Procurement for Higher Education
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Compliant procurement support for Higher Education.

Procurement teams in the higher education establishments are facing multiple challenges. High inflation, tightening regulations, resource restrictions, recruitment issues and project delays, means that procurement leaders must find ways to leverage their function to source competitively priced goods, works and services whilst increasing quality for your students.

eXceeding offers invaluable support to higher education procurement teams, providing both expertise and additional capacity to bolster internal resources, particularly during times of knowledge gaps or resource constraints.


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Around £4.55 billion was spent on tertiary education in the public sector in 2022/2023. This figure has gone down over the last few years, procurement teams in the sector are therefore challenged in finding ways to do more with less.

From new building projects to essential day-to-day professional services and works, projects can range from low value to multi-million-pound construction projects. Delivering this pipeline can be challenging to manage, especially when you are looking for the most efficient route to market that will offer the best long-term value for your staff and students.

Some common challenges by higher education procurement teams include:

  • Regulation and compliance: Procurement processes must adhere to stringent regulations and standards, such as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the Procurement Act 2023, which can be complex and time-consuming to navigate.
  • Budget constraints and limited financial resources: Universities and colleges often operate within tight budgets, balancing the need to provide high-quality education and research with financial limitations. This can lead to difficult decisions about where to allocate resources.
  • Diverse procurement needs: Higher education institutions have a broad range of procurement needs, from everyday consumables and IT equipment, to specialised research apparatus and campus development projects. Managing such a diverse portfolio of procurement activities can be challenging.
  • Supplier management: Identifying and managing relationships with a wide range of suppliers, which range from local businesses to international companies, requires effective supplier management strategies. Managing suppliers to meet performance standards and deliver value is crucial for higher education.
  • Dated procurement technology: Implementing and integrating procurement technologies can be a challenge, especially in institutions with legacy systems. Effective use of technology is essential for streamlining processes, enhancing transparency, and improving efficiency.
  • Research-specific procurement: Procuring specialised equipment and materials for research purposes often involves additional complexities, such as ensuring compliance with research grants and funding requirements, as well as meeting specific technical specifications.
  • Decentralised procurement: Many higher education institutions have decentralised procurement functions, with individual departments or faculties making their own purchasing decisions. This can lead to inefficiencies, inconsistencies, and long tail spend.
  • Stakeholder engagement: Engaging and coordinating with a wide range of stakeholders, including academic staff, administrative departments, and students, can complicate procurement processes. Effective communication and collaboration are essential.
  • Resource and skills gaps: Due to the diversity of goods and services higher education procures, teams may lack category expertise, particularly for specialised or complex purchases. This can lead to sub-optimal procurement processes which do not deliver to objectives.

Why eXceeding?

As the Procurement Act regulations loom, our assistance becomes even more crucial, helping higher education organisations not only prepare for the changes but also identify opportunities and implement necessary adjustments.

By collaborating with eXceeding, clients benefit from unparalleled confidentiality standards. With triple ISO accreditation and Cyber Essentials certification, we ensure the utmost security and confidentiality of your data and information.

Furthermore, our best practice toolsets, a dedicated delivery team, and extensive category expertise in construction, facilities management and information technology provides peace of mind and a simplified procurement journey.

If you would like to speak to us about how we can support your procurement needs, please drop us an email or give us a call on 0330 088 1620.

At eXceeding, we’re here to help universities and colleges do things better: to save time, resources, create long term value, and deliver better results. Having worked with a number of higher education establishments and the wider public sector, we have seen the challenges and frustrations experienced by procurement and category professionals and helped to solve them.

Take, for example, our work with one University in the East of England, where we overcame internal challenges to define and procure a total FM contract which resulted in significantly reduced administrative burden and economies of scale driving cost savings with one single supplier.

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