Case Study: Major County Council

Procurement transformation programme

Business Profile

This client is one of the leading county councils in the UK with an annual procurement revenue spend in excess of £800m and internal costs of around £1.6bn. As part of the corporate transformation programme, a cost reduction target had been set of £200m with a significant proportion of this expected to be realised by Procurement.

Business Challenge

The main challenges were:

  • Multiple and fragmented Procurement teams with no overarching strategy, leadership or coordinated activity
  • A low base of capability with the primary activity being traditional public sector tendering processes
  • No commitment from Directorates to work with the corporate strategic procurement group
  • Key decisions that affected the ability to source at lower cost and higher quality being taken by service managers with no input from Procurement
  • Low morale in the strategic procurement group resulting from a gradual reduction in staff numbers and no established role
  • Little interaction with suppliers other than through tenders
  • Poor data quality and management information

What we did

In order to meet these challenges we:

  • Brought in a small team of expert interims to lead and upskill the permanents
  • Created a coherent strategy for delivering the targeted procurement cost savings
  • Implemented an approach to category management and supplier relationship management
  • Created an effective internal marketing programme to win “hearts and minds” of budget holders and achieve a role in major procurement categories
  • Delivered category strategies and implemented them to achieve the targeted cost targets
  • Created the concept of an external strategic partner to transform lines of business and persuaded the leadership team to adopt it
  • Re-built the strategic procurement team from a base of 24 junior buyers to an effective unit of 47 procurement professionals


“They have been a huge asset to the Council in their roles as interim head of procurement and category managers.  As well as driving tactical savings, they successfully introduced the concepts of category management and supplier relationship management, both of which have started to pay off and kick started the Council on its transformation journey. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to any organisation that required high level procurement professionals who can deliver both short term, impactful results as well as longer term strategies ” – Deputy CEO and Group FD