Knowsley Community College (KCC) is one of the largest providers of further education in the country with over 12,000 school leavers and adults studying each year. The organisation prides itself on strong strategic leadership, excellent partnership agreements and highly effective teamwork, which have earned it an Ofsted Grade One award for 'Equality of Opportunity'.
The college has 8,500 end users, using a network of 2000 desktops, 200 laptops, 300 printers and 60+ white boards all underpinned by 2 Storage Area Networks, 2 ESX clusters and a dozen physical servers.
In the current challenging climate, education establishments are under pressure to improve operational efficiency with appropriate technology at the best price. This is a highly time consuming role in itself for IT staff whose core role is managing the network. KCC's IT procurement process involves a compliance level 'three-quote-per-order' process that can consume administration and information management time due to varying levels of response times from suppliers.
KCC Network Manager, Steve Morgan, explains: "We often need kit very swiftly and getting three quotes can be a very time consuming process. We prefer suppliers to be prompt in all areas so we can get to the best priced products as fast as possible, ultimately driving cost out of the procurement chain at the same time.
"There has been a history of suppliers that were often slow and unreliable in coming back to us with quotes and orders. We had to chase them up, which stretched our IT resource away from its core role. This means it is even more important for us to receive the best prices and the timely delivery of equipment."
Key Performance Indicators:
- Swift response to Request For Quotations (RFQs)
- Prompt on-time delivery
Probrand introduced a fully managed end-to-end IT procurement service to KCC's three quote requirement. This meant the appointment of a free dedicated Account Manager, who has access to IT procurement technology that aggregates information on over 125,000 products from more than 1200 vendors.
This technology enables Probrand to provide very quick automated RFQs and manage expectations on price and delivery of any given product as well as track any order that is placed, in an instant. With a dedicated Account Manager in place, backed by best practice procurement technology, customers can focus more on their core roles.
Probrand prides itself in offering accredited Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply 'procurement excellence' to its customers and a Best Practice Best Value approach - a financial assurance and accreditation by the Chartered Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Steve Morgan, KCC Network Manager, said: "Price is our biggest challenge and we benchmark regularly. Probrand consistently balances best price with high availability. This gets new technology to the education environment fast.
"Probrand wins on price most of the time, but it is the quick response, high availability and its electronic audit trail that adds value to a 'no nonsense' relationship.
"We have a significant IT budget and the time and money savings we have seen are enabling us to stretch the reach of our IT budget as well as focus more on managing our network rather than procurement admin.
"Probrand's dedicated Account Manager is readily available and drives through our orders if the business is appointed supplier once all the RFQs have been received. Probrand's support and trusted persistence here has improved our average delivery time and big critical orders arrive fast.
"As the education IT environment continues to grow into a data heavy, remote working network, Probrand's consolidated IT procurement approach is helping us to fulfil a critical challenge of staying ahead of our infrastructure needs. IT has to stay ahead of these demands if it is to maintain delivery of service levels to pupils and teachers alike.
"With Probrand's Account Management experience and procurement automation within education IT, we can access an appropriate 'one-stop-shop' for everything from desktop and server hardware to solutions, peripherals and consumables fast if they are chosen as supplier.
"We have the added value of having specialist knowledge on tap if required. An example, we mentioned to Probrand that we were having issues with our anti-virus provider. Probrand pulled in one of its strategic partners to support us with a great solution. At no extra cost a team installed the software and trained our staff.
"Probrand's 'green IT' credentials have also helped us when searching for low power consumption PCs in response to the government's focus on energy savings and greening IT. The business is acutely aware of what is 'green IT'."
KCC is buying across numerous categories including: desktop PCs and Macs, laptops & notebooks, networking, print, audio-visual & whiteboards, TFTs, USB flash drives, routers, memory modules, satnav amongst others.