Suppliers need to emulate Ocado

Suppliers are not meeting expectations, a leading caterer told the conference. Chris Towler is chef director of ISS Eaton, a multinational workplace catering company turning over pound;621m in the UK and employing 40,000 people.

Towler said he wanted his supplier to be the equivalent of Ocado to his home. He continued: “Sadly they don’t live up to my expectations. Why is e-procurement taking so long? I still get suppliers delivering with handwritten invoices. There is a long way to go and a lot of hard work to be done.”

Suppliers need to act as advice centres to their clients, Towler said. He wanted to be advised as soon as possible about any price rises in raw materials. “I work in a fixed price environment. Every time my raw materials go up my margins are being eroded and I need to be able to go my client with smart information to see if we can negotiate,” he said

Well trained telesales staff were also vital, said Towler. “I cannot over emphasise the value of telesales people. You cannot over invest in them.”

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