MearsIndustry Sector: Business Services
Mears is the UK’s leading provider of social housing repair and maintenance services and was the housing industry’s first private sector contractor to win the government Customer Service Excellence standard.
Mears also cares for residents and delivers over 8 million hours of domiciliary care
each year to 20,000 people by working with more than 50 Local Authorities, Arm’s Length Management Organisations and Housing Associations.
Employing 13,500 people across the UK with 71 repair and maintenance branches, Mears provides over 3,750 rapid response and planned maintenance repairs to a portfolio of over 500,000 houses each day.
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Left to right: Jo Hammonds, Group Asset Manager, Mears; Johnathan Moffitt, Auditel Consultant
Auditel Consultant, Jonathan Moffitt first met Andrew Smith the Financial Director of Mears in 2007 to audit the electricity, gas and water usage of two of their sites. The relationship has evolved over the years to meet Mears’complex requirements with substantial savings and continued support.
Andrew originally asked Jonathan to complete a utilities audit while Richard Coward undertook a review of voice communications at the same two Mears offices. With impressive savings and rebates from the outset, Andrew quickly rolled out the Auditel service across all Mears sites.
A commitment to the environment
The team was soon introduced to Jo Hammonds, Group Asset Manager, whose concerns extended beyond financial savings to the appropriateness of suppliers and green energy where possible. Jonathan responded accordingly and obtained 100% green contracts for three years in 2008, 2011 and 2013. Understanding the strong sense of corporate responsibility and commitment to the environment at Mears, Jonathan tailored his service to meet the full criteria for utility management and his support now extends to carbon footprint calculations.
Richard’s telecoms services have followed a similar careful development with attention to the details of business needs. Major savings and other benefits were obtained in the first three years on
the fixed telecommunications, rising to over £150k per annum in 2010. These were then followed by Richard managing a large re-tendering for the Mears Group of all Voice and Data contracts in 2010, leading to additional savings of well over £100k per annum over the following three years. This has recently been followed by a new tendering exercise for the Voice services in summer 2013. It is clear that there will be additional large (over £200k per annum) savings to be made for the Group, following recent improvements in the telecoms market, and recognising the larger voice telecoms activities of the enlarged business.
Auditel provides other value-adds as appropriate: for example, when Jo was renewing mobile phone contracts Richard did some benchmarking of alternative quotes to test against the incumbent supplier’s quote. Another small example of the ongoing service provided is the attention to detail shown by the recent rebate obtained for a small error in call tariffs used for four offices, whose fixed telecoms supplier had over-charged by £2,800 over eight months, prior to Auditel’s involvement with that part of the activity. Alongside these run the everyday service of checking invoices, and matching them against assets in place, and of seeking to identify old assets and telephone lines that can be ceased.
Richard notes that major tender exercises can clearly lead to substantial savings, but generally also involve ongoing work to ‘settle things down’. For example, part of the 2010 tender, dealing with Data circuits, did not turn out as expected due to difficulties the supplier was having. This led to Mears deciding to change direction, and potential grounds for both parties for breach of contract claims. Richard helped, on Mears’ behalf, to find and negotiate a solution where the Data contract was ended with no penalties.
Savings AND ongoing support
Overall, a combination of Mears’ own business growth and six years of Auditel support has led to savings of over a quarter of a million pounds per annum on telecommunications, with substantially more to come now once the next set of contracts are signed in late 2013. What this has all proved is that complex telecoms arrangements for a sizeable organisation require an on-going relationship with someone looking at and assisting with the commercial side. For Mears, operations are run in house but Richard provides a vital role in reviewing the commercial side on an on-going basis.
Jonathan also continues to find the best prices for Mears, identifying Gas rebates of £26,000 in 2010, £8,500 in 2012 and £8,800 in 2013. Further, Jonathan has identified rebates of about £2,000 on water in 2012 and potential water savings of about £1500 per year in 2013.
Savings achieved in 2013
Fixed Telecoms £120k
Electricity £14k (+ £5k rebate)
Gas £8k (+9k rebate)
Predicted Annual Savings from 2014
Fixed Telecoms £300k
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