Data driving smart procurement in education

Philip Gurnett, Director and Head of Sourcing Education for the Education Procurement Service (EPS) speaks to eolas about data driven procurement planning.

Gurnett is an advocate of customer focused procurement solutions, embracing green, sustainable best practice, and digitalisation to drive change and develop the national procurement model to meet the needs of the education sector. The EPS operates as the sector sourcing hub on behalf of the Department of Education under the centralised procurement model.

EPS provides sourcing services to all public sector bodies (PSBs) for the following categories of expenditure:

• laboratory/research diagnostics, services and equipment;

• agriculture, veterinary and library goods and services; and

• education strategic.

Procurement is a key element of the Government’s Public Service Reform Programme. Education spends approximately €1 billion on goods and services annually and it is essential that this money is spent in a way that achieves maximum value for money, adheres to government policy, national guidelines, and EU directives for procurement, while providing a sustainable delivery of services for the taxpayer.

Government’s procurement reform programme has entered a new phase, with green public procurement in the spotlight. Embracing sustainable business practice is now a must for organisations and core to what we do here at EPS. We are committed to supporting our clients deliver on their green mandate, taking a strategic, data-driven approach.

The multi-annual procurement planning model (MAPP) approach of “consolidate, aggregate, analyse” enables organisations to leverage data-driven procurement practices to their full extent.

MAPP facilitates the gathering of insights from sustainability data to power positive change while increasing value for money. Data is collected annually producing a three-year rolling multi-annual procurement plan. The education sector aggregated MAPP data provides the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) with a detailed list of education’s defined future requirements over a three-year period.

Managing the entire procurement and sourcing process from end-to-end entails oversight of multiple factors and subprocesses. It is a vital forecasting and planning tool for education institutions as it allows them to collate and aggregate their predicted spend data for the forthcoming three years including details on current contract status, contract expiry dates, and number of procurement transactions per year.

In a data-driven world, procurement planning is now more important than ever. Organisations are increasingly turning to data-driven procurement planning in order to improve their purchasing processes.

Harnessing the power of analytics and analysing past purchase data, we can identify trends and patterns that help make more informed decisions to ensure that our procurement needs are met in as timely and cost-effective a manner as possible.

This approach can lead to cost savings and a better overall procurement process ensuring compliance with the procurement aspect of the Code of Governance and achieving best value for money for the taxpayer.

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