Organization/Communications Issues and Progress to Date
The issues being addressed and SPIT's current achievements toward
improving organization and communications resources that are available
to help sponsored research administration staff perform their work
are listed below. Changes and enhancements that are being planned
follow the achievements list. The links provide detailed information,
which is further down on this page.
- The University should continue to build on the success of RAIN
to enhance the training of and communication among research administrators.
- Mechanisms for routinely eliciting "customer satisfaction"
would allow managers in DRDA, Financial Operations Sponsored Programs,
Contract Administration, and other research-related units to reward
and build high levels of customer service.
- When a new project/grant is set up with the incorrect administrative
point-of-contact, reports and questions are misdirected.
- Support for complex or specialized purchase orders and the timeliness
of purchase orders could be improved by a closer working relationship
between Purchasing and research units.
- Research units and the central offices that serve them have
not formed a formal partnership to define the services that sponsored
research requires, how those services are to be provided, and
how emerging issues in sponsored research should be addressed.
Progress to Date
Coming Soon to the U-M Research Community
- DRDA developing Research Contracts Course
- A-133 Audit Update
- SPIT Final Report
Progress to Date Details
SPIT Web Site Launched (December 2002):
In September 2002, SPIT, with support from MAIS, launched
a Web site to inform the research community about its efforts to
improve research administration processes at U-M. The SPIT
Web site lists the issues the team is addressing, as well as
its progress toward solutions. Where appropriate, links are provided
to central office Web sites and additional information. The SPIT
Web site includes an electronic copy of the quarterly reports, the
team's original charge, and a list of team members and the units
Evaluation Model for SPIT Improvements
To ensure that the research community is aware of the work
of SPIT, SPIT has formed a subcommittee to evaluate issue resolutions
and the related communications. (You may have already participated
in the sub-committee's evaluation process if you completed the survey
at the November RAN meeting.) The survey
results provided helpful information on the effectiveness of
Federal Audit of UM Purchasing System
The Office of Naval Research (ONR), the arm of the federal
government that audits the University for compliance with procurement
policies and procedures, completed a full audit of the University
procurement system on November 1, 2002. Excerpts from the preliminary
University of Michigan should ensure that a price or cost analysis
is performed on each federally funded purchase order and that the
file contains sufficient documentation to indicate the type and
extent of analysis performed.
Note from SPIT:
This ONR recommendation is not new and in reality is a federal
mandate, which will have a direct impact on the research community.
Buying staff must ensure that a price or cost analysis is performed
on each federally funded purchase order and that the file contains
sufficient documentation to indicate the type and extent of the
analysis performed. Often, Purchasing Services is asked to process
complex and often high-dollar products and services at the final
hour. Because of increased ONR pressure to develop "sufficient
documentation," expect increased questioning from the buying
staff for information, and allow a minimum of 15-20 business days
for processing federally sponsored purchases. To reduce purchase-order
processing time, it is imperative that buying staff are contacted
as soon as a procurement need is identified.
University of Michigan should ensure that small business solicitation
documentation is included in all purchase orders in excess of $100,000
issued under Federal prime contracts in accordance with FAR 52.219-9(d)(11).
Note from SPIT:
ONR scrutinized the University's Small Business Subcontracting
Program. In addition to this recommendation, ONR has mandated that
Purchasing Services require Principal Investigators to provide a
written statement with the progress reports SF294 and 295's. In
the October 2002 submittal of the SF294 and SP295 reports, three
small-business subcontracting plans fell short of meeting goals,
which subjects the University to possible penalties.
At the recommendation of SPIT, Purchasing Services began quarterly
reporting of underutilized business activity and now provides additional
assistance to the Principal Investigator and Research Administrators
in meeting small-business subcontracting plan goals. One improvement
has been to make Austin Tetra's searchable vendor database available
to the University research community. In addition, Purchasing Services
also searches the Small Business Administration's vendor database
to identify and provide HUB zone vendors to the research community.