Magic Behind Purchasing
In the bustling world of an educational entity like Champlain Valley Educational Services, the collaboration between divisions is evident. Behind the scenes of CVES’ successes is a dedicated team of purchasing clerks led by a purchasing agent, striving to ensure smooth operations and efficient resource management. As the organization grows and ventures into new territories, the challenges intensify, but so does the resolve to better serve the community.
“For the most part, what we do is for CVES, but it’s interwoven with component districts. We have a lot of purchases orders for School Support Services, which does work directly with schools, and I’ll run the P.O. for them and get the products delivered to the schools,” Purchasing Clerk Dee Akin said. “We are in the unseen background of how everything is done and filtered through.”
BEHIND THE SCENES
One of the key groups driving CVES’ success is the purchasing team of Akin, Stephanie Trombly and Jessica Lagree. They rely on collaboration amongst themselves, across CVES divisions and with vendors to ensure all purchases and transactions are properly completed.
At the forefront of Trombly’s responsibilities as the purchasing agent is managing supply purchase orders, a task that requires meticulous attention and adherence to regulations. According to BOCES requirements, nothing can be procured without a purchase order, making this aspect vital for divisions planning, projects, events, and day-to-day operations.
Lagree plays a pivotal role in managing various aspects of management services, from handling invoicing and generating reports to managing travel expenses and conference approvals. Additionally, she is responsible for processing internal invoices within the company, handling cash collections, credit card payments and assisting with payroll-related tasks.
Akin’s primary responsibility is managing the Accounts Payable process, overseeing purchase orders, and ensuring proper documentation for payments. They handle a significant volume of invoices, receipts and emails from vendors, making sure all transactions are accurately recorded and resolved promptly.
MANAGING THE WORK
In the 2022-23 school year, 2,400 purchase orders were released, which is the greatest number of purchase orders in a single school year at CVES in recent history. This high volume of work led to the purchasing team managing 16,800 transactions. These transactions are made up of purchase orders, Section VII official payments, travel vouchers, cross contracts, and Medicare payments.
“I feel proud of everybody who did things that had a great outcome,” Trombly said. “I’m always seeing things that I can improve to help better benefit a certain area. But I was really happy with the purchasing of minivans because I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into accomplishing that.”
The two Chrysler minivans for the Rise Center for Success (Special Education) was just one success aided by the purchasing team. Other divisions benefited by getting new cabinets, Xerox machines, connections with local farms or painting projects, just to name a few.
While transactions and orders are still high, the work ethic of the purchasing team doesn’t slow them down. They excelled in the 2022-23 year, reaching new heights, and they have plans to continue growing and adapting for the new year.
“In the new school year, we’re looking at lot of our processes and seeing how we can make things faster and easier while still getting the same high-quality results,” Lagree said.
Want more stories? Click here to read the 2022-2023 Annual Report.