4 years ago, as an IT Manager within an SME, I spent hours and days identifying, sourcing and negotiating with suppliers whereas now with supply.ie, we ‘shop around’ for our clients, to source the best prices and suppliers. We have over 12,000 Irish suppliers, so, instead of going to Google or the Golden Pages, our smart system ‘shops around’ for our clients.
In the beginning, the biggest challenge was the patience required to launch the business. I thought we would have our prototype up-and-running within 12 weeks, when in reality it took almost 12 months! That was an early lesson highlighting the patience and determination required.
With hindsight, another oversight we made was not fully defining and clarifying our business model. For a new business type, as opposed to ‘the butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker’, getting the business model right before you invest time in a business plan, is the first key step. Talk to as many potential customers as possible to define a Value Proposition that resolves a pain for them. Searching for a business model is the most important task for any start-up.
We discovered this in 2012 after extensive market research with existing clients, where we discovered that they were making nice savings with supply.ie but were still spending thousands of Euros on rent, rates, electricity, phones and gas – five large spend categories which were not being addressed by supply.ie. Therefore, we added a new service undertaking Purchasing Audits, where we expertly examine Organisations for savings potential, forensically examining Overhead Costs. The service involves analysing spends, articulating requirements, grouping consumption and negotiating with relevant suppliers in the market.
In 2013, we have identified over €1,200,00 savings for our clients in cost categories such as Security, Gas, Printing, Electricity, Stationery, Telecoms etc. These audits compliment the free-to-use supply.ie and we still get great reward from sourcing suppliers with low margins and low overheads, providing the exact same product/service at (sometimes) half the price of other suppliers.
Our initial value proposition has not changed – we still improve the effectiveness of our client’s Procurement activities by lowering their Overheads.
However, we are now taking a more hands-on approach.
The bottom line is we help businesses reduce their costs with smart supplier sourcing. We save businesses time, money and hassle by sourcing great local competitive suppliers.
Written by Mike McGrath. For more information visit http://www.supply.ie.
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