In an era of constrained budgets, higher education procurement leaders—and executive leaders more broadly—realize they need to more closely examine purchasing and payables processes. Most obviously, they are seeking sustainable cost savings through more strategic approaches to procuring goods and services. At the same time, they recognize that technological innovations have unleashed new opportunities to improve operating efficiencies—further reducing administrative costs while also improving vendor and customer satisfaction. Some common strategic goals for higher education procurement units are listed below.
However, many procurement leaders struggle to execute on these strategic goals. Most units have historically been staffed and organized to support reactive, transactional purchasing activities (like processing purchase requisitions and invoices). As such, they often struggle to perform more strategic tasks like spend analytics and competitive contract negotiation and management.
In response, procurement leaders are pursuing foundational organizational changes to expand their units’ capabilities. These changes span four focus areas: Process automation and redesign, data and metrics, staff and organizational development, and customer communication.
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Building Strategic Procurement Capabilities