Reducing costs and supporting change during uncertain times

Money growing soil success

Overview

ACS International Schools have been working with allmanhall for 8 years. The initial benchmark demonstrated 10% cost savings. The support and ability to enable best food for the best cost over the years has meant ACS see allmanhall as an essential partner.

As their needs changed during the global pandemic, they turned to allmanhall for advice, proactive support and a challenge to secure cost savings, more than ever. The result? allmanhall undertook a tendering exercise which helped mitigate price increases and fix certain catering-related costs. The client also received a 10 point plan which, if all steps were implemented, would deliver an additional £60,000+ cost savings.

The client, knowing the crucial nature of the procurement expertise and foodservice consultancy they relied on from allmanhall, were quick to sign a contract to continue working together for years to come.

“We regard the allmanhall team as absolute experts in their field, delivering the best food at the best prices along with the best support. We find allmanhall proactive in managing price increases and even decreases, and extremely responsive when needed. Nothing is too much trouble… a truly essential service… a critical partner without whom we could not achieve the support or savings we see today.” – Chris Ingram, Head of Catering, ACS International Schools

ACS International Schools Logo

Background

Founded in 1967 to serve the needs of global and local families, ACS International Schools educate over 3,700 students, aged 2 to 18, day and boarding, from more than 100 countries. Their schools – 3 in Greater London and 1 in Doha, Qatar – are all non-sectarian and co-educational. They operate in-house catering for all residential and day students and staff, 7 days a week.

What did the client need?

When ACS first appointed allmanhall in 2012, their requirement was clear – to benefit from allmanhall’s substantial purchasing power and negotiating expertise to generate financial savings, without compromising quality or continuity of supply. They also had a desire to integrate with allmanhall’s catering software platform, Saffron, and to reduce the administrative burden of processing numerous monthly invoices to just 1.

When the Covid-19 global pandemic hit, ACS’s need for increased savings, financial certainty and flexible, practical, unwavering support became even more essential.

What was the result?

The initial, detailed benchmark of the schools’ food purchasing demonstrated impressive savings of over 10%. allmanhall implemented the Saffron catering software and then mobilised their accredited suppliers to begin delivering to multiple sites from August 2012.

Over the years, allmanhall have constantly worked to leverage further savings for ACS. allmanhall’s team of expert buyers produce bespoke reports for the management team to assist them with achieving enhanced savings through ‘Buy Rights’. This type of range management is a proactive approach to supporting good buying practice. The team at allmanhall, as procurement professionals, regularly inform ACS of more competitive alternatives on all product lines. The choice, however, still remains with ACS and there is flexibility should needs or preferences change. This includes a desire to support local suppliers.

In 2020, ACS renewed their agreement with allmanhall. This was a result of allmanhall demonstrating that significant savings were still being delivered and sustained, and in part due to allmanhall’s proactive approach to tendering supply categories on the schools’ behalf. allmanhall undertook a fixing exercise and thereby mitigated constant demands for price increases. The team’s prevention of these increases with some suppliers, and their success in achieving actual price decreases with others, shows clear evidence of the financial benefits that the partnership with allmanhall has afforded ACS, particularly during this time of volatility and uncertainty in food and commodity markets. ACS, knowing the crucial nature of the procurement expertise and foodservice consultancy from allmanhall, were quick to sign a contract to continue working together for years to come.

Delivering support in uncertain times

allmanhall’s multi-tiered support function was deployed like never before to flexibly work with ACS and together meet the challenges raised by the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis. This was enabled by allmanhall’s ability to flex and address the unique requirements of the schools, and also demonstrated our in-depth knowledge and understanding of ACS’s unique culture and operational needs.

These essential support activities ranged from sourcing large volumes of PPE and providing advice resources and operational guides to negotiating a bespoke ‘ready to eat’ food supply solution.

The crisis also drove even more focus on cost reduction, and while the pricing maintained by allmanhall was already extremely competitive, initiatives on how the schools could reduce costs even further were proposed, such as bespoke range management recommendations and enhanced drop discount advice. As well as support, allmanhall presented a 10 point cost efficiency plan and demonstrated how implementing all 10 steps could deliver further savings, of over £60,000.

What did the client say?

“We regard the allmanhall team as absolute experts in their field, delivering the best food at the best prices along with the best support. We find allmanhall proactive in managing price increases and even decreases, and extremely responsive when needed. Nothing is too much trouble. I and my team of chefs particularly appreciate that allmanhall ‘get’ school catering and also that they are truly independent; meaning that we are treated like an individual client and not beholden to the whims of a huge contract caterer behind the scenes. They are a truly essential service – not an overhead at all but a critical partner without whom we could not achieve the support or savings we see today.” – Chris Ingram, Head of Catering, ACS International Schools