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Newcastle University uses Proactis to manage purchasing, from approved suppliers, in one central system

Executive overview

Profile

Vertical sector
Education

No. of staff
5,500+

No. of students
23,000+

Annual orders
32,000+

No. of catalogues
71

No. of punch-outs
26

Operates in
United Kingdom

Customer since
2001

Objectives

  • To drive extra value around the University by enabling staff to make better purchase decisions.
  • Improve purchasing processes and compliance.
  • Reduce paper and manual processes.

How Proactis helped

  • Established a secure ‘online store’ that connects employees to major suppliers’ websites and catalogues.
  • Streamlined management of supplier catalogues and punch-outs.
  • Buyers can move seamlessly from the SAP interface to its suppliers’ websites and hosted catalogues.

Benefits to the University

  • Improved category management with faster ordering times and savings from lower prices.
  • Simplified approval route and reduced maverick spending around the University.
  • Low cost, streamlined way to process orders for the University and its suppliers.
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Profile

Newcastle University is a Russell Group University with a world-class reputation for research excellence. One of the top 150 universities in the world, it is ranked in the top 10 in Europe for teaching quality.

The University is spread across four campuses, in Newcastle, London, Malaysia and Singapore, with a number of additional satellite sites. The University offers a full range of academic services, provides higher education to more than 23,000 students and employs around 5,500 staff. Procurement is controlled centrally.

Objectives

The institution was already using Proactis Sourcing for its tendering process and an SAP ERP solution, but the purchasing process often involved free text orders, or sometimes no purchase order at all. The process was resource-intensive, often non-compliant, and error-prone due to the amount of paper being used. The University wanted to drive extra value, improve compliance, and eliminate wasted time by taking more control of institution-wide purchasing.

Working with Proactis, it identified that providing employees with a single online destination where they can quickly and easily find, compare and choose what they need from preferred suppliers – all within established purchase authorisation policies – was the perfect strategy.

How Proactis helped

Proactis’ marketplace functionality was selected to load contracted suppliers’ goods and services into a common marketplace for low value, frequently-ordered consumables and equipment. Items that could specifically make an impact in terms of speed of ordering and price savings were selected - IT equipment, IT consumables, safety equipment, laboratory supplies, catering and furniture. Punch-outs were also created, often as XML so the order is placed directly into the supplier’s system, for more specialist items or when suppliers were unable to supply catalogues.

Proactis provides the platform to host all supplier catalogues and punch-outs as required. This means the institution only has to manage a single connection from the ERP system; Proactis manages the rest.

The secure ‘online store’ connects employees to major suppliers’ websites and catalogues, with favourable, nationally-agreed prices. As procurement is centralised, other departments can still use the system and find what they need - their request goes to Procurement to check and submit the order. The solution also enables the University to easily deal with major/national suppliers, medium-sized suppliers and low-tech, smaller suppliers.

Benefits to Newcastle University

Over 32,000 orders are placed annually, worth over £6 million through Proactis. University staff have easy access to 71 approved catalogues with over 1.6 million line items at agreed prices. There are also 26 punch-out connections for more specialist items.

Proactis has helped increase on-contract spend while enabling employees to quickly and easily get what they need to do their jobs, all via a single, user-friendly interface. Staff are also able to source items from the cheapest qualified suppliers, saving money and reducing maverick buying of un-needed or unauthorised goods and services. Approvals are done at the click of a button. Proactis’ marketplace functionality, combined with Proactis Sourcing, has eliminated wasted time and reduced the paper trails.

Buyers can move seamlessly from SAP to the Proactis Marketplace, select goods and services, quickly and easily, and ensure the item is paid for. The process is now auditable and compliant. Suppliers also no longer have to create individual quotes and are in more control of what is available.