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Langley School, nestled within 110 acres of picturesque Norfolk countryside, stands as a beacon of educational excellence for almost 800 students aged 6 months to 18 years. With a history dating back to 1858, Langley is comprised of two campuses, Taverham Park and Langley Park, offering a rich array of facilities and a nurturing environment for students, with over 280 members of staff.

We sat down with Rachel Smith, Director of Compliance and Operations, and Tim Green, Head Chef at Langley, to delve into the challenges they faced in managing costs related to their food and beverage services and the strategic partnership they formed with Pelican Procurement to overcome these hurdles.

The Challenges

Providing high-quality food service at Langley School has been a top priority. Still, challenges such as rising food prices, limited supply options due to the school’s rural location, and catering staff shortages across the county, created obstacles for the team. Rachel Smith highlighted the complexity:  “As a Day and Boarding School catering for pupils from nursery to sixth form students, we cater for a variety of dietary needs, it is very important to us to deliver high-quality meals, made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients.”

Tim Green added: “We face challenges such as operating three kitchens, we have relatively restricted delivery windows and we accommodate a variety of dietary requirements, including vegan, gluten-free, while operating a nut-free environment.  The food service is fairly intensive, providing three meals a day, every day; we also cater for internal and external events. It’s a 7-day-a-week operation.”

Procurement Partnership

Langley School sought a reliable partner to help them navigate these challenges and found a steadfast ally in Pelican Procurement. Rachel emphasised the longstanding relationship: “We have been working with Pelican for many years. Despite facing limited supplier competition in the initial tender Pelican managed for us due to our remote location, the Pelican procurement team helped us to achieve savings while maintaining the high level of quality we require.”

The Pelican procurement team supports the school with the supply chain management for both food and beverage requirements. They ensure the school team receives the products they want when needed, and at the agreed contract pricing – this includes local suppliers, who are essential to the school.

Tim explains how Pelican supports the school’s commitment to high-quality, healthy, and locally sourced food: “Pelican onboarded a local butcher for us and supported us with local ingredients, addressing the supply challenges we face due to our location in Norfolk.”

Operational and Financial Impact

Pelican’s support has extended beyond sourcing to operational and financial efficiencies. Rachel highlighted the benefits of using Pelican’s online platform, Pi.

“Our finance team uses Pelican’s Pi system, which saves us so much time, reduces admin, and increases efficiencies. We receive one invoice for our catering, which Pelican validates as they check if suppliers have correctly charged us, and this alone is invaluable. Furthermore, the Pi system provides allergen and nutrition data, which is valuable for our menu planning.”
Rachel Smith, Director of Compliance and Operations

Results and Recommendations

The collaboration with Pelican Procurement has proven invaluable for Langley School. Tim emphasised how much Pelican’s software has helped improve efficiencies: “The transparency in the Pelican Pi Procurement system is the big thing for me. I can go online, and check invoices, credit notes, and our spending – all in real-time, which is really useful.  We can keep on top of everything and know exactly where we are. Plus, last year, we had considerable savings due to eBilling (paying suppliers online), and the invoice price checking feature.

“It’s also important to mention the consistent support we receive from Christine, our Pelican procurement account manager, is crucial. We really value her support, whether in person, over the phone or via email.”

Rachel echoed this sentiment: “The relationship we have with Pelican is key. The team is reliable and helps us to stay on top of market changes, price fluctuations, and service delivery from our suppliers. We feel we are in safe hands; it’s like always having an additional team member on our side, yet with no additional cost to our school.”

“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Pelican — the personal support and comprehensive eProcurement system, Pi, has been instrumental. The consistency in service, combined with the expertise Pelican brings, make them an invaluable partner.”
Tim Green, Head Chef

We are here to help

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