Jayson Tarr, Category Manager – Information Technology at The University of Nottingham, said: “In the IT Category our strategy has been to consolidate the supplier base to drive standards and efficiencies through closer relationships with suppliers."

“The common concern with sole supplier agreements is that you lose the ability to push the price down through competition. However, IT Edition has enabled us to monitor the supply chain and ensure that pricing remains competitive."

“The tool also enables us independently to verify when suppliers are reporting that an item has gone out of stock. This was particularly useful in the wake of the Japan Tsunami when we were able to monitor closely the effect of shortages on pricing of Hard Disk Drives.”

The new approach has the potential to save The University of Nottingham up to 24% on prices paid and 20% of time usually spent manually benchmarking supplier prices. The solution informs users in real time what margin their supplier is offering, so empowering buyers to negotiate better value deals quickly and benchmark existing agreements.

Buyers simply input their preferred supplier product lists or spot-checks online which are compared to trade guide price and stock of over 150,000 products from more than 2,500 manufacturers in the UK IT supply chain. The tool’s automated ‘alerts’ also indicate when price or stock rise or fall for long term sustained best value.

IT represents one of the largest areas of indirect procurement spend for the University and as a volatile marketplace where price and stock fluctuate daily, IT tests buyers trying to achieve sustained best value.

The University has huge demand for regular purchase items and sources, specifies and buys ICT hardware, software, peripherals and consumables daily. However, gathering and analysing supplier information is very difficult given the size and rate of change in the IT market, which impacts upon buying decisions.

Tarr continues: “With greater market intelligence to hand we have recovered the cost of the tool in just one bulk purchase of 300 desktop PCs.”

With management reports and forecasting facilities, Mercato technology offers Chartered Institute of Purchase & Supply (CIPS) accredited ‘procurement excellence’. It has also been approved as offering Best Practice Best Value by the Institute of Chartered Accountants for delivering cashable savings.