Campus Health and Safety

Procurement Platform for Compressed Gas

Following our previous SafetyWise article about the development of the Center of Laboratory Supplies (CLS) procurement platform, the first phase of the development task had been completed and the module for compressed gas procurement has been launched in April. 

During the first phase of the deployment, only the compressed gas procurement module is released to a number of selected users.  This is to ensure a smooth transition from the existing ordering practices to the new practices and to allow for performance evaluation of the procurement platform when it is being operated under the production environment.  

The gas procurement module is selected for launching during the first phase as the centralized compressed gas inventory was developed as an integral part of the procurement system.  Previously, the compressed gas cylinder inventory was only an electronic record of compressed gas used at various laboratories.  The record is not accessible to laboratory users.  To allow for more effective management of the compressed gas procurement and usage on campus, a new compressed gas inventory was developed together with the procurement platform.  A much simpler transition for managing compressed gas procurement and inventory is anticipated as compared to the chemical procurement module. Before launching the chemical procurement module, the existing Hazardous Material Inventory has to be converted and retrofitted into the procurement platform.  Integration of the Hazardous Materials Inventory System and procurement platform is more complex and may take a longer time for user to adapt.  Furthermore, the size of the gas inventory is relatively small and the data is less complex which will be easier for troubleshooting should the operation of the system under the production environment experience any unanticipated problems.

Users from several departments/units account for a large proportion of monthly gas ordering is invited to use the platform to place their orders. Unlike existing ordering practices, users are required to login to the platform instead of sending their requests to CLS.  Their login profiles were imported into the system prior to the launching. After login, a list of compressed gases available and their quantities in the CLS store will be provided to the users.  Users can select the compressed gas needed and provide delivery instruction to CLS in the platform as appropriate.  Based on previous ordering history, Chart of Account (COA) for charge back corresponds to specific user groups will be displayed in the platform.   Should users choose to use a different account for payment, they can enter another COA in the data field provided.  The record will be kept and the new COA will be made available for user’s selection during next login.

In order to help users to become more familiar with the new workflow and various functions of the platform, CLS will prepare a series of videos to demonstrate how to use various functions on the platform and address some of the more frequently ask questions anticipated.

 \\  In the end, it is our fervent hope to make the transition experience as smooth as reasonably achievable.  \\