Food and drink companies should focus on indirect spend and buy 'more smartly'

Gurjit Degun
24 June 2014

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24 June 2014 | Gurjit Degun

Sweeteners producer Tate & Lyle needs "more engagement" on how procurement can help the company spend money more effectively, its global indirects procurement manager Ian Brooks has said.

He was speaking during a breakfast briefing held by e-procurement provider Procserve in London this morning.

Brooks, who has been at the company for 15 months, explained he is working to help staff buy better. “The biggest challenge for me is around the indirect space and making sure that it’s tied back to the business and getting visibility,” he said. "Technology is an enabler but we need more engagement across the business in how to spend money, how procurement can help and up-skilling the organisation.”

Denis Brennan, cost management consultant at Auditel, agreed indirect spend is an area where companies can get cost under control. “The big challenge [for retailers] is to reduce the cost base and keep it low. A company can go through a cost reduction exercise but it can start to creep back up," he added.

“Cost management is the big issue. I would have thought that’s what [retailers] have to achieve – reduce costs by buying more smartly and driving costs of purchasing down and keeping it down.”

The event also heard from Steve Barnes, director of economics and commercial services at the Food and Drink Federation, who explained major supermarkets are facing tough financial times due to increased competition from low-cost retailers.

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