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Current circumstances have forced us all to change the way we work. Some organisations and businesses have closed completely. Others remain open to help those in need during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • NHS and other frontline staff
  • pupils who are attending schools
  • students staying on the campus
  • local community

For us at Pelican, our team are working safely from home. They are continuing supporting clients who are still operational with any procurement needs.

How we support our clients?

Firstly, we’ve been helping our clients to ensure they get as much of what they need, when they need it. Our experience in the sector has meant we’ve been able to provide some quick wins, by thinking laterally.

Secondly, we’ve are supporting organisations who are using their downtime to review their systems and procedures. Many of them are looking for efficiency – in order to come back stronger, when they reopen. Some of these projects include: menu management, stock management, integrating tills with Epos etc..

Market challenges

Never mind bad weather or strikes. The coronavirus has delivered a set of operational, procurement and supply chain challenges that nobody could have planned for.

We’ve seen staffing issues (due to illness, caring for family or being furloughed), reduced delivery drops, and product shortages. Those supply interruptions have hit core products, such as bread, pasta, rice and fresh produce. As well as medical and janitorial products – from gloves and toilet paper to kitchen rolls and hand wipes.

While there have been product shortages, many suppliers and their customers have been left with stock they can’t use or cannot deliver. This has created the fresh challenge of redeploying perishable goods before they have to go to waste.

Suddenly, it’s not about price or service level agreements. But about logistics – and building links between organisations that would never normally need to speak to one another.

For all suppliers, the priority is all about accommodating the needs of hospitals and other key front-line workers. And this is something everybody in the industry understands.

This has been echoed by many other businesses and organisations. For example some universities have been donating food, PPE kit and other core products to hospitals.

At Pelican, our team have been sourcing donations and stock on behalf of NHS Trusts. In order to help provide vital products to frontline NHS staff who are struggling to get to the supermarket.

“GSTT are very grateful for the services offered by Pelican during this increasingly difficult and challenging situation we find ourselves in. Pelican have been influential from both supporting the numerous donations and procuring emergency stock so that we could provide our staff with essential supplies. Pelican have demonstrated great resilience in meeting the demands and challenges of the Trust for which we are sincerely grateful.”

Robert Cormack, General Manager Catering Central Services at Essentia

Checking on product availability

The main activity for our procurement team has been to regularly monitor client orders versus suppliers’ stock levels and delivery availability. 

The key here has been regular communication – providing information to clients well in advance and offering them an alternative solution if products were not available from their current supplier.

Thanks to our live product database, we are able to find similar products and liaise with suppliers that have them in stock.

“I really appreciate the support Pelican is providing us with during this difficult time. Pelican has been able to source for us PPE, gloves and paper hygiene products from alternative suppliers. Enabling us to continue delivering a high level of quality care to all our residents, for which we are very grateful.”

Sharon McNicholl | Accounts Payable Manager at Silverline Care

Sourcing new products

With many catering facilities closed and health & safety restrictions put in place, we’ve had to source new products that fit the bill, often convenience foods. As Rahele Mirnateghi, domestic bursar at St Hugh’s College Oxford comments:

“I am very grateful for the support Pelican provided during this difficult and challenging time we find ourselves in. Pelican is helping us to source new suitable products including Pot Noodles, grab & go and take-way packaging, to help us provide meals for students that have remained living on the campus. Pelican have demonstrated great resilience in managing our supply chain and providing vital information, for which we are very grateful.”

Rahele Mirnateghi, domestic bursar at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford

For those Universities that offer accommodation to front-line workers, we had to liaise with laundry suppliers to source an extra volume of products and increase the service levels. As well as manage their food requirements for their new residents.

Ongoing two-way communication

To manage procurement and supply chains successfully, we have ensure that both the client and the supplier are fully aware of each other’s needs and capabilities.

Our team regularly speak with all the suppliers to understand any changes to their service levels and product availability. The team then contact each client to make them aware of the situation and offer alternative plans if necessary.

We are also sharing with our clients the most up-to-date market information, product availability and pricing stability.

We are also updating suppliers of any changes within each organisation. For example, if catering operations are closed or if they require any additional or different support, or perhaps new products.

Together we are stronger

The Pelican team have been answering a whole range of new challenges for their clients, using their skills and experience. So, if you are currently struggling with any product shortages or experiencing supply chain issues – please get in touch. 

Our procurement team will happily share their knowledge and expertise. Maybe we can point you in the right direction or share valuable tips and insight – we want to help.

Alternatively, if the time is right and you are planning to review your procurement and supply chain strategies. Or you are looking to modernise your back-office processes, we would love to help.

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