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Charity saves £2.5m with e-procurement

Tash Shifrin

Britain’s biggest charity, Cancer Research UK, has saved more than  £2.5m in a year by adopting an e-procurement strategy using online auctions.

Cancer Research made 30% savings with its first online auction, held to source office supplies, with 20% savings in a second exercise to procure IT hardware and software.

The charity has also made 33% savings on materials for its research laboratories, including chemicals, plastics and personal protection equipment, as well as reducing its suppliers from more than 200 to fewer than six.

The savings on Cancer Research’s £130m annual procurement budget follow an initiative to improve procurement that began in December 2004, undertaken with consultants Aria Insite.

An analysis of the charity’s spending identified which areas would be most suitable for e-procurement. The online auction process was managed by specialist e-procurement firm Vendigital.

Cancer Research procurement director Belinda Turner said there had initially been “some skepticism” that online auctions could deliver major savings. “Now with three projects under our belts, we are convinced that this approach is extremely valuable,” she said.

A fourth auction to source molecular biology supplies is planned for late August.

 

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