Diane Holley, Editor

The Buyers Network is published monthly by the Purchasing Division of the WV Department of Administration to promote better value in public purchasing.

Welcome to the June Issue of The Buyers Network!

Article in this issue:

Annual Savings of Over $30 Million Expected
Purchasing Card Program Captures the Attention of State Government Leaders

Director's Comments
Future Plans for the Purchasing Division

Information Technology User Group and EXPO

Department Honors Tenured Employees During Public Service Recognition Week

Goodyear Strikes Expected to Affect Inventory Levels

From the Agency's Perspective
Variety of Issues Raised by Agency Level Purchasers

Know Your Numbers...
Stressing the Importance of Writing Numerals and Using Measurements Correctly in Specifications

Current Statewide Contract Update

Winning with TEAMwork

New Legislation Expands Purchasing Card Power

Statewide Contract for Copiers Extended

Questions? ... Just Ask!

Annual Savings of Over $30 Million Expected

Purchasing Card Program Captures the Attention of State Government Leaders

Governor Cecil H. Underwood, State Treasurer John Perdue, Department of Administration Secretary Jim Teets, and Auditor Glen Gainer III joined officials from One Valley Bank and VISA in April to introduce the state's new credit card program.

What's the big deal? Gainer predicts that by using this program, the state will realize a savings of over $30 million annually, along with a reduction in paperwork. The pilot program, which began in October, 1996 with nine state agencies participating, showed the potential for substantial savings.

As of April 30, 1997, with approximately 220 cards issued, there has been a total of 9, 095 transactions, with a total volume of over $1.1 million. The average transaction was $122.70, according to Dick Estill, Purchasing Card Administrator.

During the 1996 Legislative Session, when the bill was passed to create the Purchasing Card Program, one of the key factors pushing this legislation was the large number of purchases made under $500. In most cases, it was costing the state more to process the invoice than its actual amount.

"Using the West Virginia Purchasing Card will cut the number of pieces of paper per transaction from 10 down to three or four, which will ultimately save both time and money," Gov. Underwood said. "The end result should be a drastic reduction in bureaucratic paperwork, a significant savings on employee time and much more responsible use of taxpayers' money."

Gainer explained that approximately 90 percent of all purchasing transactions are less than $1,000, amounting to about 5 percent of the total dollars spent. Therefore, state workers are spending about 80 percent of their time handling these small transactions. "We estimate that the use of this purchasing card will save the Auditor's Office from processing 500,000 invoices per year," he said.

Perdue also stressed the time savings to the Treasurer's Office. A reduction of over 6,000 checks has been made since the pilot program. Using private sector estimates, he predicts that the processing cost per invoice is between $75 to $200. "If state agencies fully implement the Purchasing Card Program, our potential savings could amount to millions of dollars per year."

Teets explained that proper safeguards have been considered during the program's implementation. "This program is much safer than the old paper system. Once that card is swiped, it is immediately entered electronically. We know who made the purchase, when, and where. The only thing we don't know is why, which the agency will log internally."

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Director's Comments...

Future Plans for the Purchasing Division

An important issue is education and training for state agency procurement officers and vendors who are interested in doing business with the state of West Virginia. In April, we offered a purchasing conference which 235 agency purchasers attended. We are now making plans for our 1998 spring conference.

As a result of other commitments which will be consuming our staff's time, the Purchasing Division will not be conducting a fall conference this year.

One of these commitments is the planning of a vendor conference targeting West Virginia businesses. This training will hopefully offer the vendors a better understanding of the state's purchasing process, perhaps resulting in a more active role in competing for state government business.

It is still unsure as to when, where and how this training will be conducted. We are looking at different forums, including two-way video conferencing, satellite transmission, and regional workshops. We are making every attempt to incorporate technology into this training.

There are many other plans which may take time to evolve, although the concepts behind these initiatives are quite clear:

  • Assist West Virginia vendors;
  • Incorporate technology in our programs and services;
  • Encourage agency and vendor in-volvement on improvements made to enhance our processes;
  • Ensure a fair and equitable framework that everyone can understand, both buyers and sellers;
  • Obtain the biggest bang for the buck;
  • Maintain the integrity of the purchasing system; and,
  • Preserve and spend tax dollars wisely.
  • To implement any improvement, agency involvement is extremely important. Let us know what is working for you and what is not. This information will help guide us in the future.

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Information Technology User Group and Expo

Information Services & Communications (IS&C) Division will be hosting its third annual Information Processing Statewide Contract Exposition on September 3-4, 1997 at the Charleston Civic Center. Workshops will also be offered varying in topic. Mark your calendars...more details to come soon!

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Department Honors Tenured Employees During Public Service Recognition Week

For the past four years, West Virginia has joined other state and local governments in celebrating the service which our workers provide every day. Each May, time is set aside to honor the men and women who serve America: federal, state and local government employees.

On May 5-9, 1997, several activities were planned at the State Capitol. The events included musical entertainment, food vendors, line dancing, a Goodies Bake Off, and, most importantly, award ceremonies honoring tenured employees.

On Wednesday, May 7th, Gov. Cecil H. Underwood conducted a special ceremony to recognize those employees with 30+ years of service. On Friday, May 9th, each department was encouraged to plan their own recognition ceremonies. In the Department of Administration, Cabinet Secretary Jim Teets recognized employees with 20, 25, 30, and 35 service years. Also, employees with superior attendance, those who did not use any sick leave during a full year, were also recognized.

The Purchasing Division is pleased to recognize those of our employees who were honored during this awards ceremony:

25 Years of Service

Janie Taylor (Surplus Property)

20 Years of Service

Thelma Rose (CPF)

Superior Attendance

Willadean Fisher (Acquisition & Contract Administration)

Michael Kincaid (CPF)

Chuck Loughner (Central Stockroom)

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Goodyear Strikes Expected to Affect Inventory Levels

Striking workers from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company recently approved a six-year contract, ending a seven-state walkout. Goodyear is the current vendor on the statewide contract for new tires (SWC-NTIRES).

Agencies may have been experiencing difficulty in receiving necessary orders in a timely manner as a result of this strike. According to Buyer Supervisor Ron Price, Goodyear has notified him that the company is estimating that it will take approximately 30 days to gradually build up their normal inventory levels; therefore, deliveries on this statewide contract may continue to be delayed temporarily.

"During this interim, agencies should follow delegated purchasing guidelines for dollar values below $10,000," he said. "However, if the quantity of the order is in excess of $10,000, they should wait until Goodyear is able to supply, because it would take longer for us to advertise and award the purchase order than it would take Goodyear to build up their inventory."

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From the Agency's Perspective...

Variety of Issues Raised by Agency Level Purchasers

How can we learn about the concerns of state agency purchasers? Simply ask them! This concept was the basis for the Agency Perspective on Purchasing workshop offered at the spring purchasing conference. Six agency representatives served as panelists while conference participants raised various issues which were a source of concern to them in performing their jobs. Here are some issues addressed and the solutions they shared:

Vendor Relations

  • Pay vendors on time
  • Maintain good working relationship with vendor community
  • Provide every opportunity for the vendor to promote his product
  • Log discussions with vendors
  • Monitor vendors' performance


  • Best resource: IS&C Division
  • Take time to evaluate employee needs
  • Purchase process is often lengthy and technology changes occur

Voice Mail

  • Avoid telephone tag
  • Leave descriptive messages
  • Educate employees on proper use of voice mail
  • Use alternatives to voice mail, such as telephone receptionists

Cellular Telephones

  • Some agencies currently use cellular telephones
  • Consideration of future statewide contract for cellular telephones

Statewide Contracts

  • Possibility of requiring minimum order on statewide contracts
  • Utilizing the purchasing card for statewide contract items

Internal Training

  • Cross-training encouraged
  • Request an individual to monitor training efforts

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Know Your Numbers...

Stressing the Importance of Writing Numerals and Using Measurements Correctly in Specifications

Let's talk numbers! When preparing specifications or evaluating a bid proposal, a good understanding of the use of numbers is extremely important. Inadvertently moving the decimal point one digit space in an amount definitely makes a difference.

Another important factor relating to numbers is in measurements. Do we have know the difference between the metric and United States equivalents? Do we understand the proper way to write measurements? Let's take a step back to English 101:

  • It is grammatically correct to abbreviate measures and weights if the numeral is used, e.g. 15 cu. ft.; however, if the unit of measure or weight is spelled out in full, the number should also be expressed in words.
  • If a specification consists of a series of monetary units, both mixed and even-dollar amounts, the number should include the decimal point plus two digits, e.g. The price of the book rose from $7.95 in 1970 to $8.00 in 1971 and to $8.50 in 1972.
  • Except for catalog or contract numbers, the use of no. or # should be avoided.
  • The use of the percentage symbol (%) is usually not used in running text but may be appropriate in tabulations, e.g. We reported a 55 percent drop in sales. The figures show the results: Commodity A ([-]23%); Commodity B ([-] 7%); and Commodity C ([-] 11%).
  • Round numbers and approximations are usually expressed in words, although some writers use the numeral to add emphasis.
  • Never begin a sentence with a numeral.

Now that we know a little more about the use of writing numerals... let's look at measurement units.

When requesting vendors to respond in terms of measurement, what are you expecting to receive? There are three major systems of measurement world-wide: the U.S. Customary System, the British Imperial System, and the International (Metric) System, which is used in most of the civilized world and used almost exclusively for scientific work.

With the vendor community supplying us with information, using both the metric and U.S. Customary systems, how does it all measure up? Below is an excerpt from a measurement unit chart (Source: The American Heritage Dictionary).

The moral of the story: Be cautious...A slip of a digit can cost you dollars!

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Winning with TEAMwork

By Dan Miller
Automation Manager

The popular phrase, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child, can easily relate to business. We may not be talking about a child, but perhaps a report, project, or even a system. It's all about working together for an achieved outcome.

In maintaining the automated purchasing system, it takes a team. There are many people who contribute to its successes. When I was first hired as the automation manager for the Purchasing Division, Alice Guthrie, an office assistant for the Acquisitions & Contract Administration Section, gave me a book called Winning with Teamwork, a collection of quotations.

At that time, I may not have seen the relationship between the TEAM system and teamwork...but over the years, it has become quite clear. The quotations in this book have one thing in common: Together Everyone Achieves More.

Here are some excerpts from this book:

  • If everyone is moving forward together, then the success takes care of itself. (Henry Ford)
  • The best team doesn't win nearly as often as the team that gets along best. (Dr. Rob Gilbert)
  • A team will out perform a group of individuals every time. (Anonymous)
  • Either we're pulling together or we're pulling apart. (Anonymous)
  • The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team. (John Wooden)
  • We didn't all come over in the same ship, but we're all in the same boat. (Bernard M. Baruch)
  • A team player knows that is doesn't matter who gets the credit as long as the job gets done. (The Edge)
  • I've learned one important thing about living. I can do anything I think I can - but I can't do anything alone. No one can go it alone. Create your team! (Dr. Robert Schuller)

Teamwork is what makes the purchasing system work. Everyone who logs onto the TEAM system owns a piece of it. As a result, we've definitely recruited a winning team!

If you have any questions or need access to the TEAM automated purchasing system, please contact Dan Miller, Automation Manager, at 304-558-2314.

If you are interested in your own copy of Winning with Teamwork, contact Successories Publishing directly at 1-800-535-2773. Copies are available for $8.95.

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Current Statewide Contract Activity

Information and dates (as of May 15, 1997) included in this Current Statewide Contract Update are subject to change. If you need additional information, please contact the appropriate state buyer.

Contracts Awarded

Contract: THERM
Description: Electronic Thermometers
File: 31
Effective Date: 05/01/97
Vendor: General Medical Corporation

Contract: CANLINER
Description: Plastic Can Liners
File: 22
Effective Date: 06/01/97
Vendor: Unisource

Contracts to be Bid or Under Evaluation

Contract: CM
Description: Copiers
File: 33
Bid Opening: 03/04/97
Under Evaluation: Yes Contract: G-RAIL
Description: Guardrail and Posts
File: 33
Bid Opening: 04/22/97
Under Evaluation: Yes Contract: OIL
Description: Lubricants and Oils
File: 33
Bid Opening: 06/25/97
Under Evaluation: To Be Opened Contract: TCONES
Description: Traffic Cones & Flags
File: 22
Bid Opening: 05/14/97
Under Evaluation: Yes Contract: EL-TOOLS
Description: Portable Electric Handtools
File: 22
Bid Opening: 06/18/97
Under Evaluation: To Be Opened Contract: MH-TOOLS
Description:Mechanic Handtools
File: 22
Bid Opening: 06/18/97
Under Evaluation: To Be Opened

Contracts Renewed

Contract: WTC
Description: Chemical Water Treatment
File: 22
Effective Date: 07/01/97
Vendor: P.B. & S. Chemical Company - Consolidated Chemical Company Contract: DUP
Description: Digital Duplicators
File: 42
Effective Date: 05/15/97
Vendor: American Office Systems Contract: CLRM
Description: Classroom & Meeting Room Furniture
File: 42
Effective Date: 05/15/97
Vendor: Virco Contract: SYSFURN
Description: Modular Systems
File: 42
Effective Date: 03/01/97
Vendor: Capitol Business - Contemporary Galleries - Contract Business - Interiors

Contracts Expired

Contract: FAX
Description: Facsimile Machines
File: 21 Expiration Date: 04/30/97

Contract: WOOD
Description: General Wooden Office Furniture
File: 42 Expiration Date: 04/01/97


Wiping Cloths RECMGT
Records Management TEMP
Temporary Services CARPET
Carpet & Rugs MV
Motor Vehicles DC BATT
Dry Cell Batteries PC
Police Cruisers DRESS


I.V. Solutions & Accessories PHOTO
Photography Film & Supplies SUTURES
Surgical Sutures ELEC-HDW
Electric Cable & Hardware SAT
Satellite Transponder Time DWMS
Dishwashing Materials IPTEMP
Temporary Services - Information Processing

Purchasing Division Buying Staff
Questions concerning any of the contracts listed above, please contact the appropriate buyers:

File 21
Pam Jones

File 22
Jim Jackson

File 31
Charlyn Miller

File 33
Ron Price

File 41
Evan Williams

File 42
Dick Estill

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New Legislation Expands Purchasing Card Power

With the passage of Senate Bill 563 during the 1997 Legislative Session, Purchasing Card limits were authorized to be set by rules as promulgated by the State Auditor and the Department of Administration, according to Dick Estill, Purchasing Card Administrator.

Once the methodology has been established, this allowance will provide for the payment of utilities and maintenance contracts which often exceed $500.

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Statewide Contract for Copiers Extended

Buyer Supervisor Ron Price has extended the statewide contract for copiers (CM95) until June 30, 1997. Agencies may continue to place orders for new placements at this time. In order to eliminate any problems in processing payments, delivery of equipment placed against CM95 should be taken no later than June 30th. Agencies may continue the monthly rental of equipment until the new copier contract is in place and the new equipment ordered is received. Questions may be directed to Price at (304) 558-0492.

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Questions? ... Just Ask!

Are you unsure of certain purchasing procedures? ... Do you need to know what printing services Consolidated Publishing Facility provides? ... Do you have a question regarding travel requests? ... Would you want to know what surplus property is available?... If you need information concerning any function within the Purchasing Division, complete the form below:



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