The end of the pandemic has brought a whole new set of challenges for many business sectors – for the food service market, this includes challenges with procurement. These are not just about the price of products, as other issues come to the fore.
“Availability of product and limited supplier choice is now almost bigger issues than cost inflation,” says Martin Hudson, Client Services Director heading up the Client Management team at Pelican. “Added to that, a continuing shortage of delivery drivers means suppliers are now finding it difficult to meet their customers’ requirements.”
As if supply chains were not already stretched after the pandemic, the war in Ukraine has revealed how important the country was in keeping Europe supplied with food ingredients including sunflower oil and cereals including wheat.
The team’s experience is facing these new challenges head-on – starting with finding alternatives when certain raw materials or products simply are not available or are in short supply.
“Because of our impartiality, expertise and scale, we have the ability to split out products and source alternatives.
We were recently able to mitigate price increases for one multi-site client by switching them over to alternative products that offered better value for money. These product switches offered the client a cost reduction of £50k+ on their proposed price increase.”
The ongoing driver shortage is forcing suppliers to take a long hard look at their delivery schedules. In some cases, they are turning round to customers and imposing less frequent deliveries, or minimum order size. By juggling suppliers and sources, the Pelican team have been able to maintain deliveries to optimise supply timing and stock levels.
The challenge of less choice, plus rising prices, has meant the Pelican team is now working with clients to re-engineer menus. Sometimes it is simply about reducing the options, but one sure way to derive better value is to use seasonal products when they are plentiful and cheaper.
These new challenges can also be partly offset by Pelican’s cloud-based Pi system, says Martin.
“Because we’re managing prices, and updating them on Pi in realtime, users can always be sure their menu costings are up to date.”
Pi is also able to save clients time, especially when they are struggling to find staff. Pi modules cover everything from placing online orders to stock management, deliveries to invoicing and payments, budget, reporting, menu management, and allergen issues – taking care of otherwise time-consuming tasks.
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