2015 Annual Report

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2015 Annual Report

Another successful year has been recorded for PURCO SA in all key areas of operation. We have grown our ambit of services and enjoyed the increasing support of our members , who are channelling more of their procurement budgets through the contracts we have negotiated with suppliers that meet our strict criteria.

With some important positive exceptions the last year has largely been a case of business as usual, with incremental growth in all our key areas of operation.
Harder to measure, but where we are sensing enormous improvement, is the degree of respect and trust that PURCO SA has earned in the market. The positive sentiment is allowing us to the move into areas beyond our initial reason for existence, which is obviously to save money and increase the efficiency and transparency of procurement processes in higher education sector.

We continue to do that, but our position as a trusted third party is also allowing us to expand into additional, useful services. These include engaging directly with National Treasury,  assessing the skills gap in the higher education procurement sector, facilitating training courses to raise standards and developing a supplier and enterprise development plan for the higher education sector.

On the financial side, our members spent R1.36 billion through PURCO SA in the past year, up from R1 billion in the previous year. That confirms the enormous benefits of using our collaborative purchasing power and the simplicity of purchasing through our organisation. The amount of price savings our members achieved by using our contracts exceeded R119 million for the year, and we also handed back a total rebate of R12.6 million to member institutions.
As the demands of the high education sector change, we have used our experience with drawing up tenders and contracts to again increase the scope of the products and services we are able to procure. The number of contracts under management or negotiated by PURCO SA exceeded 450 in 2015, largely through our efforts to broaden the range of contracts we negotiate.

The newer areas we now cover include building leases, student verification services, security surveillance and emergency services, such as having medical personnel on site when students are organising events or protests.

Despite our growth we have kept our own operating costs in check, following our own philosophy of keeping tight control over the spending of public organisations.
Whilst ‘business as usual’ and consistent growth typified the year, real gains were achieved with member engagement and contract scope. The revamped annual conference and new social media initiatives achieved milestone leaps in member and supplier communication and community, while the range of contracted products and services increased substantially.

One area where growth has been slower than we would like is in the take up of the e-procurement services we now offer.

Our online service for travel procurement has been relatively successful, but there is still a long way to go in rolling out e-procurement systems for ordering the more routine items. The switch from paper-based systems to electronic is inevitable, and we hope that in the coming year we will guide more of our members through the process of implementing these systems, and see them enjoying the benefits of even more reliable and transparent purchasing processes.