Case Study: Leading Provider of Managed University Accommodation

The client, the UK’s leading provider of on-campus managed university accommodation working with a wide range of university partners to supply risk-free solutions for the funding, design, build, and operation of high-quality academic and residential facilities.

Strong procurement practices were key to building and maintaining an attractive customer proposition to maintain a competitive advantage.

The Challenge

Procurement was a largely decentralised activity, with the existing procurement team being underutilised, leading to inconsistent ways of working and a largely personality-driven approach to procuring goods and services. There was a lack of consistency within the business and procurement exercises were conducted in a highly varied manor. All the above was exacerbated by the lack of governance put in place.

Whilst difficult challenges to overcome, improving the approach to procurement would enable the client to take greater advantage of commercial leverage within its supply chain; make the best use of within their organisation and strike the right balance between empowerment and governance.

Our Strategy

Our strategy with this client was twofold – an extensive assessment of procurement maturity, process, capability and working practice (Stage 1) to understand and assess the current position and how procurement is undertaken within the organisation. Thereafter, a prioritised set of recommendations and transformational needs (Stage 2) which would go to establish the future state of procurement that would ensure the needs of the business are met, whilst ensuring its effectiveness is maximised.

Stage 1 – Assessing the current position and suitability of Procurement. This stage looked to form an intimate and detailed understanding of how mature procurement was and how procurement reviews were undertaken within our client’s business. Also, to identify areas of expenditure which were suitable to be commercially reviewed and/or tendered.

This process, which follows our own methodology, considered both qualitative and quantitative data, through the review of client’s expenditure; identified cost-saving opportunities; contract reviews, team structures, policies/procedures and stakeholder interviews and alike. Once the data was formed and understood this was then applied against a comprehensive assessment criteria and scoring to position the maturity of procurement.

Stage 2 – Having completed our maturity assessment, Oculus presented a transformational roadmap that sets out the transition from the current way of working to a future target that would better serve the needs of our clients organisation.

Our Solution

Stage 1 went into significant levels of detail in all areas which included reviewing:

  • Current policies, procedures and working practices relating to procuring goods/services and managing 3rd party suppliers.
  • The approach to risk management and supplier performance management.
  • Templates, working documents and standard forms of contract.
  • 3rd party spend data whilst establishing primary and secondary spend categorisation.
  • Which suppliers were under-contract, to enable us to identify any material constraints.
  • Key supplier relationships to gain an appreciation of supply chain risks.

Upon completion of Stage 1, Stage 2 laid out our proposal by way of a presentation of the views and observations by Oculus with a set of prioritised recommendations relating to the maturity of procurement activity within the client and a range of expenditure categories where Oculus believed it appropriate to commission a procurement-led category review on the basis of cost-saving/value improvement opportunities.

Business Benefits

  • A clear procurement strategy for the executive committee to take forward based on the requirements of the business.
  • The development of a whole of business cost saving and supplier review programme.
  • A proposed new way of working that drives collaboration; empowerment; and structured decision making, without introducing bureaucracy.
  • A proposed ‘right-sized’ procurement function that is structure in a way that can effectively take procurement activities forward to the benefit of the business

Oculus has since been requested to lead the transformation of procurement within the clients business, implementing a new target operating model for procurement within the business.

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