UK universities could save 10% on essential repairs and maintenance costs by managing supply chains more efficiently, according to research.
The study, carried out by MindMetre Research and commissioned by Travis Perkins Managed Services, said universities across the UK could cut costs by implementing efficiency drives, particularly around the procurement of materials.
The study found most universities still use an in-house buildings repairs and maintenance (R&M) unit, which gave universities direct control over implementing cost-cutting and efficiency drives, with only 12% outsourcing this function.
Universities could significantly reduce expenditure and increase workforce productivity by streamlining R&M materials supply chains, with measures such as just-in-time stock management, improved price negotiation and transparent job scheduling.
The report included a study of 28 universities that have already implemented an estates R&M efficiency programme, achieving average annual savings of 10%.
The authors of the study said they expected the overall financial benefit would match other public services, including housing associations, local authorities and NHS trusts, which have seen savings of more the 10%.
Stuart Hough, managing director at Travis Perkins Managed Services said: “We can see from both other sectors and the universities which have already implemented an R&M efficiency programme that reviewing the purchasing and management of R&M materials could have an immediate positive impact on UK university budgets.
“It is a non-contentious area to make cost and efficiency savings and easy to implement for the 88% of universities which maintain a direct labour organisation for R&M.”