An interesting piece in a newspaper* yesterday about 'Mey Selections' the common brand name for products supplied by the 500+ organisations that make up the North Highlands Products (NHP) cooperative. Broadly speaking, this initiative sponsored by HRH The Prince of Wales, has brought together farmers, fisheries, distillers and even clothing outlets in this remote part of Scotland into a collaborative group trading under a common brand for the purpose of selling to supermarket giants.
What has this got to do with public sector cash savings you may be wondering? The answer is summarised in a comment about an NHP founder member, "almost all his livestock is sold through Mey Selections, giving him three to four per cent uplift on lamb and five to six per cent uplift on beef". It is supply positioning in action, a group of suppliers moving out of the tactical box towards the strategic ones by redefining their selling approach.
Turning this round, why can't public sector bodies do the same by redefining their buying approach? No, this is not a hollow call for aggregation and another framework contract. Neither is it a call for a joint approach to office supplies and water coolers. It is about organisations becoming smarter and rethinking the approach and nature of their commercial engagement with the large corporate suppliers that typically account for 70% of their total procurement expenditure. Pursuing genuine cross sector working and setting up regional / sub-regional category management teams might provide a useful starter?