Companies Have Eye On Costs

According to the latest poll of CFO sentiment by accountants Deloitte, ‘expectations for capital expenditure have dipped as fears over post-election policy changes have weighed on corporate expansion plans’.

If belts are tightening, then the issue of managing costs will become even more visible on CFOs’ radar.

This is where Auditel, the UK and Ireland’s leading network of independent cost management consultants, comes into its own. Paul Foster joined Auditel in 2011. He recalls: “At the time, I had over 25 years involvement in supply chain management, business and marketing communication. I had worked with some of the UK’s leading companies such as Barclays, HSBC and J Sainsbury, with experience of managing relationships at all levels up to board room.

“I have gained so much new knowledge and experience over the past four years, which is all proving invaluable to me. Social media marketing plays a big part in building my credibility and my new business development plan includes the restaurant, fast food and leisure sectors.”

Here are three examples of Foster’s successful projects:

Red Hot World Buffet and Bar
Red Hot World is an award winning company recognised highly for its catering and excellent customer service. It is a rapidly-growing chain of seven restaurants serving up to 300 different dishes to more than 45,000 customers a week.

Ramesh Singh, Assistant Director of Operations, explains: "We were totally focused on growing sales and opening new restaurants and were letting the energy suppliers make money from us on this non-core area. When we used Auditel – the result? Immediate savings of 25.9% were achieved on energy."

Foster added: “A significant part of my work is involved in pursuing suppliers for overcharges and claims and I have recently obtained £25,000 for them from one of their suppliers. Another new client, with ten branches in the restaurant business – Jimmy’s - was reimbursed for £21,000. A survey, from Keep Me Posted in 2013, reported that ‘errors benefit companies to the tune of at least £650m annually and possibly much more’. So, it’s important to take on professional help to check your bills!”

World Vision UK - Communications Journey
World Vision is the world’s largest children’s humanitarian aid charity. It is active in more than 60 countries with total revenues of $2.79 billion in 2011.

Adrian Blair, Director of Organisational Effectiveness, asked Foster to provide an independent assessment of their overall communication needs, starting with a renewal of their mobile phones contract.

Alternative Networks grasped this opportunity better than most and the contract was renewed, at less than half of the previous tariff. Paul then invited them to develop a plan to transform the overall communication needs further, while Auditel created a Roadmap and 3-phase plan to cover the next three to five years.

This included:

  • reducing five suppliers to one or two
  • introducing suitable phone systems to suit current and future growth
  • providing integration with client’s IBM Notes email infrastructure
  • managing peaks and troughs more efficiently to achieve better quality engagement
  • historic and predictive reporting to increase donations from callers
  • tele-conferencing to be fully integrated, with application for up to 300 attendees
  • helping marketing to measure the effect of specific campaigns

David Allsopp, Head of ICT & Operations, said: “Auditel are experts in telecoms procurement and their independent assessment, advice and focus on getting us the very best solution is refreshingly simple.”

Uncle John’s Bakery
Uncle John’s Bakery is a thriving business created over 15 years ago. They bake a sweet bread with a unique recipe for the local community, private and business and also make deliveries in the UK, France, Holland and Germany.

Foster explained: “This was a very complex issue involving a significant loss of baking capacity for 70 days through the disconnection of their electricity supply, by EDF Energy. In short, without going into details, we have entered a claim to EDF for loss of production and additional expenses incurred. This amounted to nearly £69,000 and dealt with 15 separate items.

“So whoever you are, whatever your business and wherever you are in the UK or Ireland, we can help you gain a competitive edge over your competitors.”