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Horizon Leisure is a charitable Leisure Trust that operates Horizon Havant, Horizon Waterlooville, Horizon Guildford, and the Horizon Wellbeing Hub. It aims to connect communities with physical activity, with facilities that provide a wide range of sporting, leisure, and wellbeing opportunities for the communities it serves.

Any profitable surplus is reinvested into the facilities to maintain standards, meet customer demands and improve the customer experience. It is therefore important to ensure that costs are closely monitored and controlled to ensure maximum profits can repurposed for the benefit of the community.

Having joined the group in October 2022 as Commercial Director, Scott Mackenzie spearheaded an initiative to infuse commercial acumen into the charity-based enterprise. With more than two decades of industry experience, including prior roles with Fitness First and David Lloyd, Scott was well placed to take the lead in reviewing operational processes and commercial approaches at Horizon Leisure, with a long-term view to create greater profitability without losing sight of the organisation’s community-centric focus.

Challenges Faced

Following Scott’s arrival, he initiated a review of operations to help identify ways of boosting revenue, reduce expenses, and align the business for sustainability, as he explains:

“One of my first actions was to contact Pelican Procurement to learn more about how they may be able to support our operations and reduce costs. As a charitable business, any profit we make goes back into the organisation – so it’s profit for a purpose, and I was interested in seeing where savings could be made.

The cafes in each of Horizon’s centres are popular, with our visitors enjoying great barista coffees, light snacks and hot food to help them refuel before or after a workout.  However, with food and beverage costs continuing to fluctuate, this was a critical area that we wanted to address.

I’d heard positive things about Pelican in our industry and they immediately impressed me from the offset.  When I met Darren, Pelican’s Client Development Manager, he explained how Pelican could consolidate our purchasing processes into one single platform, negotiate with suppliers, find the best-fit solutions for our sites, and essentially streamline many of our operational functions. It was exactly what I was looking to achieve.”

Supplier Management

The initial activity was to go to tender. Therefore, Pelican reviewed the volume of Horizon’s purchases, including what products they were regularly buying and the frequency, to learn more about their delivery requirements.

Confirms Scott: “The tender process was surprisingly smooth and easy. With Pelican at our side, they removed the stress of presenting our requirements to various suppliers. Darren presented the outcomes with recommendations on the suppliers that would suit our needs best. It removed the need to deal with multiple suppliers directly and saves us a great deal of time.”

One requirement that Scott stipulated at the outset was the opportunity to continue working with local or trusted suppliers, such as its cleaning company, as Scott explains:

“While we did switch to an alternative cleaning company as part of the tender results, unfortunately, we were not satisfied with them. Pelican was, however, very quick to support us and acquired our preferred cleaning company onto Pi systems, so we now have the best of both worlds – buying through Pelican yet receiving the cleaning service from a company that we know and trust.

Another example is when we opened a new bar; Pelican helped us to acquire new providers, and this included local suppliers. Pelican knows we like to support local businesses wherever possible, and this was taken into consideration.”

Purchasing Support for Non-Food & Beverage Needs

Pelican’s pivotal role has extended beyond managing food, beverage, and cleaning suppliers; it has also supported the team at Horizon with purchasing appliances, including glasswashers, ice machines, and fridges. Confirms Scott, “We had previously bought some new air fryers directly, and we had a lot of back and forth with the supplier. To say it was arduous is an understatement! When talking to Darren, he explained that Pelican can manage our equipment purchases, saving us time obtaining quotes and liaising with suppliers.  Since then, we’ve procured glasswashers, ice machines, and refrigerators, saving a great deal of time and money.”

Technological Integration and Financial Efficiency

One of Scott’s original goals was to review operational processes to identify ways of making their team’s workload more straightforward to reduce administrative burdens and save time.

The adoption of Pelican’s eProcurement system, Pi, has made its mark in streamlining operations, as well as reducing the number of systems used by duty managers and facilitating efficient financial management. The system has helped the team manage everything from supplier ordering and invoices to menus, stock management, and more.

Scott confirms: “Our Finance Team looks after the invoice management and reviews spending.  Pelican Pi helps them to have everything on one platform so they can delve down to check the overall spending, as well as look at individual invoice line items.  It ensures we are being charged the correct amount while also saving a huge amount of time with just one invoice rather than multiple invoices from all suppliers. “

The Pelican Pi system also supports Horizon’s Operational team, as Scott adds: “Previously, our duty managers were using multiple ordering and software systems. With Pelican, we have been able to reduce the number of systems they use in a typical day, which makes life so much easier! This is the convenience and quality that Pelican Pi offers”

Reliability and Service Excellence

“A big maker of our successful partnership with Pelican has been the financial savings from Pelican’s expertise in negotiating discounts and optimising our processes. Any savings enhance our profitability, which, of course, are reinvested.  In these tough economic times, we weren’t expecting to make significant savings, so we are impressed with what has been achieved to date.

Pelican’s hands-on approach demonstrates their commitment to enhancing our offerings. They are always trying to help us, whether it’s with new menu development or in ensuring our deliveries are on time every time.  For example, they recently arranged for various food suppliers to conduct a tasting day, which was both informative and useful. Not only did this benefit our customers, but our Café teams too.

Darren at Pelican really cares about supporting us. He will jump on a call at any time to help, provide ideas for new food options for our menus, and, without question, will always be there to help with any questions.  It’s not a transactional relationship; it’s a partnership.

Essentially, by aligning with Horizon’s ethos and needs, Pelican has facilitated a transformation in operations, contributing to Horizon’s bottom line while supporting its community-centric initiatives.”

We are here to help

To learn more about our eProcurement platform, Pi, or to find out how Pelican can help your business achieve its objectives and save money, get in touch today at

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