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Lancaster University saves time and resource by managing purchasing in one central system with Proactis

Executive overview



No. of punchouts

No. of hosted catalogues

No. of staff

No. of students

Customer since


  • Speed up order processing time.
  • Drive extra value around the University by enabling staff to make better purchase decisions.
  • Reduce time spent on manual processes and administration.

How Proactis helped

  • Established a secure ‘online store’ through the University’s Intranet that connects employees to suppliers’ websites and catalogues.
  • Streamlined management of supplier catalogues and punch-outs.
  • Seamless integration with the University's Unit4 ERP system.


  • Faster ordering times and reduced time needed to order goods and services.
  • Reduced off-contract spending around the University.
  • Staff can focus on more value-add tasks.
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Lancaster University is a member of the N8 Group of research universities and is ranked in the top twenty in all three national league tables. It received a Gold rating in the Government's inaugural Teaching Excellence Framework.

The University offers a full range of academic services, provides higher education to more than 16,500 students and employs around 3,000 staff. Procurement is controlled centrally by a team of 20 staff and managed by Linda Thompson, Procurement Manager at the University.


“We are constantly looking for ways to streamline our purchasing processes, to improve efficiency and to speed up order processing time,” said Linda. “Manual processing and administration of orders is both time-consuming and frustrating for our employees.”

So, the University decided to provide 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. “This was to not only help reduce time spent on manual processes and administration,” continued Linda, “but also to drive extra value around the University by enabling staff to make better purchase decisions.”

How Proactis helped

Proactis has helped the University establish a secure ‘online store’ that connects employees to suppliers’ websites and catalogues. “We have a staff Intranet that is used throughout the University as a procurement portal, and the catalogues and punch-outs are all available through this. This means our staff have easy access, via single sign-on, to approved suppliers and products through one central system.”

The Proactis marketplace currently provides the University with a platform to host supplier catalogues and punch-outs as required. And thanks to seamless integration with the University's Unit4 ERP system, the purchasing process has been streamlined, providing a one-stop-shop and saving the University’s employees valuable time.


University staff have easy access to 23 approved catalogues and 32 punch-out connections for more specialist items. “Proactis has helped us increase on-contract spend while enabling each of our employees to quickly and easily get what they need to do their jobs,” continued Linda. “This is all done via a single, user-friendly interface, accessible through our intranet. This saves staff time when purchasing goods and services, and enables them to concentrate on more value add activities.”

Using Proactis, 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. “Buyers can move seamlessly from our Unit4 ERP system to the Proactis marketplace, select goods and services, quickly and easily, and ensure the item is paid for,” concluded Linda. “The system increases our ordering times, reduces the time needed to order goods and services but also gives our Procurement team a clear view of what has been ordered.”