DHS – Simplifying Purchase Orders

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The Department of Human Services places household orders for families in the child welfare system, which include the purchase of furniture. Social workers would previously handwrite household orders and give the order to Maintenance staff for processing. Maintenance staff would then fax the order to the store, and once the order was delivered to the family, the maintenance employee would drive to the furniture store and make the payment. If the furniture store was unable to reach the family to schedule the delivery or was unable to read delivery information, the store would contact the maintenance employee for clarification. The maintenance worker would then attempt to reach the social worker, which was often difficult.

DHS evaluated this process and utilized existing resources to eliminate errors and steps in the process. The department decided to use their existing Purchase Request System used by the Purchasing division, since the system contained the required information needed to complete the order. The Purchasing division now places the orders, arranges for delivery, and makes the payment, rather than using maintenance staff. The division created a blanket purchase so maintenance staff no longer drive to the furniture store to pay for orders individually with a credit card. In addition, a proper contact was established, so maintenance employees are no longer the middle men.


This improvement is important because maintenance staff now have more time to devote to their job, and families who await their furniture receive a faster and better service.


Utilizing the electronic Purchase Request System has saved time, reduced errors, and has provided for a more efficient process. An approximate amount of $1,080 has been saved in staff time having to drive to the furniture store and pay for orders.

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