Educational institutions have been around for many years and face the challenges of operating through an evolving world. Just as you need to keep your curriculum up to date, you need to change your procurement processes as times change. Investing in education management software for procurement can help make purchasing efficient and cost effective.
The National Center For Educational Statistics shows that United States colleges spent over $600 billion on expenses in 2018-2019 school year . This is a ton of money and is only at the higher educational level. As you can see, the opportunity for education management software for procurement to save both time and money on these transactions are huge!
OBSTACLES EDUCATORS FACE IN PROCUREMENT
An education management software for procurement can help with three major roadblocks educators face when purchasing:
- Teachers are not purchasers. They should spend more time teaching. Having an education management software can help empower them to make purchases in a timely and cost saving manner
- Schools are filled with bureaucratic red tape. An education management software can ensure protocols are being followed and you are being compliant with necessary regulations
- Educational institutions have a diverse need for procurement. These needs range from school infrastructure to materials needed for learning to business operational needs. An education management software can help manage the spending on all these tasks in a practical manner
As an educator, in order to make sure you are adequately overcoming these issues, you should focus on four features within an education management software for procurement. They are: requisition and ordering, supplier management, data management, and spend control.
Below you will see how these four features within an education management software for procurement can transform your purchasing, and allow your educational facility to strive towards learning.
- REQUISITION AND ORDERING
The first thing is the time saved through the process and actual act of procurement. Within an education management software for procurement, there are features that allow you to create, approve and send requests to suppliers all within the software.
Typically different departments within the school need the same items: notebooks, pens, paper, etc. An education management software for procurement can combine requisitions of all the needs across departments so you can order the same items in one shot. This allows for you to take advantage of economies of scale where you can save on actual item costs, processing times and other transactional costs.
Within an education management software, communication throughout the purchasing process is harmonious. Instead of walking or screaming across the hallways or waiting on emails, built in messaging features within the software allow for real time communication.
Also customized approval settings allow for items to automatically go to the appropriate parties for approval. Education management software also saves time in allowing for purchases that do not require approval to be auto approved.
The idea is to spend less time making purchases and more time teaching. Education management software for procurement can help accomplish this goal with features built around requisitions and ordering.
In one case study, utilizing an education management software for procurement, Ashesi University was able to become more efficient. One example of their improved efficiency was that they were able to reduce their purchase order workflow from 2-3 days to 2 hours.
- SUPPLIER MANAGEMENT
Ensuring you are purchasing from approved suppliers, and having processes in place to ensure you are following all of the rules and regulations from the school board is key in procurement for the educational sector. Having the ability to act as a supplier management software is another key feature to focus on in an education management software for procurement.
The ability of educational management software for procurement to ensure you are purchasing from approved suppliers is essential. Your staff will not have to be responsible for knowing all approved suppliers and they can focus their energy on the subjects they are teaching. They can never make the mistake of ordering from a supplier that they are not supposed to as the software will block any such purchases.
Being able to keep within the terms of contracts are very important. An education management software can double as a contract management software for higher education or any level of education. Having a software to ensure you are staying within the agreed upon terms is essential to ensuring compliance with local, state and federal agencies.
An education management software can store important documentation that pertains to suppliers. This includes contracts, certification and other relevant information to serve as reference points. The software can go a step further and apply restrictions on purchases based on these documents to ensure you are working within the agreed upon relationships according to your stakeholders.
You also have the ability to communicate and store communications within the education management software to ensure important conversations are never lost. This makes it easy for outside parties to be able to locate and reference talking points even in your absence.
In the same vein, you can annotate any red flags from a supplier. This can ensure that anyone coming after you will be on the lookout for bad players in the industry. This supplier management software feature can save you from a mistake due to lack of documentation about a supplier’s bad behavior.
Not only can it keep up with the compliance documentation, the supplier management software feature can also help you keep your cost low. It can track costs of different items across vendors to ensure you are always buying at the lowest cost.
With vendor scorecards, the supplier management software feature can also keep track of the quality of the goods and service from a supplier. You can notate at the vendor level any issues as well as create a score within the software to attach to the vendor’s profile.
You can also save time with the supplier management software feature by grouping suppliers in regards to items, departments etc. This way you can easily look up items and keep a better record of the things you buy and from who.
With a supplier management software feature within an educational management software for procurement, you can save time, headaches and money through a variety of tools. You really want this feature to ensure you have the right relationships and that you are getting your relationships right.
- DATA MANAGEMENT
Due to a lot of educational institutions being around for a very long time, they tend to have stacks of paper records lying around. Getting out of this habit of having physical records can be scary, but by allowing an education management software to manage your data, you can become way more efficient saving you time and money.
Utilizing an education management software, you can get rid of your paper trails. No more digging through stacks of papers or emails to find necessary information.
An education management software can track open orders and inventory counts. This way you can know what exactly is coming and when. Also knowing what you have and where you have it is always nice to keep track of.
Taking out the guesswork of when items are delivered can cut down on the anxiety of the department looking for their items. An education management software serving as a central place of knowledge, allows people to know exactly when they can pick up their much needed orders. They can even get alerts within the system to ensure orders aren’t just lying around due to lack of communication.
Having all the data living in one place allows you to pull reports based off of the information. You can easily see transactional trails and other key pieces of information all within the education management software. This can come in handy if you ever had to pull any information for stakeholders and if you ever got audited.
Data is essential in making good decisions. By keeping data organized within an education management software you can save a bunch of time on research, data input and errors. You can see the benefits of using data when making procurement decisions in more detail here.
- SPEND CONTROL
A lot of times educational institutions aren’t designed to make money and are running on funding. This makes spend control to be one of the most important features to focus on in an education management software.
Transparency is key in controlling spend. Within an education management system, you will see:
- Requests - you can see who is requesting what. You can see from a departmental level or user level or by project. An education management system can track these requests over time and more importantly control where spend is going
- Approval - who approved what spend and to whom. You can track how often people are being approved and at what dollar value. An education management system can pull this information for high level insights or to provide detailed individual activity
- Actual Spend - who is spending what. An education management system can let you know how much is being spent by a person or department. You can use this number against performance numbers to ensure you are making the most out of your spend
- Budget - how much spend is allocated to what and when. An education management system can track and forecast your budget. It can let you know when you need to slow down to prevent overspend
With an education management system, you will be able to see your funding and where your spend is going. You can track spend by departments, special programs, general maintenance and many other operational necessities or ongoing projects.
Being able to see your needs versus the spend is important to ensuring that every dollar is accounted for. And the ability to pull such information is equally as important in an education management system.
A cautionary tale was in the news recently. A school district in South Carolina received an audit and the accountants identified potential for “significant fraud, waste and abuse” in the disbursement of district funds. A good educational management software for procurement and solid processes in place, could have prevented this from happening by tracking spend every step of the way.
Education management software for procurement can be an educational facility's best friend. It can save time and money when purchasing through a variety of its features.
By focusing on requisitions and orders, supplier management, data management and spend control, an education management software can facilitate the procurement of your students' education and not waste time and money on purchases.
With an education management software for procurement, you can ensure that your institution’s purchasing does not run awry. Focusing on key areas can prevent costly mistakes and ensure smart purchasing.
If you have an education management software for procurement or are looking to implement one, internal processes are just as important as the software itself. You can find an amazing FREE starter kit to help you get setup by clicking here.