Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI)

On May 5, 2010 UNC General Administration announced to the UNC System’s Chancellors and CIOs the launch of the Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI) (275 KB) CPI’s goals are to leverage the buying power of the entire UNC System and to meet cost-saving standards set by the North Carolina General Assembly. CPI standards currently apply to all PC desktop and laptop computers obtained with state appropriated funds. As of July 1, 2010 participation in CPI is mandatory for all UNC System schools.

PC computers must be obtained only from CPI “Preferred Vendors”, currently Dell, Lenovo, and HP. Over the past few years UNC Asheville has standardized on Dell PC desktops and laptops, so this is not a change for our campus. We will continue to obtain Apple computers as an individual campus as Apple is not currently part of the CPI program. 

A task force organized by UNC-GA has established a range of standard desktop and laptop computer configurations meant to reflect the diverse administrative and academic needs of UNC System campuses. This task force has negotiated best prices with CPI Preferred Vendors and UNC Asheville ITS has established campus standards in alignment with UNC-GA’s CPI standards. This means that the default desktop and laptop packages, whether purchased one-off or obtained as part of the Computer Inventory Management (refresh) program conform to CPI standards.

Only CPI standards-compliant computer configurations are allowed, except where non-standard configurations are required for specialized research, teaching, or administrative needs. The total dollar amount of “non-standard” computers may not exceed 20% of the total of state funds used for PC purchases. In those cases where a non-standard configuration is required a formal request for an exception must be made. Reports must be submitted to UNC-GA detailing approved exceptions.

We estimate that for all computer purchases during FY 2009-2010 less than 5% would have been considered an “exception”, thus this is a minimal change to our past paradigm. Our current process for requesting exceptions will be formalized and modified slightly to reflect the changing needs for reporting and documentation. Details on this refined process will be posted to this website as they become available.

All computers will be obtained through the MarketPlace e-procurement system. Our current computer procurement process using POs will be replaced by the MarketPlace. Even Apple computers, although not currently included in CPI, will be obtained through the MarketPlace system. This is the most significant change for our campus; this website will be updated with information on the Marketplace and new computer procurement process as details become available.

Questions regarding CPI and the Computer Inventory Management program should be emailed to