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Leeds Beckett University streamlines purchasing processes with Proactis marketplace functionality

Executive overview


Vertical sector

No. of staff

No. of students

No. of catalogues

No. of punch-outs

Operates in
United Kingdom

Customer since


  • Drive extra value around the University by enabling staff to make effective purchase decisions.
  • More accurate management information and increase contract compliance.
  • Make it easy for suppliers to set up and manage catalogues.

How Proactis helped

  • Streamlined management of supplier catalogues and punch-outs.
  • Established a secure ‘online store’ that connects employees to major suppliers’ websites and catalogues.
  • Buyers can move seamlessly from Unit4 Business World to supplier websites and hosted catalogues.

Benefits to the University

  • Order process is now streamlined, saving time and ensuring that buyers are buying from approved suppliers, at the right prices.
  • Improved category management with faster ordering times and savings from lower prices.
  • Increased “straight-through” invoice processing.
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Leeds Beckett University is one of the most popular universities in the UK, with around 3,000 staff and more than 24,000 students from almost 150 countries around the world.

The University contributes an estimated £520 million to the economy every year and offers a full range of academic services across 13 schools. Procurement is decentralised, with around 500 buyers around the University.


The institution was looking to streamline its purchasing and invoicing processes. Following an upgrade to its ERP solution, Unit4 Business World, it was a natural choice to select Proactis due to how well it integrates with Unit4.

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 meant they would be able to quickly and easily find, compare and choose what they need, when they need it, from preferred suppliers.

How Proactis helped

The Proactis marketplace provides the platform to host all supplier catalogues and punch-outs as required. Over 12,000 orders are placed annually through Proactis. University staff have easy access to 21 approved catalogues and 12 punch-out connections for more specialist items, or when suppliers were unable to supply catalogues.

Items that could make an impact in terms of speed of ordering and price savings were initially selected, including stationery, IT consumables and laboratory supplies. The secure ‘online store’ connects the numerous buyers to major suppliers’ websites and catalogues, with favourable, nationally-agreed prices. Approvals are done at the click of a button, and users can be restricted by policy type.

The Proactis marketplace feeds directly into Unit4 Business World so the institution only has to manage a single connection from the ERP system. All orders, whether punch-out, hosted catalogue or free-text are electronically sent to the supplier via the marketplace, once raised in Unit4 Business World.

Benefits to Leeds Beckett University

Proactis has enabled employees to quickly and easily get what they need to do their jobs, all via a single, user-friendly interface. The purchasing process is very straightforward, saving time, reducing maverick spend, and ensuring that buyers are buying from approved suppliers, at the right prices resulting in increased on-contract spend.

Buyers can move seamlessly from Unit4 to the Proactis marketplace, select goods and services, quickly and easily, and ensure the items are paid for. The process is now auditable and compliant with complete and accurate management information on all purchases.

Suppliers no longer have to create individual quotes and are in more control of what is available – no matter how advanced they are for eCommerce. For suppliers capable of receiving orders via XML, these are received electronically and automatically by the individual finance solution. Instead of the supplier having to download a PDF and key details into their system, orders are received electronically resulting in the earliest possible delivery of goods. The line level matching of invoice to purchase order means “straight-through” invoice processing - XML invoices in particular deliver very close to 100% straight-through processing for the University meaning there is no requirement for the Accounts Payable department to handle any discrepancies.