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Billiken Buy

Billiken Buy is Saint Louis University's eProcurement solution that aims to simplify the purchasing and payment processes at Saint Louis University.

Saint Louis University has partnered with Unimarket due to their competitive pricing model, user-friendly platform, and exceptional customer service and technical support.

Unimarket is a multi-tenant, SaaS-based source-to-settle solution which was designed from the outset for ease of use by a diverse range of buyers across decentralized institutions, while also providing robust functionality for the needs of purchasing and accounts payable/finance. There are no restrictions to the number of users, suppliers, transactions or spend going through the system. The Unimarket solution is completely scalable.

View a List of Billiken Buy Vendors

Billiken Buy Goals

The goal of Billiken Buy is to implement a user-friendly eProcurement solution that results in more effective management of the University's resources. Billiken Buy provides:

  • A simplified and streamlined buy and pay process
  • Point and click product selection for the most frequently purchased goods at SLU
  • An improved shopping/approval experience
  • Time savings at the department level
  • Enhanced spend visibility for purchase orders
  • Access to spend data to allow for fact-based negotiations with suppliers
  • Visibility of contracted pricing for preferred vendors
  • Comparison shopping capabilities
  • Real-time integration with Banner

Billiken Buy FAQ

What is eProcurement?

Electronic procurement — generally known as eProcurement — is the automation and management of the procurement-to-payment process. It involves creating and approving purchase requisitions,placing purchase orders, receiving goods and services, and processing invoices electronically.

Why are we implementing this new system? 

Transforming our procurement process to eProcurement is an important part of an overall strategy for reducing costs and leveraging efficiencies. Universities like ours have found that implementing an eProcurement solution makes the purchase and payment processes faster, more efficient, provides better visibility and accountability and enables a higher level of compliance with policies and regulations. eProcurement is considered a best practice across higher education and supports the Saint Louis University’s objective of maximizing institutional efficiencies.

What is Unimarket? What is Billiken Buy? 

Unimarket is the eProcurement company that Saint Louis University partnered with for an eProcurement solution. Billiken Buy is the internal marketplace name that Saint Louis University selected for this system.

How will Billiken Buy help me do my job?

Billiken Buy helps by making your product research, processing orders, tracking those orders and all associated actions such as receiving and payments easier, faster and more compliant. In particular, you are able to locate the best pricing with our preferred suppliers, find items on contracts, compare products across suppliers, and much, much more. Billiken Buy allows you to create template orders for items that you order regularly so that the purchasing process can be expedited.

How does it work? 

With Billiken Buy, you'll have an online procurement environment that provides an intuitive approach much like the shopping cart experience in websites like Amazon.com.

Who led this implementation?

A number of campus groups led and contributed to the Billiken Buy implementation, including but not limited to:

  • Business and Finance - Led the project implementation and provided overall direction and guidance.
  • ITS - Responsible for the technical integrations between Banner and Billiken Buy.
  • Campus departments – Aided during the pilot testing stage and provided guidance throughout the course of the project from the end user perspective
  • Sponsored programs – Assisted Project Team by providing input on grant-related purchases and policies
How do I log into Billiken Buy?

The link to Billiken Buy will be available on MySLU to designated users in the system. These users will be enabled in Billiken Buy upon completion of training. Once a user is enabled, single-sign on access will automatically log a user into Billiken Buy when logged in with the SLU username and password. If a disabled user clicks on the Billiken Buy icon prior to training, they will receive an error stating: "Single Sign-on Failed - Account is Disabled." Access is denied due to the status of the user's account.

What is the process for adding new users to Billiken Buy?

Department heads or business managers can request that a new user be added to Billiken Buy using the "Request Help" link on their dashboard. This will direct department heads to a Google Form to complete their request. New users will be added to the system by the system administrator.

What catalogs are available in Billiken Buy?

Many key suppliers have catalogs in our marketplace. They include, but are not limited to: Staples, Grainger, Dell, Amazon Business, CDW, McKesson-Medical Surgical, Fisher Scientific, VWR, Sigma-Aldrich, and Ronnoco Coffee. Catalogs will continue to be added as we identify suppliers that have valid contracts and can integrate with the system.

How do I obtain training?

There are several options for training including quarterly instructor-led training sessions, along with training documentation, and on-line tutorials, which will be accessible via links in the Billiken Buy dashboard and the Help function.  If training is needed, contact the Billiken Buy Administrator at billikenbuyadmin@slu.edu.

What is the difference between a buyer and a browser?

The buyer role in Billiken Buy is assigned to those users who have the authority to make purchases using University funds based on the Banner finance fund or org authority. The browser role is assigned to those users who have the need to create purchases for goods and services but do not have the authority to make purchases using University funds based on the Banner finance fund or org authority.

What determines a Banner Finance user's buyer/browser role in Billiken Buy? 

Banner Finance users with either "Posting" or "Query/Posting" access will be set up as buyers in Billiken Buy. Banner Finance users with "Query" only will be set up as browsers. In addition, non-Banner Finance users would be set up as browsers.

What is the purchase requisition approval process? 
The Billiken Buy requisition approval process will mirror the department’s approval process in Banner. Special approval routings will still take place for marketing purchases. Changes in Delegation of Authority have been taken into consideration for revised approval dollar amounts.
What do I do if my approver is out of the office and not available to approve my requisition?
Approvers have the ability to designate a proxy when out of the office. This proxy will have the ability to approve requisitions in their absence. If an approver is out of the office and a proxy has not been set in the system, a user can reach out to the system administrator at billikenbuyadmin@slu.edu for assistance. Approvers should only designate a proxy within their DOA level.
What is the proxy time frame? Can it be indefinite? 
This is a temporary period - not meant to be ongoing. The user should be added to queues if ongoing.
When entering a purchase requisition for a hotel stay, where should I enter the trip number? 
The trip number should be entered into the description field in your non-catalog order.
Which fields can approvers edit?
  • Ship To
  • Bill To
  • Justification and Order Attachments
  • Justification and Delivery Notes
  • FOAPAL elements - When an approver edits the FOAPAL elements, the system will check the fund/org security of the approver.
If FOAPAL elements are edited by an approver, does the purchase requisition route back to the buyer? 
The purchase requisition will not route back to the buyer, but it may follow a different approval path, if the FOAPAL requires it. A comment on the requisition can be posted by the approver which will alert the buyer of the change.
What happens to a disapproved requisition?
Declined requisitions can be found in the "View Requisitions" page, copied and edited for resubmittal by the buyer who originally created the requisition.
Will Billiken Buy check my budget as part of the purchasing process? 
Consistent with current practice, there will be no budget check in the system. Budget check will be a department responsibility.
Are justification notes required to be completed?
Justifications are required for purchases exceeding $10,000, when competitive bids cannot be obtained. These notes are only visible internally to Saint Louis University users and approvers on the requisition.
Will receiving be required in Unimarket? 
All orders exceeding $250 will require receipt.
Who is able to perform the receiving function? 
The buyer on the order or another buyer/browser in that org sharing unit can receive the item.
When would a buyer assign a purchase requisition to another Buyer? 
The buyer may not have access to the fund/org to be charged, or may be waiting for more information and is scheduled to be out of the office. The requester's name remains in the "Ship To" field on the PO (or can be changed) and appears in the originator field on the Billiken Buy order screen.
What is an Organization Unit in Billiken Buy? 
The Organization Unit (org unit) in Billiken Buy allows for the visibility and permission sharing of requisitions, orders and invoices based on the hierarchy of the campus divisions and departments.
Who can edit an org unit?
The buyer or the system administrator.
Should department supervisors, who do not have Banner finance access, be set up as browsers?
Browsers can shop and reassign their cart to a buyer, and perform the receiving function for orders in their org sharing units. This would replace the current paper process of department supervisors searching on line for items and then writing a paper request for the requisitioner to enter into Banner.
How should users handle urgent purchase orders? 
If users often have an urgent need to receive goods from vendors it is recommended that users set up blanket orders in Billiken Buy with these vendors. A blanket order will encumber the designated dollar amount upfront and allow any release purchase orders against that blanket to bypass the requisition approval process and be issued immediately.
Why are Billiken Buy purchase order numbers different than purchase orders from Banner?
Purchase orders in Billiken Buy begin with an EP, whereas purchase orders in Banner begin with a P0. This allows users to differentiate between purchase orders issued in Billiken Buy and Banner. Invoice numbers are also sequenced differently. Invoices from Billiken Buy in Banner will begin with an IU, whereas invoices begin in Banner with an I0.
What if I need to place an urgent purchase requisition for a vendor that is in Banner but not Billiken Buy? 
Users that have an immediate need for a purchase order with a vendor that is not in Billiken Buy, should submit a "Vendor Request" via the link on their Billiken Buy dashboard. Once this vendor request has been submitted, a Banner purchase requisition can be entered. It must include a doc text note stating "Hot PO Needed - Billiken Buy vendor request submitted."
How do I look up payments? 
Users should continue to use Banner Self Service View Document to see Purchase Orders, Invoices, and Check Disbursements, or the Cognos BUSFM003 Report of Transactions. The "IU" Banner invoice number does not appear in Billiken Buy.
I was unable to attend my department's designated training session. How can I sign up for a make-up training session? 
For buyers and browsers unable to attend their designated training session, please reach out to the Billiken Buy Administrator at billikenbuyadmin@slu.edu to schedule training. Users will gain access to the system upon completion of training.
How do I see the blanket PO number for my invoice transactions in Cognos?

Select Cognos BUSFM003 Report of Transactions - Excel. Under "Additional Parameters," choose "Report Type: Blanket PO." Enter other parameters as usual, and click "Run Report."

The blanket and release PO number for each invoice transaction will display in column L. The release PO number will also display in column K.

Due to the line item detail provided by Billiken Buy, Banner INB/BSS and the Cognos report of transactions will reflect the individual commodity lines for purchases. To make reconciling your budgets easier, the following options have been added to the parameters page for the Cognos BUSFM003 Report of Transactions - Excel report:

  • Blanket PO Report Type: This report will reflect the blanket PO number, as well as the release PO numbers under that blanket. To run this report, select Cognos BUSFM003 Report of Transactions - Excel. Under "Additional Parameters" choose "Report Type: Blanket PO." Enter other parameters as usual and click "Run Report." The blanket and release PO number for each invoice transaction will display in column L. The release PO number will also display in column K.
  • Blanket PO Summary Report Type: This report will sum your transactions by document code. For vendors that provide a discount, the discount amount will be a separate line item. To run this report, select "Blanket PO Summary" under the Report Type Parameter.
How can I defer an expense to the future fiscal year?

When creating requisitions for payments to be made in the current fiscal year for services or goods to be received in a future fiscal year, notes should be included in the requisition's "Justification" field indicating that payment is for a future fiscal year. The charge will then be deferred by CPC.

What steps should I follow when entering a check-enclosed purchase order? 
  • Enter delivery notes in the purchase requisition indicating that it is a check-enclosed purchase order
  • Email the invoice with the PO number to accountspayable@slu.edu and include the rush request information - i.e. when the check is needed and how it should be delivered
  • Receive your goods/services in (if applicable) so that the invoice can post and submit for payment