As university staff will no doubt be aware, Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it very clear that he is prepared to allow the UK to leave the EU on a “no-deal” basis.  This will have a number of implications and ramifications, some of which will need to be considered seriously by procurement professionals representing and leading the function.  Our procurement arm, the Southern University Purchasing Consortium (SUPC), has been working closely with other UK University Purchasing Consortia (UKUPC) to address potential challenges within university supply chains.

A year ago, when “no-deal” was initially considered as a possibility, the UKUPC worked collaboratively to evaluate risks involved via the range of framework contracts available to universities. We highlighted to our combined consortia membership those areas which we believe presented a low, medium and high risk.  Included in the assessment, we detailed the outcome of our communications with suppliers and confirmed their responses to our perceived risks including how they might mitigate those.

To ensure we are able to continue to help universities plan and prepare appropriately, SUPC, together with our fellow UKUPC, will now be revisiting this exercise to update the review with new information and advice from our suppliers.

While we can, and will, continue to support universities on their use of SUPC framework contracts, we recognise the range of products and services you purchase is hugely varied.  It’s important for procurement teams to develop a clear picture of their supply chain for all existing contracts and seek to understand which present a higher or lower risk by asking appropriate questions around key topics. Universities should consider currency, staffing, supplies shortages, increased risk of modern slavery, waste impacts, products subject to higher levels of border control, border delay impacts, and how agile suppliers are in a fluctuating market.

If you would like additional information on h0w SUMS division, SUPC, is supporting Brexit readiness from a procurement perspective, please email us at supc@reading.ac.uk.

 

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