University of Chicago

The University of Chicago hired U3 Advisors to analyze the impact that institutional spending has had on the institution’s immediate surroundings and on the city of Chicago as a whole. Working with the procurement offices from the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medical Center, we analyzed over 800,000 discrete transactions from 2013, identifying key commodity areas and recommending tactics to increase local spend.

Our engagement consisted of three components:

  • Demand Analysis: Utilizing the procurement data provided by UChicago and the Medical Center, we benchmarked the demand for local goods and services generated from the institutions. The analysis identified key commodity groups and focus areas through which the institutions had the greatest potential to increase local spend.
  • Supply Analysis: Using data from national sources as well as information collected locally through a community organization, we built a custom database of all businesses currently operating within the Southside. We cross-referenced the database with the demand analysis to determine where in the Southside and across what commodities there exists untapped supply that could be leveraged by the institutions.
  • Building Infrastructure: U3A synthesized the findings from the demand and supply analyses to recommend target commodities and vendors and set benchmarks for future spending in the Southside. In addition, we proposed structural recommendations within the procurement offices, including vendor outreach, shared institutional councils, and an interactive supply database. Finally, we drafted a preliminary blueprint for strengthening commercial corridors and the local business climate, in an effort to attract new businesses within industries of high-institutional demand, but for which there is currently no local supply.