New centralized procurement group helps save $26.9M over last 12 months
BOSTON – The University of Massachusetts has saved $26.9 million in operational costs as a result of its innovative efficiency and effectiveness program since January 2020, for a total of more than $125 million since the E&E program was launched in FY11, according to the university’s FY20 Efficiency and Effectiveness Report.
“We take our stewardship of public and student resources extremely seriously at the University of Massachusetts,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “Every dollar saved through our efficiency program is one that can be reinvested in our students and our mission, and there is no more powerful driving force than that.”
The $126.7 million in total savings – which are reinvested into student programs and services that improve the overall academic experience at the university – are made possible by 133 total projects that have been initiated since the program’s launch in 2011. Of that total, $22.3 million is comprised of spending reductions, and the remaining $77.5 million is driven by cost avoidance measures.
The three largest areas in which the university has made progress are in emergency and sustainability ($49.4M), purchasing initiatives ($23.9M) and IT ($19.7M).
In January of 2020, UMass launched the Unified Procurement Services Team, or UPST, led by Chief Procurement Officer David Cho. The purpose of the UPST is to develop a robust pipeline of process improvements and cost savings projects. Since its launch, UPST has achieved $26.9 million in savings through 94 initiatives across all five UMass campuses. The university expects that savings attributable to UPST will accelerate as the operation matures.
“We are thrilled that our operating philosophy of ‘better, faster, cheaper’ has become so engrained in the organization and pleased that we are seeing such strong returns early in the process,” said Chief Procurement Officer David Cho. “We expect that these savings will continue to grow in subsequent years as our procurement operation matures and continues to innovate in partnership with the campuses.”
Despite the financial impacts of COVID-19 on the university, and on higher education as a whole, S&P Global, Moody’s and Fitch all recently reaffirmed their bond ratings of the university. Moody’s cited the university’s “significant research activity…growing net tuition revenue…disciplined budget management.” The firm added that these factors will “provide UMass with sufficient runway to manage through near-term operating volatility associated with the coronavirus pandemic.”