Have a strategic approach to procurement

How do you find out what is happening at present and who is doing the purchasing?

What is happening at present?
You can identify what is happening within your institution by analysing the key goods and services, their cost and importance - for example….

  • Financial Data - will identify the value of your institution's non-pay spend, a significant proportion of which should be managed by professional procurement staff
  • Supplier Analysis - will help you to analyse your suppliers by commodity group, procurement influence and formal purchasing arrangements used.  You will also be able to visualise the type of procurement structure and level of influence exerted by the institution's professional procurement staff
  • Supplier Performance - will provide an indication of how effectively your suppliers are performing

Who is doing the purchasing?
It is also necessary to identify what staff are involved in procurement as the number and what they do varies between institutions:

There are often many part-time departmental (Nominated) buyers with some level of procurement awareness training. They will be involved with routine, high volume, low value purchases and may use procurement cards to manage these low value requirements.  These staff may also have some involvement in high value, strategic purchasing

There will be a smaller number of academic staff who are involved in purchasing on an ad hoc basis – maybe as result of winning a research grant – and who will dip in and out of procurement.  These staff need to be aware of who to speak to and where to find information to ensure that appropriate procedures are followed – eg in higher value purchases above your institution's tender thresholds and especially where the expected value exceeds the EU thresholds.

A smaller number of senior staff may be involved in major build projects – representing the end-user stakeholders. Each must act as part of the project team working with both internal and external experts eg architects, other works consultants, finance department, human resources, procurement personnel etc

The dedicated professional procurement staff interact with each of the above groupings to differing degrees and will function depending upon the procurement structure operating within the institution.