Procurement has a big role to play in Fuel for Growth – here’s how we can help your team

I’m Krishna Ruparelia, I head up a category in the procurement team. Through my day job I was brought in to support the travel and expenses cost category that David Roberts is leading, and I’ve since come on to support the utilities, maintenance and facilities categories too.

My role is to support the Cost Category Owners (CCOs) and team with the information they need, pull the data about current contracts and costs and help them analyse it. I go to all the workshops where teams come up with ideas and develop them into initiatives. I help test hypotheses that come out of the workshops – for example, we’ve recently looked at what we could save if we changed our hotel mix, or cut travel by 20%.

The initiatives I’ve worked on with various teams include:

  • Reviewing of our refrigeration supply chain
  • Reviewing our facilities management supply chain at our logistics depots
  • Looking at how we extend the lifecycle for cleaning machines across our food stores

The workshops have representatives from across our businesses and different functions, so this plus the Exec visibility and support means we can get things done quicker than we could alone. The environment in a workshop is really positive too – people are encouraged to be ambitious and challenge the norm, and no idea is a bad idea.

And the CCO teams aren’t just looking at cutting costs but how we get the best value for money, making sure we get the right specification of goods or services, and how we manage demand better. We also highlight areas that need investment too, for the Exec to consider.

Fuel for Growth feels more all-encompassing than anything we’ve done before. From when Steve Murrells launched our new 5 year ambition at the start of the year and Fuel for Growth launched shortly afterwards, it’s given us a very clear vision of why we need to save this money.

We can help leaders make smarter buying choices

Historically there’s been a perception about the procurement industry that we’re there to go out and buy things we’re asked to buy – and that is definitely one part of the role. But at the Co-op we have category managers that are experts in their areas and understand the internal and external environment, bringing in best practice, innovation, continuous improvement and commercial creativity within our supply chains to help give us a competitive advantage.

We’re aligned with budget holders and Finance Business Partners, and we make sure that we’re meeting our legal and ethical obligations and staying true to our value and principles. Our procurement team has been part of a cross functional team within the business that has done some industry leading work around modern slavery, including within our own supply chain.

We’re here to advise you and help you make the best buying decisions, and that isn’t always about going for the cheapest price. If you have any questions about how you can make smarter buying decisions in your own area, you can contact Procurement by emailing procurementsurvey@coop.co.uk

And if you have any ideas for how we can drive value on goods and services in the travel, utilities, maintenance or facilities areas, feel free to drop me a line or email fuelforgrowth@coop.co.uk