By Bill Martin, on 27 April 2018
I would like to share some important updates about our book procurement processes.The Acquisitions Teams run competitions to choose our main book suppliers. This helps the library’s Key Performance Area: Value for Money.
We team up with other universities to increase the strength of our bargaining hand. This also reduces administration. That is why we have joined the SUPC (Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium) Joint National Tender for book supply.
This also assists with our Key Performance Area: Systems and Processes. It sets out the standards of speed of supply and technical ability we expect from our suppliers. It also helps us follow laws to stop modern slavery and money laundering. We also use it to communicate our expectations for suppliers to have green policies.
To get the best out of this framework, we took the decision to run a local mini-competition between the book suppliers. We were working with Procurement Services to reduce the number of suppliers that we use. This will help save UCL money on administration costs, as well as deliver economies of scale.
A firm called ProQuest won the contract for our English language book supply. Some of you may remember them as Coutts. This will mean a significant change for many of us, as we stop working with Dawson Books for that material.
Dawson will continue to be to be our main supplier for most of Western Europe and Scandinavia. A new vendor in the form of EBSCO GmbH will be providing us with books from Central and Eastern Europe. Harrasowitz and Casalini also won some country work packages on the contract. I will be sending detailed guidance to selection teams later.
Titilola Ogunsowon will be our key contact for ProQuest. Ann Smith will be the contact for Dawsons and EBSCO. We have awarded contracts for one year in the first instance with an option to extend for a further two years.
A key part of the Acquisition Teams’ work over the past couple of years has been the introduction of shelf ready ordering (where the books arrive marked up ready to go directly onto the shelves with spine labels and loan status indicators, etc.). This is the first time we have had to move our main vendor under shelf ready. It means that we will have to set up our processing profiles with ProQuest before we can start ordering.
Suppliers have asked libraries to simplify their book processing. This is so they can control costs and rationalise workflows. SUPC have included this as part of the contract. I am pleased to announce that we have committed to getting as close to the new national industry standard for academic library book processing as we can.
The changes will be mostly cosmetic. We will be reducing the number of proprietary stampings from up to eight to only one. We will use the same stamp text across the whole service. We will only have one colour of date label. This will now include the name and address of the library the book belongs to. We will be placing loan status stickers on the spine of the book. This will allow us to have consistent branding across the services. It has also helped lower the cost our suppliers will charge for shelf ready servicing.
My teams will be contacting selectors about any training they will need.
Once we bed the new systems in, we will look to how we handle our smaller and specialist suppliers.