Australian National Higher Education Procurement Benchmarking Programme (ANHEPBP)

About the Australian National Higher Education Procurement Benchmarking Project

Following a successful pilot benchmarking project with the assistance of the Australian Universities Procurement Network (AUPN), Higher Ed Services submitted a grant proposal to DEEWR to continue the programme for a further three years with more universities involved.

The submission was successful and $6.14m was made available. The University of Newcastle was invited to be the lead university on behalf of HES and the AUPN Initiative, and Purchasing Index Pty Ltd was engaged as the professional benchmarking project partner.

The Project benchmarking began in February 2007 and was completed midway through 2009 with universities addressing 12 high spend categories and the university procurement processes. Twenty-nine universities took part, a significant number for the sector, and the project was completed within budget and on time when the Final Report was delivered to DEEWR under the Conditions of Grant.

Savings PotentialThe Programme outcomes are ongoing but the responses to a Higher Ed Services survey of participants conducted in August 2009, clearly demonstrated that there was an improvement in the knowledge of procurement practices in Higher Education institutions and an improvement in the knowledge of each market addressed in the project.

Early savings opportunities were identified by participating universities, resulting in improved knowledge about current contracts and pricing and greater awareness of issues when negotiating contracts.

The Programme has successfully provided a national perspective enabling participating institutions and HES, through the AUPN Initiative, to consider whether there are cost benefits in a collegial approach to some categories. The AUPN continues to work on common clause contracts and sharing information across the universities and has started a closer liaison with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPSA) and with the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) to encourage university awareness of professional procurement issues at a broader national level.

The Programme provided an objective basis for improving the efficiency of university procurement practices as evidenced by universities that have restructured or are in the process of restructuring their Procurement units and recruiting experienced procurement talent.

The AUPN has re-structured its activities to drive the value derived from the national benchmarking activities well into the future and has established national standing committees on procurement capability, sustainable procurement and strategic procurement processes as a direct result of some of the findings made possible by the ANHEPBP. The AUPN Strategic Business Plans focus on leveraging value from the recommendations identified in the Aggregated Data Reports and in creating opportunities to promote the ongoing improvement in procurement practices in the Higher Education sector.

The final Aggregated Benchmarking Analysis Reports include Office Supplies, Lab Supplies, Temporary Staff, Travel, Telecommunications, Professional Services, Printers & MFDs, IT Leasing, PCs and Laptops, Printing Services, Transaction Banking and Advertising, and the Combined Aggregated Procurement Functions Reports.

All documents are held by HES, if you are interested in these, please contact Jai Goyal