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Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming PantherExpress System Ready 

What does the Scientific Supplier Consolidation mean to University Purchasers?

In order to streamline the purchasing process, effective July 1, 2012 many suppliers of scientific supplies, equipment, and instrumentation will be consolidated and will no longer have direct supplier accounts through PRISM. Instead, purchasers will be able to benefit from a one-stop-shopping experience by using the Fisher Scientific punchout on PantherExpress System to purchase a full breadth of familiar products with all applicable discounts.

These consolidated suppliers and their respective products are still available to University purchasers, but they have been streamlined through the Fisher Scientific consolidated purchasing channel. Refer to this directory for further details and a list of suppliers that will no longer be directly available through PRISM. 

What about PantherExpress System Access and Training?

In order to purchase products from consolidated suppliers, purchasers must be registered PantherExpress System users. PantherExpress System requires different levels of training for different user roles. Refer to the System Access and Training page for details regarding training requirements and training schedules. If your department has questions regarding user roles and responsibilities, please contact Customer Service.

 Placing Orders and Handling Quotes

Is it appropriate to contact a consolidated supplier directly to place an order?

University purchasers may directly contact suppliers for quotes and information on products that require specific supplier expertise. However, the order must ultimately be placed through Fisher Scientific on the PantherExpress System.

What if I have a quote from a supplier? How will I be able to order it through Fisher?

If you get a quote from one of the consolidated suppliers, you will be able to access your quote once it is entered in the Fisher Scientific punchout. The supplier will work with Fisher to enter your quote electronically to make it available for the next time you access the Fisher Scientific punchout. For more information or to learn how to use My Quotes through Fisher Scientific's punchout, please refer to the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series for My Quotes.

How long will it take to get my quote from Fisher Scientific?

Typical turnaround time for a quote to be entered into the My Quotes system from the time the supplier provides Fisher Scientific with the quote is 24 hours.

Why is the item I am purchasing showing a higher price in the Fisher Scientific punchout?

Even though the item cost may be higher from Fisher Scientific's punchout, the consolidated supplier may be charging a shipping/handling fee.

Fisher Scientific does not charge a shipping and handling fee, and they ship next day delivery for most University orders. If the supplier has confirmed in writing that they do not charge shipping and the item cost is still higher to purchase through Fisher please contact Purchase, Pay & Travel Customer Service.

 Searching the Fisher Scientific Punchout

How do I search for items in the new punchout?

There are numerous ways to search for your items in the Fisher Scientific punchout. The easiest and fastest way to search is using the Place Rapid Order feature. To learn about this and other search features, please view the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series on How to Search the Fisher Punchout, which contains comprehensive list with screen shots of the search capabilities available.

What if I can’t find an item that I used to buy from the consolidated Supplier?

If you have the Supplier part number, you can enter it in the Place Rapid Order feature to locate the current Fisher part number. If the item is not available in the punchout, you can contact a Fisher Scientific customer service representative, dedicated to handling University of Pittsburgh purchases, who will be able to set up a non-catalog part number for you to place your order quickly and efficiently. If you plan to order this item more than once, we suggest adding it to a Personal Hotlist. For more assistance, please contact one of our University of Pittsburgh dedicated Fisher Scientific representatives.

 Advanced Purchasing Features: Hotlist and Rapid Order

I order the same items repeatedly, is there a feature to efficiently reorder these items?

Yes. My Hotlists and My Templates allow you to save lists of favorites for quick and efficient reorders. 

How do I use My Hotlists and My Templates?

To learn more, please view the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series on How to Search the Fisher Punchout, which details how to create your personal hotlist or template.

How do I use the Place Rapid Order feature?

If you know the Fisher catalog number, Manufacturer or Supplier part number, you can place that information in the available box along with the quantity you would like to order. If the part exists in the Fisher Scientific system, you will be able to add it to your cart. If it does not exist, you will need to contact Fisher Scientific Customer Service representative, dedicated to handling University of Pittsburgh purchases, who will be able to set up a no- catalog part number for you to place your order quickly and efficiently. For more assistance, please view the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series on How to Search the Fisher Punchout or feel free to contact one of our University of Pittsburgh dedicated Fisher Scientific representatives.

 Maintenance Agreements and Service Requests

What if I want to purchase a service agreement from a consolidated supplier?

You will be able to order your service agreement from the consolidated supplier through the Fisher Scientific punchout. The suppliers and Fisher Scientific will work together to make sure you order is entered into the punchout and made available for you to order electronically by utilizing the My Quotes functionality. Please contact one of our University of Pittsburgh dedicated Fisher Scientific representatives . For more information or to learn how to use My Quotes through Fisher Scientific’s punchout, please refer to the PantherExpress System Did You Know Series on How to Access Your Fisher Scientific Quotes.

Does the University have a policy for Maintenance Agreements and Service Requests?

Yes, please refer to the University of Pittsburgh Policy FN 14, which explains the process for Maintenance Agreements and Service Requests.

I have a piece of equipment from one of the consolidated suppliers that I do not have a service/maintenance agreement for that needs service. What should I do?

The University has a contract for Equipment Maintenance with Specialty Underwriters. Specialty Underwriters has provided a University of Pittsburgh dedicated website, and handles equipment and instrumentation purchased from any supplier. In many cases, you will be able to save costs by using Specialty Underwriters. View the Specialty Underwriters page for more information.

I have a unique question about Maintenance Agreements or Service Requests.

If you have additional questions about how to place your service or maintenance agreement, please contact Customer Service for additional assistance.

Savings and Efficiencies 

What are the savings benefits?

The efforts of both phases of this initiative will present significant savings to the University, including product cost advantages, shipping and handling charges, and order processing savings. Overall, the University will save approximately $700,000 to $950,000 annually.

How does consolidation increase efficiency?

The Scientific Supplier Consolidation Initiative increases efficiency in the following ways:

  • By streamlining the purchasing process from electronic order placement to electronic invoicing.
  • By decreasing processing time.
  • By providing a one-stop-shopping experience.

P-card Policy Updates 

P-card policy changes (first announced on January 7, 2015) allow purchases for lab chemicals and biological supplies that meet the following criteria:
  • The item is not on the Select Agents and Toxins List or the DHS Chemicals Interest List*
  • The item does not require Biosafety Level 3 facilities or practices;
  • The item is not a controlled substance or drug (including prescription drugs)
  • The item is not a gas;
  • The item is not radioactive; and
  • The supplier will not accept a University Purchase Order (PO).

*Lab chemicals (that meet the above criteria) purchased with a P-card must be on the lab’s chemical inventory list. See page 4 of the P-card Policy for details.

For further details about P-card purchases (including nonscientific P-card purchasing guidelines), please review the P-card policy (specifically pages 3-5).  

 Scientific Supplier Revalidation Process

What is the scientific supplier revalidation process?

On an annual basis, suppliers are asked to confirm their participation and pricing with Fisher in order to remain in the Scientific Supplier Consolidation Initiative.

Were any changes made to consolidated suppliers?

Changes to several consolidated suppliers have been made to accommodate specific product purchases. If you purchase from one of the suppliers below, you can read more about them by clicking the supplier’s name:

  • Carolina Biological Supply Company
    • In order to accommodate the need to have a specific delivery date for live organisms to be delivered, all orders for live organisms from Carolina Biological Supply Company should be placed directly with Carolina Biological Supply Company using the Non-Catalog form in the PantherExpress System. Since live organisms have a very limited shelf life, orders must be well controlled and buying directly is the best way to ensure that the strict delivery date is met. All other orders for Carolina Biological Supply Company's products should still be made through the Fisher Scientific punch-out in the PantherExpress System.
  • Ecolab
  • Orasure
  • R&D Systems
  • Trinity Biotech
    • After reviewing the pricing and ordering process with Trinity Biotech it was determined that Trinity Biotech would no longer be eligible to participate in the Scientific Supplier Consolidation Initiative. All purchases for Trinity Biotech should be made through the PantherExpress System on a standard form (not through the Fisher Scientific punchout) in order to ensure that the University is receiving the most favorable pricing.