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Buying smarter, buying simpler

26 Apr 2018

Changes to procurement at The University of Manchester

The University currently spends around £450 million every year purchasing goods and services.  Almost three quarters of this spend can be influenced by the choices staff make when making purchasing decisions. 

The Central Procurement Office works across the University to ensure that responsible procurement and value for money is maximised.  The changing commercial environment means that we can no longer simply rely on the way that the University currently procures its goods and services.  To address this, new best practice approaches to procurement are being rolled out which will mean some changes for our buying community. 

The introduction of category management to the University will look at what is bought, how much it costs, current suppliers and opportunities to drive value for money and sustainability. 

Stephen Dauncey, Director of Finance, said: “Quite simply it’s about buying smarter and simpler.  We are bringing in a well-established purchasing method - category management, which firstly groups products into categories which can be purchased collectively then works with suppliers within these groups of products to achieve best value choices.  This may mean a less diverse selection of products in some areas, but it will make the buying process easier to navigate and ultimately deliver best value and best choices for all buyers across the University, in line with our social responsibility goal.”   

Savings of around £300,000 have already been delivered through standardisation of the University’s mobile network provider.  Product groups to be reviewed include stationary and laboratory gloves.  Making informed changes provides protection and assurance to buyers, that when they select a product from the supplier catalogue they not only offer good value for money but that they are also fully compliant with the University’s sustainability agenda and support the commitment to social responsibility.

Adopting best practice procurement methods won’t mean a change to current buying channels; for example currently around half of our orders, by volume, go through our eMarketplace. This is the easiest way of ordering routine items and by developing it we can retain choice whilst improving the buying experience, simplifying the process and driving improved value from our suppliers.

You may have already noticed changes to eMarketplace and these will continue to be delivered incrementally over the coming months. The buying community across the University will engaged in developing action plans for different product groups and will be kept up to date as plans progress. 

More information

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