We have found recently that buying energy, photocopying and LED replacement programmes have been providing excellent savings for our clients.
How do we work:
- We will conduct an initial meeting to hear from the client which areas they are most interested in looking into.
- We then conduct a survey of the data gathered for each specific tariff area and then we report back our findings.
- From this point we can then assist the client in finding the best solution to take forward.
- If a client likes what we recommend, we implement it. After that we keep an eye on things to ensure that the supplier continues to deliver what was agreed.
- We never go ahead with implementing a saving until instructed to do so by the client.
- We never raise a fee until the saving has been delivered and is in the client’s account. Our fee is usually a share of the saving, i.e. we are paid out of our success, and we work hard to keep our rate competitive.
The areas that we look at most often are as follows:
Catering services, Cleaning services, Drinks, Electricity, Facilities maintenance, Food, Funding/Financial, Furniture, Gas, Grounds maintenance, IT consumables, Janitorial /Cleaning materials, Laundry, Office supplies /Stationery, Oil & LPG, Photocopiers/Printers/MFDs, Postage & DX, Printing, Security equipment, Staff/Human Resources, Telecoms, Transport, Utility bill validation. Waste water & sewerage, Water supply.
Most recent examples:
- For a small independent school in the Midlands we achieved a 20% saving on energy and helped to organise their energy buying into the future
- We achieved an £80,000 saving for an academy on their photocopying contracts
- We achieved a 10% reduction on lighting for a school development project using the best unbeatable quality LEDs lamps and fittings
Other areas where we have achieved saving:
- Utilities: we’ve always beaten in-house broker’s best price for spends over £20,000 per annum
- Major public school: £650,000 for a range of services over 3 years.
- Electricity: rebate of £150,000 for an academy.
- Gas: saving of 13% for a £100,000 one-year contract
- Heating costs: 25% reduction annually for a prep school.
“Using Less Stuff through Innovation”
n-Coders is a leading South West based software development company developing bespoke business automation packages for a wide range of companies in many different sectors. These systems have included amongst others: time management programmes for a large skilled workforce, software applications for a hi-tech gym system; business applications for financial; legal services with a need to automate man-hour intensive processes; and a booking system for a holiday company.
We were invited to work with the n-Coders team to look at three key areas: Strategic Planning, Operational Streamlining and Business Development.
Strategic Planning was something that the company’s senior management had made an initial start. However, as is often the case, the day to day pressures of delivering products and outputs to the customer had pushed this strategic development down the priority list. We were able to help. Initially by understanding what n-Coders did; its unique offer; its process for delivering that offer; its aims for the future. We were then in a position to write a comprehensive plan for developing those aspirations for the future; putting in place some realistic way-points to get there. We were able to set the team off on this course. Going forward it is essential that the plan is regularly reviewed and adjusted according to circumstances and progress.
At the same time we looked at Operational Delivery. As is often the case the company had grown organically from a very small and efficient 1-2 person team into 8 team members. This is fine until the demands of orders become such that a process needs to be established in order that manpower is efficiently used, quality is assured and output in delivered in a timely fashion. Building software requires all of these factors to be well refined and understood. This is what we did. Key within it was the process of build, test, merge and deployment of each version of software and importantly building a matrix by which each project had sufficient time allocated to it to reach deadlines required. Not easy and there were some difficulties however now there is a robust process in place which should ensure: Quality and Timeliness.
With all small teams there is often the need for team members to be double or treble hatted. So while delivering operational output, within the optimum processes that had been developed there was a need to also look for new business. We worked through this with the team; identifying time needed in which to reach out to new customers – attending business shows, online research, developing an online presence, through websites and social media. Importantly the need to maintain and upset to current customers is a must; they know how the company works, its products and hopefully are very content with what they have had developed previously.
Finally recruitment we helped to identify where and what priority the next team members should be. Technical operational lead was essential, the constant search for the right software developers and key administrative support.
The company has a full order book going forward and we maintain a close link with the senior management.
Some thoughts on Remote Management. Benbole Management supports a small editorial team based in Hong Kong while living in the UK. The nature of the team’s output is by necessity a global one; the team delivers a quarterly journal and on-line content world wide. This content provides an educational service to the financial industry which specifically deals with electronic trading protocols. However, for the purposes of this post the nature of the team’s output is only relevant in passing; it is the method of steering and managing the team that is interesting. Management in many instances is inherently a people function where the manager is striving, with the team, to achieve a number of objectives. This is no less so in this instance and good relationships between team members is essential; the relationship between the manager and team members has required constant effort due to the constraint of remote management both in terms of geographical spread and time zones. Nonetheless, the in-place systems work and works well. It is interesting that the team will soon have a member in the US.
Four key areas have proved to be the pillars of success: Remote Management Communications Techniques and Systems; Using Technology to Focus Effort; Tasking the Team; Planning and Face to Face Meetings.