Polishing up procurement for Sims Metal

Sims Metal (Sims) is the world’s leading electronics and metals recycling company. Operating from over 200 sites spanning five continents, with 35 metals recycling sites in the UK. Globally, the business has over 100 years of experience in metals recycling and leads the way in technology development to achieve higher recycling and recovery rates.

“We’ve had an amazing journey with Auditel; the projects that they’ve been involved in with us have been quite intense and throughout them all, Paul and his team have been effective, supportive and honest. I will continue to utilise them for future projects because their knowledge is exceptional. I trust them and I know I can call upon them whenever I need them. I would be very happy to recommend them to any other company. I’ll continue using them while I’m in this role and if, for any reason, I move, I’ll take Auditel with me.” – Rachel Edmunds, Procurement Manager, Sims Metal.

Having been appointed by CFO, Mark Saunders, Auditel’s Paul Millican began working alongside Sims’ newly formed procurement team in late 2018.

“There were two main reasons for bringing Auditel onboard,” explains Rachel. “Firstly, the scope of Auditel and the breadth of what they could cover in a short space of time. Secondly, when Paul arrived, we had had 50 sites across the UK, and they all very much did their own thing. From a resource perspective, it would have been impossible for my team to review each one and assess their requirements – we’d still be doing it now!

“PPE was the main reason the procurement team was put in place to start with. We have a Safety, Heath, Equipment and Quality (SHEQ) team, and it was a major concern – and a top priority – to ensure that all sites were purchasing SHEQ-approved items. This was a complex project with very detailed specifications and some longstanding cultural issues that had to be addressed on various sites. Paul had vast knowledge of how to address this type of project; where to start and how to structure the activity for maximum efficiency. We quite literally sent him the details and he got on with it.

“A great deal of positivity has come out from doing these projects. Cost saving is the main directive of any procurement team but with Auditel, we’ve achieved so much more. Improvements in customer service and supplier relationships, transparency and traceability on spend which leads to greater control – not to mention having the backup and knowledge of cost category experts behind you. Savings are always the top priority, but the rest all comes a close second.”

Auditel clients enjoy access to over 100 cost category specialists, often with decades of market knowledge and experience at their fingertips. For the notoriously complex mobile phone review, Paul bought into the team Auditel’s telecoms cost category specialist, David Powell.

“We’re now in the process of undertaking the mobile project. It is an absolute minefield – various start dates, billing errors and various contractual jargon. We’re fortunate to have Paul and David supporting us with the tendering, selection and implementation of any new contract. Being able to rely on the highest level of expertise when it’s needed is extremely valuable and cost effective. And you have the peace of mind that the job is being done and done well.”

In all instances, Auditel make recommendations and provide options for best-fit suppliers and solutions to clients. But, as Rachel notes, final decision-making rests with the client.

“Control and autonomy remain with us, which is really important, especially when you’re dealing with any level of internal cultural change. I wouldn’t be able to go to my COO if I wasn’t 100% sure that Paul had provided us with the right options and we just had to pick the one that suits us, and the business, best.”

Over the last three years, Paul has become a trusted and well-respected member of the Sims team. As well as securing significant tangible results, his willingness to impart knowledge has proven invaluable for Rachel.

“Paul has been a great support for me in my role as I move through the business. The fact that he’s willing to share his knowledge and expertise with me is fantastic and it benefits Sims outside of the projects that we’ve worked on together. I’d definitely say Paul has been something like a mentor to me, always willing to go the extra mile. I like knowing that I can call him to ask his advice or opinion and he’ll give an honest answer. We actually have a great working relationship and that’s not something anyone should take for granted.”