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    Success Story

    Cancer Research UK Sourcing and Contract Management: From Telecoms to Mud

    About Cancer Research UK 

    Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity, dedicated to saving lives through research. The charity’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives. Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UKs vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

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    The Challenge 

    Cancer Research UK, like most charities, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The charity had to close its shops temporarily and cancel fundraising events including Race for Life. As a result of the pandemic, Cancer Research UK expected to see a decline in its income of £30m in 2020, and £300m over three years.

    Effective and efficient sourcing, procurement and supplier management are vital to manage and reduce costs. Cancer Research UK needs a centralized view of contracts and suppliers to understand where costs are, and to reduce them where possible.

    Further challenges for the charity include operating a decentralized model with lots of regional events and sourcing requirements. Cross-functional collaboration and approval processes are complex, so having the right tools in place to ensure efficiency is extremely important.

    Not Just Any Old Mud

    The procurement team is responsible for sourcing an extraordinary range of product and service categories for the central organization and for teams across the UK.

    Everything from telecoms through to print, travel, events, scientific equipment consumables to mud. Yes, mud.

    Vitor Mariano, procurement category manager at Cancer Research UK, explained: “The procurement team sometimes has to order some rather unusual things. A good example is mud, for our Race for Life Pretty Muddy® fundraising events. These are 5km events over a muddy obstacle course. The mud has to be safe, clean and of exactly the right consistency. We put out a tender and eventually found exactly the right product.”

    This is just one example of the many weird and wonderful things the procurement team at Cancer Research UK sources.

    Contract Management and Sourcing with JAGGAER

    Cancer Research UK implemented JAGGAER in 2015 and since then has made a concerted effort to bring contract management under central control. “This is challenging, because a lot of the contracts are with regional suppliers responding to the needs of local people organizing events, and this made assessment difficult,” Mariano explained. It was therefore a big advantage to have a contract management database in place. “This will put us in a much better position when we are able to return to live events or for managing contracts for virtual events,” he added.

    Sourcing in JAGGAER is also helping Cancer Research UK to get better deals. “JAGGAER gives us a clear and failsafe solution for RFI and RFP processes. We have tried to keep our implementation as simple and straightforward as possible, ‘out of the box’ with few steps.”

    The pandemic has presented challenges but has made this approach to procurement not only more urgent but more normal.

    “With the help of JAGGAER we have compressed the time it takes to execute big tenders, including those involving fairly complex categories, from several months to a few weeks. A good example is fulfilment, a very complex category that encompasses elements such as consumables, warehousing, distribution and final fulfilment. In the past, we would have needed to create at least two or three separate tenders for this. But the JAGGAER platform is helping us to respond to the current situation by consolidating and streamlining, condensing everything into a single tender, built up in less than a month,” Mariano reported.

    digital healthcare


    • Greater organizational agility in difficult times
    • Efficient contract management
    • Faster setup and execution of sourcing events
    • Support for sourcing a wide range of categories

    Next steps

    One area where Mariano says Cancer Research UK will continue focusing in the future is vendor performance review. There is an appetite to do more here, in order to get better value from suppliers and optimize supplier relationships.

    A task will be to increase usage among the hundreds of stakeholders. In the autumn of 2020 Cancer Research UK renewed its contract with JAGGAER. “We carried out a review of our needs and wants and JAGGAER ticked all the boxes for the core modules that we are using,” Mariano affirmed.

    Download the Cancer Research UK case study in PDF.

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