About the Author

Ken Cole
SPS Consultancy

Ken Cole has worked in senior positions in both the public and private sectors and was one of the founding Directors of SPS in 2001. He recently completed a three year secondment as Director of the London Centre of Excellence. Ken has thrilled many public and private audiences with his incisive analysis, robust delivery and his belief in 'telling it as it is'. His blog is a regular commentary of the improvement and efficiency agenda.

Make sure you pay a frequent visit to find out Ken's latest thoughts on the workings of government, the latest policy initiatives and much more...

Recent Blog Posts...

Hijacking Procurement
Ken Cole
Mar 25, 2013
Mr Pickles uses the 'P word'.
Ken Cole
Mar 07, 2013
Haringey Leads London
Ken Cole
Feb 14, 2013
Time to rethink Supplier Evaluation
Ken Cole
Aug 30, 2012
Smoke and Mirrors in Whitehall!
Ken Cole
Jul 12, 2012
Collaboration at its best
Ken Cole
May 25, 2012
Latest Procurement Card Scare
Ken Cole
Mar 21, 2012
iESE - a model for a Big Society?
Ken Cole
Mar 06, 2012
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
Ken Cole
Feb 03, 2012

Getting Smarter in the Savings Arena

Aug 15, 2008


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?



Great to see the smaller guys getting together and harnessing their collective power, this will encourage diversity and sustainabilty (and choice for consumers) as the smaller organisations can stay in business.

I think for the public sector to move forward in a truly significant way we need to look at structures and get the buying under one roof as much as possible and be brave enough to start practising what we preach !
Peter Quinn
09/10/2008 11:27

Would love to see Scotch on GCat...
01/09/2008 21:12

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