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Balfour Kilpatrick shapes up

M&E firm shrinks its supply chain to 1,500 firms to save money and boost quality

Balfour Kilpatrick expects to see savings of up to 15 per cent after slashing its supply chain from 8,000 to just 1,500 firms.

The £300 million-turnover M&E firm has reorganised its procurement, negotiating contracts nationally to increase its bargaining power but still allowing local ordering.

Balfour Kilpatrick supply chain and procurement manager David Swinburne said: “Our previous methods were very piecemeal, with everyone doing things their own way.

“Now we have a more streamlined approach in place, which saves us money on our orders but also makes it more likely we’ll get the right supplies in place at the right time.

“We’ve put in place a network of approved and preferred suppliers that are the first-choice people we usually go to. Our providers are tried and tested people who’ve historically provided volume and quality.”

Mr Swinburne said national suppliers had been chosen to offer standard of service across the whole of the country, but added that regional managers had the ability to negotiate with nearby suppliers where local knowledge was required.

He said: “That way, we get consistency of supply wherever we can, and regional expertise wherever we need it.”

Mr Swinburne said that his supply chain benefited from the move because it led to increased security for firms that were selected, as well as a greater understanding of what they could expect from his firm.

He said he did not know whether the system would be rolled out across parent company Balfour Beatty.

But he admitted: “The procurement managers from across the company get together on a regular basis, so this will be looked at a fairly high level.”