this item more than once, we suggest adding it to a Personal Hotlist. For more assistance, please contact one of our University of Pittsburgh dedicated Fisher Scientific representatives



Advanced Purchasing Features: Hotlist and Rapid Order

I order the same items repeatedly, is there a feature to efficiently reorder these items?

Yes. My Hotlists and My Templates allow you to save lists of favorites for quick and efficient reorders.  


How do I use My Hotlists and My Templates?

To learn more, please view the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series on How to Search the Fisher Punchout, which details how to create your personal hotlist or template.


How do I use the Place Rapid Order feature?

If you know the Fisher catalog number, Manufacturer or Supplier part number, you can place that information in the available box along with the quantity you would like to order.  As long as the part exists in the Fisher Scientific system, you will be able to add it to your cart. If it does not exist, you will need to contact Fisher Scientific Customer Service representative, dedicated to hanlding University of Pittsburgh purchases, who will be able to set up a non catalog part number for you to place your order quickly and efficiently.  For more assistance, please view Did You Know Series on How to Search the Fisher Punchout or feel free to contact one of our University of Pittsburgh dedicated Fisher Scientific representatives.


Ordering Radioactive Items

Before July 1, 2013, I ordered radioactive items from MP Biomedicals. How can I order these now that MP Biomedicals' hosted catalog is gone?

You can order the same radioactive items using the new hosted catalog from Fisher Scientific that is populated with only MP Biomedicals radioactive items. Just enter the MP Biomedicals or Fisher Scientific part number in the search box of the Supplier Showcase in the PantherExpress System just as you did to search for the MP Biomedicals part before. When you find the item you want to purchase just click on Add to Cart and check out as you normally would. To see the entire list of radioactive items, you can use the Advanced Search feature and enter "Fisher" into the Supplier field, then enter "MP Biomedicals" into the Manufacturer Name field. If you have questions on searching the hosted catalogs please review this article.

Will my radioactive order be approved by the Radiation Safety Office if I order through Fisher Scientific?

Yes, orders using the Fisher Scientific radioactive items hosted catalog are coded to route the requisition to the Radiation Safety Office for approval. For more information about purchasing radioactive items please visit the Radiation Safety Office website.


Maintenance Agreements and Service Requests


What if I want to purchase a service agreement from a consolidated supplier?

You will be able to order your service agreement from the consolidated supplier through the Fisher Scientific punchout. The suppliers and Fisher Scientific will work together to make sure you order is entered into the punchout and made available for you to order electronically by utilizing the My Quotes functionality. Please contact one of our University of Pittsburgh dedicated Fisher Scientific representatives.  For more information or to learn how to use My Quotes through Fisher Scientific’s punchout, please refer to the Did You Know Series on How to Access Your Fisher Scientific Quotes Through PantherExpress System.


Does the University have a policy for Maintenance Agreements and Service Requests?


Yes, please refer to the University of Pittsburgh Policy 05-02-08, which explains the process for Maintenance Agreements and Service Requests.


I have a piece of equipment from one of the consolidated suppliers that I do not have a service/maintenance agreement for that needs service. What should I do?

The University has a contract for Equipment Maintenance with Specialty Underwriters.  Specialty Underwriters has provided a University of Pittsburgh dedicated website, and handles equipment and instrumentation purchased from any supplier.  In many cases, you will be able to save costs by using Specialty Underwriters. View the Specialty Underwriter page for more information and frequently asked questions. 


I have a unique question about Maintenance Agreements or Service Requests.

If you have additional questions about how to place your service or maintenance agreement, please contact PantherExpress Customer Service for additional assistance.


Savings and Efficiencies

What are the savings benefits?

The efforts of both phases of this initiative will present significant savings to the University, including product cost advantages, shipping and handling charges, and order processing savings.  Overall, the University will save approximately $700,000 to 950,000 annually.


How does consolidation increase efficiency? 

The Scientific Supplier Consolidation Initiative increases efficiency in the following ways: 

P-card Policy Updates

Recent P-card policy changes (first announced on January 7, 2015) allow purchases for lab chemicals and biological supplies that meet the following criteria:

*Lab chemicals (that meet the above criteria) purchased with a P-card must be on the lab’s chemical inventory list.  See page 4 of the P-card Policy for details. 

For further details about P-card purchases (including nonscientific P-card purchasing guidelines), please review the recently revised P-card policy (specifically pages 3-5).    


Scientific Supplier Revalidation Process

What is the scientific supplier revalidation process?

On an annual basis, suppliers are asked to confirm their participation and pricing with Fisher in order to remain in the Scientific Supplier Consolidation Initiative.


When was the last time suppliers were validated?

We are pleased to report that all consolidated suppliers have confirmed their participation in the Scientific Supplier Consolidation Initiative for calendar year 2015.  This means that University customers can place orders for consolidated supplier’s product offerings through the Fisher Scientific punchout in the PantherExpress System, and any University pricing that the consolidated supplier has established will be applied.

Were any changes made to consolidated suppliers?

Changes to several consolidated suppliers have been made to accommodate specific product purchases. If you purchase from one of the suppliers below, you can read more about them by clicking the supplier’s name: