Delivering cost savings and efficiency gains for Finlays

For global beverage giant, Finlays, Logistics is a business-critical cost centre. At the point of renewal, Financial Director, Darren Edwards, engaged Auditel for input on the complex contract with a well-known supplier.

Darren was keen to utilise Auditel’s independent market knowledge and specialist experience to drive the best possible outcome for the business. A long-term partnership has resulted in significant ongoing savings and improved service levels whilst maintaining the goodwill of Finlays existing provider.

“Auditel have provided a turn-key service,” says Darren. “We didn’t have any of the really specific sector knowledge and experience in the business, which they brought to the table. We worked together to clearly set out our objectives and then Auditel got us there; it was all pretty seamless.”

Founded in Glasgow in 1750, Finlays is an industry-leading and trusted supplier of tea, coffee and other natural products. For more than 250 years, the brand has continued to innovate and strive for excellence in its products and service. As well as committing to sustainability and ethical operations across all aspects of the business. Today, Finlays has a unique and integrated global footprint in the beverage industry. The company owns and operates tea estates, extraction facilities for tea, coffee and plant extracts, packing facilities and R&D labs across four continents.

Alongside Financial Director, Darren, Auditel Consultants, David Powell and Polly Lawrence, conducted a thorough review of Finlays existing suppliers. It was agreed that the priority was the renewal of a major contract, the process for which had already begun. Quite literally taking the project back to the drawing board, Polly began the intensive task of building a new business case, including service levels, operations and cost, around which to focus a new tender.

“I did look at several other procurement companies, but on top of the expertise he could bring, David is very straightforward, open to negotiation and practical. As are all of his network,” explains Darren. “David brought in his colleague, Polly – a logistics expert, and, over several subsequent meetings, we developed an understanding and level of trust around Auditel’s practises. Once agreed, it freed up our business from that process and we handed over to them.”

Polly worked closely with stakeholders to ascertain operational processes; including route planning; load co-ordination; client expectations and delivery restrictions – particularly important in the case of supermarkets. After reviewing alongside historic invoicing, rate cards and movement of goods, a bespoke logistic profile was created for Finlays. Auditel then invited four known suppliers to tender, confident that each was able to provide the right levels of service. Three like-for-like solutions were identified, all with built in savings and efficiency gains. A thorough due diligence process qualified each tender prior to it being presented to Finlays as a credible alternative.

Confident that the best possible business case had been made, Finlays requested that Auditel utilise the newly designed profile to negotiate with its incumbent supplier.

Thanks to her significant market knowledge, Polly was able to leverage a substantial saving and favourable contract terms. At a final meeting with the supplier, several long-standing service issues were addressed, and workable solutions identified. Auditel then presented a formal proposal to the board. Finlays elected to enter into the new contract shortly thereafter.

“Polly’s knowledge and understanding of the sector as a whole is exceptional,” says Darren. “This, combined with Auditel’s professional approach, helped a great deal in negotiations. They were known to the main providers and adopted a straightforward and practical approach to the project. At implementation stage they validated all the invoices and also carried out historical checks which added to the robustness of the process.”

Auditel’s client relationships don’t end with identifying best-fit suppliers and cost-savings. David and Polly worked closely with Finlays to facilitate a seamless implementation of the new contract and confirm that promised service levels were being delivered. By undertaking weekly, line-by-line audits, Polly then ensured that tendered savings were being achieved. As a trusted partner, Auditel continues to oversee and manage the incumbent, providing a valuable commercial overview whilst bringing rigour and clarity to the procurement process.