cloudBuy and Apsiz launch UK PLC, a marketplace catalogue aimed at SMEs

cloudBuy plc, e-marketplace, spend analytics software firm and Apsiz Services Ltd, procurement consultants headed by my old friend David Shields of (ex) Government Procurement Service fame, announced the launch yesterday of UK PLC, “the first British B2B eMarketplace specifically developed for small and medium-sized businesses”.

UK PLC was the name of cloudBuy of course until a coupe of years ago, so making use of some old domain names is a smart move I guess. It is interesting to see these two firms partnering – I know Shields better than I know Ronald Duncan of cloudBuy, but they strike me as very different characters. Not that it matters too much in terms of whether this will succeed or not, but it is a partnership that took me by surprise! In terms of contribution, cloudBuy brings their marketplace technology (which is good) to the party, and Apsiz their procurement and sourcing experience.

The marketplace is open to all buyers at no cost, with invited suppliers paying a transaction fee of between 2% and 5% to the venture. According to the statement released by the firms:

“UK PLC connects SMEs with quality British suppliers through a B2B marketplace which allows them to benefit from the same levels of efficiency and savings as much larger companies. Apsiz is constantly benchmarking for best value and has negotiated preferential rates from its trusted suppliers”.

Ronald Duncan, Chairman and CIO of cloudBuy commented, "It has been clear to us, looking at our eProcurement buyers contracted prices, that SMEs get a raw deal when they buy for their businesses despite their massive buying power.  This partnership brings together cloudBuy's easy to use technology and Apzis procurement expertise, to provide a 'one stop shop' for business purchases."

Shields says he found it tough sourcing for his own new business, so believes this will help other SMEs – “ Our suppliers have been carefully selected by procurement professionals with extensive experience of sourcing across all purchasing categories, ensuring that good quality and value are the foundation of UK PLC."

Following hot on the heels of the Yorkshire Purchasing Organization new venture to offer their deals and catalogue to private sector buyers, it’s beginning to look like a trend - collaborative buying initiatives aimed at private sector buyers in smaller firms. It is not a new idea however - there are other well established suppliers in this space, although they may not have specifically targeted SMEs, such as Findel. But the prime competitors I guess are probably the mighty Amazon and (increasingly) Alibaba, who are not specifically aimed at business buyers but certainly are used in that way by many firms, large and small.

Another development to watch with interest...

 

First Voice

  1. Lyn Duncan:

    Hi Peter
    We are very excited to be working with David and his team in this venture, our technology is very SME friendly and this is a logical extension of our work with large buyers.
    As you can imagine this has been in preparation for some time with the site in beta, suppliers have been engaging and we have been optimising the search engines ready for launch. Using the UK PLC brand is indeed a key part of the success strategy as it is highly optimised, trusted and has a customer base of over 400,000 businesses already in place, from our company formations and other SME focused activities.
    We have analysed our own expenditure against the UK PLC product base and can immediately switch around £3000 per month of basic consumables with significant savings on some items, so we are a good example of the kind of organisation that this will benefit. Our admin manager is already a fan of card payment, and being able to use our corporate card across an increasing range of categories in a single paperless environment has made her very happy!
    I seem to remember that Spend Matters was set up using the UK PLC service…so we look forward to welcoming you as an early user of the new marketplace!

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