Making sense of spend

Examining how money is spent is a vital activity for universities and much of this work is carried out on their behalf by the six consortia that make up Procurement England Ltd (PEL). Andy Wojciechowski of PEL explains how this work is helping the sector.

In 2013/14 PEL consortia members spent over £830m through consortia agreements.  Together, members of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium, the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium, the North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium, the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium,  The Energy Consortium and The University Caterer’s Organisation saved £113m by using these agreements.

Spend analysis has always been a vital activity carried out by PEL member consortia on behalf of their members. Each year, the consortia gather and analyse spend data from member institutions’ purchase ledgers and expenditure by procurement cards. Making sense of the data we receive from our members has always, and continues to be, a huge challenge. It is however, a worthwhile activity.

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The data we receive from our members is processed and suppliers are coded by category area, making it far simpler for the consortia and member institutions to interrogate the data. Analysing the expenditure allows the consortia and members to identify areas that would benefit from professional procurement activity on a local, regional and national level.

Considerable savings

Examining areas of common spend amongst members has driven the contracting programme forward over the years and enabled the consortia to develop new contracting areas for its members. As a result, we have been able to achieve considerable savings, not only through better pricing with suppliers, but also through the process cost savings institutions achieve by not having to run a tender themselves.

With higher education procurement under much scrutiny in recent years, examining the data we receive from members has allowed us to demonstrate the achievements made in meeting targets for collaborative procurement, as well as identifying areas where consortia and institutions could do more to improve collaboration.

Recognising the importance of this data, the consortia are working with spend analytics providers to help us improve the analysis of the data we receive, and develop the reporting side of the software. Managing more than a trillion dollars of spend across the globe, our spend analytics providers enable organisations with complex purchasing requirements and a need for high security to gain visibility and insight into expenditure data.

For further information about your spend analytics provider and access to the online version of the software, contact your regional consortia.