FY19 SUMAR Priority Initiatives

SUMAR has identified three priority initiatives for FY19 that require broad campus participation for success or require significant cultural or policy change. These priorities are in the categories of strengthening operations and enhancing management practices or will result in direct cost savings. SUMAR projects ultimately enable the release or focus of resources toward teaching, research, and the student experience. The priority initiatives for FY19 are: 

Controlling Healthcare Costs
This multi-year effort continues as the University seeks to identify additional opportunities to mitigate rising healthcare costs or “bend the trend”. The national trend for healthcare costs continues to increase at a rate of 8% to 9% each year since 2010 (according to benefits providers Aetna, United, and Optum Rx), while Princeton’s increase has been held at 6% to 7% over the past three years. Several strategies (e.g., My Health Coach, My Health Advocate, Best Doctors, Castlight, Carebridge, and increased use of urgent-care centers instead of ER visits) support employee health and mitigate both the University’s and employees' contributions to healthcare expenses.

Additional strategies that employees can deploy to curb the increase in healthcare costs include:

  1. Enrollment in the Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP), which may offer savings to employees and their families;
  2. Use of Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts (FSA and HSA), which enable employees to save money by allocating pre-tax dollars each pay period to cover eligible medical expenses;
  3. Use of the new, interactive, online decision-support tool called ALEX during open enrollment (and for new benefits-eligible employees), to receive a customized recommendation for a healthcare plan, tools, and information that can optimize savings opportunities.

These strategies require ongoing engagement of employees and dependents to use the healthcare system effectively in addition to the University optimizing the structures of our healthcare plans. 

Questions? Contact the Benefits Team

Increasing Supplier Diversity 
Princeton’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion among its students, faculty, and staff are well recognized. The University aims to mirror this progress among its third-party suppliers, and since supplier diversity is synonymous with good procurement practices, and vice versa, Procurement seeks to both set a model for encouraging the use of diverse suppliers and identify the best procurement practices and cost savings. A lack of competition is the most prevalent issue requiring focused attention and support toward advancement in this area. In FY19, Procurement will focus on increasing the frequency with which University purchases are competitively bid and ensuring that when bids occur, diverse firms are well represented.

In order to increase supplier diversity, University colleagues should engage with Procurement to leverage department-specific data and reports to assist departments in making informed decisions about purchasing.

Objectives of this program include demonstrating responsible stewardship of financial resources by promoting competitive access to procurement needs for interested firms; engaging and educating diverse firms on the opportunities to support the University’s mission through the provision of needed goods and services; and pursuing economic inclusion for diverse suppliers as measured by the frequency with which they have the opportunity to compete for University business and the total spend directed to them. Diverse suppliers generate value by broadening the pool of supplier expertise, perspectives, and capabilities. 

Questions? Contact Procurement

Seeking New Methods for Innovative and Impactful Projects
Through this third priority, SUMAR aims to encourage ideas for innovative and impactful initiatives that could lead to cost savings, administrative efficiencies, strengthened operations, or enhanced management practices. SUMAR believes that the best ideas can be found at all reaches of the University community. If you or a colleague has an idea for a pilot or project that you believe could strengthen our workforce, business operations, and services; create efficiencies or cost savings; or better leverage our resources, we want to hear from you. SUMAR reps are also interested in meeting with established groups on campus and can lead discussions/brainstorming sessions to solicit ideas from working groups, business units, or committees that would like to participate. As ideas come forward, staff from the Office of the Executive Vice President can assist in assessment, case development, and/or facilitation services with the individuals and departments that present ideas.

Please contact Laura Strickler for an initial consultation if you have an idea that could increase productivity as described above.