A procurement strategy is long-term plan to build strategic relationships with competitive suppliers. The objective is to get the best quality goods and services within a set budget and make sure they arrive on schedule. A well-structured procurement strategy can help schools and trusts secure the right resources, minimize risks, and foster supplier relationships that fuel growth. It includes end-of-life destruction of data and the safe disposal of materials through re-using, refurbishing or recycling. It contributes or an organisation’s environmental strategy and operating standards.
Define clear objectives
A robust procurement strategy starts with clear objectives that match your establishment’s overall strategy and school improvement plans. Whether you want to cut costs, ensure top-notch quality, build strong supplier bonds, or spark innovation, your objectives should be SMART—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This guides your procurement and helps focus efforts effectively.
Supplier selection and evaluation
Choosing the right suppliers is key to procurement success. Conduct thorough research and due diligence to identify potential suppliers who align with your objectives. Consider factors like reputation, quality, best value, delivery capabilities, sustainability practices, and product lifecycle management. Regular supplier evaluations should be part of your strategy to ensure that your partners continue to meet your expectations and contribute to your establishment’s success.
Risk is an inherent part of procurement. A well-thought-out procurement strategy should include risk assessment and mitigation plans. Identify potential risks such as supply chain disruptions, regulatory changes, or economic fluctuations and devise strategies to minimise their impact. Diversifying your supplier base, creating contingency plans, and monitoring external factors are essential risk management tactics.
Cost management is a core component of procurement. Seek cost-saving opportunities without compromising quality. Negotiate favourable terms, implement strategic sourcing practices, and consider how to streamline processes and reduce expenses. Continuous cost analysis and optimisation should be an ongoing effort within your procurement strategy.
Incorporating technology into your procurement processes can enhance efficiency and decision-making. Consider implementing procurement software solutions, e-procurement systems, and data analytics tools to automate tasks, gain insights, and make informed decisions. These technologies can also facilitate collaboration with suppliers and improve transparency.
Supplier relationship management
Strong supplier relationships are essential for long-term success. Foster open communication, collaboration, and trust with your suppliers. Regularly engage with them to understand their capabilities and explore opportunities for innovation and improvement. A collaborative approach can lead to mutually beneficial partnerships that drive value for both parties.
Sustainability and ethical practices
The DfE published “Sustainability leadership and climate action plans in education” in 2023 as a key initiative of the department’s policy paper, “Sustainability and climate change: a strategy for the education and children’s services systems.” We now know that education establishments must prioritise sustainability and ethical practices in their procurement strategy. Consider the environmental and social impact of your supply chain decisions. Embrace sustainable sourcing, ethical labour practices, and responsible procurement to align with expectations, compliance and regulatory requirements. Ensure product lifecycle management is as important to you suppliers as it is to your education establishment’s own drive to net zero.
Procurement strategy in summary
An effective procurement strategy is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s a dynamic plan that evolves with your business’s needs and the changing market landscape.
By defining clear objectives, selecting and evaluating suppliers, managing risks, optimising costs, integrating technology, nurturing supplier relationships, and emphasising sustainability, education establishments can develop a procurement strategy that drives efficiency, innovation and long-term success.
A well-executed procurement strategy is an investment in the future, enabling schools and trusts.
As part of your procurement strategy review, take a look at ScoStore, from Scomis. ScoStore is for everyone involved in purchasing ICT equipment for education establishments. ScoStore is an online ICT store that offers best value and robust technology that has been especially selected for – and tried and tested in – education’s demanding environments.