11 June 2007 | Antony Barton
A buying organisation for the social housing sector has unveiled supply discounts and a purchasing card scheme that it claims will save millions.
Procurement for Housing (PfH), which has 540 housing association members, has negotiated prices on more than 30,000 products with building suppliers such as Jewson, Grafton Group and Burdens.
Contractors will pay for these items with an electronic account card. The merchant computer systems will identify the transaction as part of the deal and apply the correct price structure, compile purchase information and transmit an electronic invoice through PfH's central billing system.
PfH says the arrangement, called the Materials for Maintenance and Capital Works Agreement, will result in competitive prices through national volume purchasing power, an efficient transaction process and better management information than that provided through conventional purchasing cards.
The agreement and account card system have already had a 12-month trial. As a result, almost 50 Members are using it, including Circle Anglia, Eden Housing Association and the Heart of England Housing Association.