Buying Support

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How does your organisation manage its costs?

Posted 11 December 2013 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

Since 2002 Buying Support Agency has focused on helping organisations of all sizes in both private and public sectors to reduce their costs and supply risks, thereby achieving significant value for money improvements. We've done this via our fast growing Buying Group, Procurement Healthchecks and ongoing purchasing support.

Please complete our quick Survey on cost management - and enjoy a 10% discount off prices in our online Eco Supplies Shop in the process!

We now invite you to answer 7 simple multiple choice questions, which we will then use to better understand how organisations approach the management of their costs plus any challenges that they may experience in the process. We will be using your anonymous answers to shape our next blog which we will be happy to share with you in the next few weeks. Our thanks in advance for your assistance - those who take part will be emailed a special 10% discount code that can be used up until Christmas Eve at our sister website that sells online Eco friendly business supplies.

Click here to be taken to the Survey.

by M Roper | 11 December 2013

Five top tips to help you reduce your waste costs

Posted 9 November 2013 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

BSA Buying Group has joined up with its newest supplier, a recycling and waste management broker to bring you five top tips to help you reduce your waste management costs.

1. Increase your recycling

It may be an obvious thing to say but separating more materials for recycling is the quickest and easiest way to reduce your waste management costs. Sending waste for recycling doesn't incur landfill tax whereas sending waste to landfill incurs a specific tax that currently stands at £72 per tonne and is rising annually. Can you start recycling? Can your staff recycle more of the same? Can you introduce recycling of different materials? Have you considered a zero waste to landfill solution?

2. Carry out a waste audit

When was the last time you looked at your waste management system? Businesses often overlook the process of waste management, seeing it as a non-critical activity but as businesses change and grow so do their waste management requirements. Are you handling your waste efficiently? Are you using your waste containers to their maximum capacity? Are they always all full when your supplier comes to empty them? Have the wastes you generate or where you generate them changed? A waste audit might not only identify waste handling efficiencies but help you ensure you are complying with complex waste management legislation.

3. Ask for a rebate

The increasing scarcity of raw materials has created a significant worldwide market for recyclables. If you generate large quantities of high value materials and separate these for recycling, they can be traded as a commodity. If you are not making money from your high quality recyclables, somebody else is likely to be so ask for a rebate!

4. Use raw materials more effectively

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimates that UK businesses can save up to £23billion through improvements in the efficient use of resources. Using raw materials more effectively and generating less waste in the first place doesn't necessarily require huge investment but can result in significant cost savings.

5. Talk to Buying Support Agency

There may be a more cost effective waste management solution for your business. The BSA has handpicked a highly respected and capable recycling and waste management broker with national coverage to help find the right solution for you. Click here to read more about the service and call us today on 0845 555 3344 for assistance.

by N Chennells | 9 November 2013

Severn Vale Housing Society nets £400k benefit and achieves a 'value for money culture' with help from Buying Support Agency

Posted 3 October 2013 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

Severn Vale Housing Society nets £400k benefit and achieves a 'value for money culture' with help from Buying Support Agency

It was a critical Short Notice Inspection report by the Audit Commission on behalf of the housing regulator in 2010 that started Severn Vale Housing Society (SVHS) on a journey that has resulted in cost savings from improved procurement practices, as well as improvements to cultural and community relationships.

Tim Knight, Finance Director at SVHS explains: "Nobody likes negative feedback, but we took the regulator's findings on board and decided not only to meet the recommendations the inspectors made, but to try and exceed them by developing a roadmap for future improvements. The bigger challenge for us was that unfortunately we didn't have the skills or experience in SVHS to do this alone."

It was Matthew Roper, Managing Director of Buying Support Agency (BSA), who helped SVHS, which has an annual spend of £12m, get on the right path. "When Tim explained that the findings of the Commission's audit pointed at poor value for money, a weak procurement approach, plus a lack of customer involvement, the challenges didn't sound unlike those of other businesses that we have helped" says Matthew.

The first stage was an in-depth audit of SVHS's procurement processes, led by strategic consultant Andrew Newman of the BSA. With input from Tim and his team, Andrew's work laid the foundations of a procurement strategy that included specific tasks to help SVHS develop procurement effectiveness.

With SVHS Board approval a Procurement Improvement Working Group was set up to develop and implement an action plan. Chaired by Andrew and led by Tim, it comprised a broad range of stakeholders including some SVHS managers with budget responsibility and customers of SVHS' services. Together they developed a set of purchasing procedures and development activities to guide all future buying.

Tony Merrill, a leading procurement practitioner with the BSA also joined the group to lead, advise and train key SVHS managers on tendering and contract negotiation.

The results.

SVHS now has evidence of the potential financial improvements available by adopting a 'value for money' culture and treating external expenditure strategically by (i) implementing a procurement strategy with clear procedures and training (ii) reviewing and renegotiating supply contracts and (iii) selectively using BSA Buying Group's supply contracts. In 2012 SVHS netted a £400k benefit, including first-off savings in procurement of cleaning services (£20k), asbestos removal services (£25k), vehicles (£19k), and lift contracts (£40k).

"All of the changes have been about doing things properly and cleverly - I would advise any other Housing Association faced with similar challenges to get expert advice. It has taken 3 years of hard work to get us to where we are now. We are now better informed and have robust procurement practices. People now treat the money that they spend at work as carefully as their own, and actively look for 'value for money'. But we wouldn't have achieved any of this without the expertise of the BSA guys - they worked collaboratively with us and I see them as an essential extension of my team," concludes Tim.

What next?

It's remarkable that the Audit Commission's criticisms led to SVHS' being well under way with its procurement and value for money plans when the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) took control over housing regulation in April 2012 and introduced a new Value for Money standard. Since the Procurement Improvement Group had worked so well, SVHS widened its remit and created a Value for Money Improvement Group which currently is proving very effective.

Only this month the Society has produced its first VFM Self Assessment with links via its website to activity dashboards for all areas of the business which link costs, income, staff usage, KPIs, and customer/social outcomes to the corporate strategy.

It's going very well, BSA still work closely with SVHS and the 2013 value for money plan also looks set to deliver further improvements for the business, its customers, and the wider community.


Image supplied showing (left to right): Tim Knight, Finance Director of Severn Vale Housing Society, with Tony Merrill, Procurement Consultant and Matthew Roper, Managing Director of Buying Support Agency.

Notes to editors:

Buying Support Agency (BSA) provides a comprehensive Procurement and Purchasing service to businesses that wish to increase profits, reduce costs, reduce supply risks and ensure budget is used efficiently i.e. receive 'value for money'.

Services provided include: overhead and cost reduction (up to 35% savings via BSA's Buying Group), procurement consultancy and audit, procurement outsourcing and purchasing training.

The BSA Buying Group has partnered with many trade associations (e.g. the Institute of Directors) to offer their members the benefit of its buying power and expertise to reduce costs and supply chain risk on a client specific basis across a range of overheads.

BSA also provides a sustainable procurement advisory service to help organisations 'buy green' - this includes a green procurement audit, sustainable procurement training plus an online shop,, which sells thousands of eco-friendly business and school supplies.

For more information on this media release, please contact Samantha Smith on:

08454 567 760 or by email:

by Samantha Smith | 3 October 2013

Helping sales teams gain insights into buyer mentality

Posted 22 April 2013 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

Many sales people consider meetings with procurement as a confrontation designed purely to reduce their price, and regard procurement people as an adversary. Whilst procurement may see little or no value from the sales person and regard any meeting as unproductive. For commercial activity to progress these interactions need to happen, there must be a better way.

Rather than seeing each other as difficult we need both parties to understand the differences and the common ground. Whilst sales people have moved from transaction sales to relationship selling, and have learnt about business needs and how to sell to finance.... the procurement department largely remains an unknown!

By understanding the procurement function, and the people involved in purchasing and supply chain management, sales people can more effectively engage and deliver value. Through insight and appreciation of purchasing objectives the interaction can evolve from confrontation to collaboration. This will allow sales people to work with procurement for mutual gain and allow both organisations to achieve their business aims and objectives.

Buying Support Agency and Prepit, a leading sales development organisation, have collaborated to develop a sales development workshop to help support sales people to evolve their understanding. For further information contact Buying Support Agency (0845 217 8995)

by BSA & Prepit | 22 April 2013

Where's the Beef?

Posted 8 February 2013 | Feed Icon | 0 Comments

The latest beef supply chain scandal is making headline news across Europe. Some of our biggest supermarkets (e.g. Tesco, Aldi, Waitrose) have discovered some of their beef products to have contained horse meat. It is perhaps surprising when one considers how highly regulated the UK beef market has become over recent decades, particularly after the BSE crisis.

Whatever has happened in this case, and it is too early to tell whether criminal activities have been involved, our view is that procurement has a critical part to play in ensuring that supply chains perform in a way that ensures customer's safety. Thorough and frequent inspections of abattoirs, food processing plants and food supply chain labelling systems must take place by both producers and retailers notwithstanding the role of the food standards agency.

There is a broader point too, not specific to the food industry, and that is that there is always a danger of complacency after a period of many years of supplier management, but that procurement staff within producers must always be alert to the potential risks down the supply chain and to be vigilant. Otherwise the consequences to their organisations and to the general public could be dire.

by M Roper | 8 February 2013