Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

M-marketsite online catalog sees strong growth, gets new user interface

When M-marketsite, U-M's online catalog for ordering everything from office supplies and furniture to computers and lab equipment, was introduced in 2003, many of the technological tools we now take for granted didn't even exist.


More information — including FAQs and an overview of the new M-marketsite interface — is available on the Procurement Services website.

Fast forward 10 years and the use of technology has exploded, both in the workplace and at home, and M-marketsite is no exception. Since its debut, more than 1 million purchase orders have been processed through the system. And its use continues to increase as more employees use the tool to meet their diverse purchasing needs.

In fiscal year 2004, for example, the university community placed about 26,000 orders worth approximately $4 million through the system. By contrast, more than 150,000 orders valued at $63 million were placed through the end of May in FY 2013.

"We're pleased that the university community has embraced using M-marketsite, and are very encouraged that usage continues to expand in a significant way every year," says Nancy Hobbs, director of procurement services. "The system was developed to make the purchasing experience at the university as easy and convenient as possible, whether our users are placing a small order from a local supplier or making a major purchase from a national vendor. "

To make the M-marketsite user experience even better, the tool is getting a new interface. The new interface, which streamlines navigation to make the online catalog even easier and more efficient to use, will be made available to users across the university this month, but its use won't be required until Dec. 15.

Both the current and new M-marketsite interfaces will be available until the changeover date to ensure an easy and seamless transition. Users, however, are encouraged to begin using the new interface when they see the notification within M-marketsite that it can be activated.

"The new user interface for M-marketsite is extremely intuitive and easy to use. It has a number of new features that improve the user experience, including a cleaner design, a menu-search function, and the capability to view the items in your shopping cart from anywhere within the tool," says Hobbs.

Because of the way the new interface is built, users will be able to adapt to it quickly and be able to take advantage of its new features with minimal, if any, disruption.

Hobbs also noted that M-marketsite supports the institution's cost containment efforts because it includes only catalogs from vendors that have undergone a competitive bid process and agreed to specified pricing for the university community.

"In addition to the special, discounted pricing available through M-marketsite, administrative costs are typically reduced at the unit level because it's not necessary for them to bid orders that are placed through M-marketsite," Hobbs says.