Skip to main content

Manchester Metropolitan University

Centralised ordering system

Key results and achievements

  • Number of items per delivery increased by 36%

  • Reduced number of deliveries and transit packaging

  • Reduced associated energy use, vehicle emissions and carbon footprint

  • Lower delivery charges and some goods have price discounts based on purchase volume.

  • Less storage space required across the Faculty

  • Reduced wastage as users only take what they need in the short term.


Summary

Faculty managers were aware that the purchasing, by various Teams across the Faculty, of commonly required items was not a sustainable practice. By providing the items from a centrally managed stock, a number of benefits could accrue: reduced transport by supplier; space saving; cost reduction per unit; less waste packaging.

This has helped the University to reduce:

  • Deliveries
  • Packaging
  • Costs
  • Storage space required
  • Emissions / Pollution

The challenge

The main challenge was reassuring staff that goods they currently sourced and stored themselves would be available when required.

Associated with that were issues around identifying stocking levels and getting agreement on which of several alternative but similar products to stock

The final challenge was to measure the effectiveness of the changes. Six months into the new scheme, an analysis of items’ consumption and costs indicated that deliveries had been reduced and unit prices lowered.


Benefits

As an example, previously one area of the Faculty might order disposable gloves on Monday and another might order the same goods on Wednesday. Both were limited in the quantity they ordered by storage space so re-ordered regularly.

Now Technical Support Services manage a large stock of gloves and distribute these across the Faculty. TSS restock less frequently than the previous 6 areas but do so in higher volume. This has resulted in less deliveries and transit packaging, reducing the Faculty’s associated energy use, vehicle emissions and carbon footprint.

The Faculty also pays less for the goods as delivery charges are reduced (less deliveries) and some goods have price discounts based on purchase volume.

There has also been a reduction in storage space required across the Faculty as the Stock is maintained at an efficient level and local stores no longer need to stock beyond a week’s requirements. This will also reduce wastage as users only take what they need in the short term.


Change in purchasing practice

Previously up to 6 Teams could be purchasing independently from one supplier. Now these purchases are accounted for by the one team who maintain the Stock held.

The number of items per delivery is a good indicator of the impact of the changed practice and the 6 month review showed a rise to 46.5 items per delivery from 34.1, demonstrating a greatly reduced carbon footprint.