Purchasing Manager, Department of Internal Medicine
Nominator, Eric Mullen: "Linda is a proven leader and is someone people like to work for. She created a department that didn't exist 10 years ago and made us wonder how we ever got along without it. Linda sees the “big picture”. She knows why we're all here and what we need. Linda is the type of person that could be successful in any role she wanted to try."
Linda was hired to lead the Department's newly created centralized purchasing unit as directed by the Medical School. She leads a staff of three people and has turned the until into a respected team within Internal Medicine. Linda takes a hands-on approach to training staff and works closely with them on a day-to-day basis. She is an excellent mentor to her staff and excellent partner for all. She developed staff so well each of her first three employees were promoted to other positions within the University/Michigan Medicine. Linda is very good at maintaining internal controls and being a liaison between the Department, University Procurement, and Accounts Payable
Linda's entire job is providing customer service. Linda is the point person for our new recruit moving expense payments. She works directly with the new recruit and ensures payments are made to the right place, the right person, at the right time. We have had instances where new recruits needed a moving advance, sometimes immediately before the holiday break or shortly before their move, and Linda gets them what they need. When labs began to reopen after the 2020 pandemic shutdown, Linda's team faced large amounts of research purchase orders as lab managers ramped up their operations. Because of social distancing rules, lab staff had to stagger their shifts. The orders were coming at all hours and Linda and her team did everything they could to accommodate everyone, even if it called for Linda to take orders late into the night. Linda understands the purchasing policies very well and is a resource for all of us. However, there are times where we may need to make exceptions because items may not be available through regular suppliers. Linda works with the finance team, the customer, and department leadership for exception approvals to get the customer what they need in a timely manner. Linda has a research background and can see things from a research and administrative perspective.
Linda has made many but I'll focus on three of them.
- Linda created a well-run centralized purchasing unit from scratch. In an institution where change is not widely accepted, this was very difficult to do AND get people to buy-in. She developed the relationship with University Procurement, she developed the policies, she hired and trained the staff, and she worked with pilot Divisions to develop best practices. She also had to prove to Investigators and Divisions that her unit could provide value before they agreed to be partners. The result has been more control over the purchasing process. Ordering is tracked systematically, receiving is done systematically, preferred vendors are used when they should be, the University Procurement policies are being followed, and account reconciliation is easier because of our consistent ordering process.
- Linda has moved all Divisional customers to the Purchasing Request Form (PRF). This is an electronic form used to send orders to Linda's team. The form populates the purchasing database with the requestor, funding information, vendor, formal quote, description of items to be ordered and an urgency label. Prior to the form, lab orders came to Linda in an e-mail. The e-mails had to be organized, short codes were often incorrect or missing, a record was not generated, follow-up was done via e-mail and mostly by request, and the e-mails were scattered within the purchasing group because the order could have been placed by any of their 4 staff. The PRF has ‘required’ fields needed to place the order, it keeps a record of when it was entered and the order status so the customer can view the progress electronically. Everything is in one place and tracking is easy, regardless of who requested it or who entered it.
- Linda has streamlined the moving expense reimbursement process. Faculty affairs establishes the contact with the recruit and provides the needed forms. Linda takes it from there. Finance personnel used to be involved in the process but acted as a middle-man, not providing much value. Linda was processing all paperwork at the end of the process and decided she can work directly with the faculty member and process the paperwork with the Payroll Department.