Hold the front page – buyingTeam have an atrium!

Yes indeed.  Today we bring you the news that has stunned the procurement world.  Leading procurement outsource service providers, buyingTeam, have moved into impressive new premises, only a psalm's chant away from St. Paul's Cathedral and ...they have an atrium!  Their very own atrium.  And even better, as Guy Strafford, one of the firm's founders, was at pains to point out, they aren't even paying for it.

In fact, they are paying significantly less for the new facility than for their last, not so impressive premises near Holborn; a good bit of negotiating which is great for their image as an expert sourcing, procurement value delivering organisation. "That's the benefit of being the first tenant to sign up to a speculative development during a recession" as Guy put it.  There's always a silver lining...

I've known Guy for many years, and it has been interesting to see the firm develop from a 'share of savings' cost reduction consulting firm into one of Europe's most successful pure procurement outsourcers.  They focus very much on the value that can be delivered through better sourcing processes, leverage, and real staff expertise; their approach is a million miles away from the "outsource transactional work to a low wage economy'' type providers.  "We look to change behaviour to drive value; not just ship the work off to India", as they put it.

They have deep 'indirect' category expertise (although Tom Lawrence, their Strategy Director told me he  particularly dislikes the 'indirect' terminology) that can be shared across their customer base - although in other cases, they also act as a procurement function implant, working on clients' premises.

For years now, predictions about procurement outsourcing being "the next big boom area" have been continuously proved wrong - although firms like buyingTeam and Xchanging have grown steadily in the sector.  Tom Lawrence believes this may be because there has been too much focus on cutting the operational cost of procurement via outsourcing, and not enough on the value that can be obtained by managing the spend better (even on 'indirect' categories).  Outsourcing firms have to emphasise that, he believes, if they are going to make a convincing case to CPOs and CFOs.

With around 200 staff now and offices in several European countries, they're at an interesting stage of development where they look ready to handle the very biggest clients.  Tom has been pondering their next strategic move and I'm sure we'll  return to the results of his deliberations over the next months...

And, did I tell you, they've got a brilliant atrium?

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