While supply chains are beginning to stabilise, the post-pandemic landscape is still marred by volatile pricing, rising energy costs, and the negative impact of other global events. Procurement professionals operating against this backdrop face the challenging and unenviable task of sourcing high-quality and compliant products from reliable and ethical suppliers on ever-decreasing budgets.  


For those operating in the Food & Beverage sector, sourcing PPE supplies has long been critical to operations, even before the pandemic. The food industry is governed by strict regulations and legislation covering everything from production and processing to packaging and labelling. 


Alongside food safety and hygiene standards necessary to safeguard public health, the protection of employees against workplace hazards such as slips, trips, and falls is also a key consideration. Failure to comply on either part could lead to prosecution, reputational damage, and severe financial penalties. 


Maintaining high standards and a regular supply of PPE to multisite operations therefore demands high performance from manufacturers and their suppliers. As a trusted PPE, safety, and hygiene specialist, RS Safety Solutions works with many food and drink manufacturers to deliver a tailored supply of competitively priced and legally compliant leading brand.


For one leading global food manufacturer with a large European footprint and more than 10 sites, having the right PPE in the right place at the right time is critical to operations. Without it, an entire site can grind to a halt.


With the increased pressures the pandemic placed on PPE sourcing, the customer had seen a significant rise in the volume of products they were purchasing and an increased number of SKUs due to the global supply chain issues. This was adding extra complexities for the procurement team and impacting their efficiencies, while spot buying, and unrestricted spending was contributing to spiralling costs. 


Faced with demands to take cost out of the business coupled with the overarching need to remain operational and compliant, the customer turned to RS Safety Solutions to identify where savings could be made, without compromising on quality, functionality, or compliance.


RS Safety Solutions’ National Account Manager, James, worked closely with the customer’s Group Procurement team to identify where savings could be made. 


“The Food & Beverage industry is governed by strict regulations” James states, “So it was key we continued to support this customer to meet and exceed the standards required while helping to improve their efficiencies and reduce their costs”. 


James worked with the customer to analyse their spend and volume for the previous 12 months and identify the product categories that had seen the most significant cost increases. By rationalising SKUs and offering product switches, RS Safety Solutions was able to help the customer realise tangible cost benefits, while giving the procurement team greater visibility of spend and enabling them to better plan for demand.


The initial project focused on footwear, with a consolidation on PU wellingtons to a Pollyboot option generating annual savings of £22,000. A further £19,000 per annum has been saved by rationalising the leather safety footwear available to purchase down from more than 100 lines to nine. 


This successful approach to standardisation and rationalisation is now being applied to PPE gloves, which make up 40% of the customer’s annual spend. Meanwhile, switching to a more efficient hand drying paper system in high footfall areas will generate a further 50%+ savings.  


The next steps for James and the customer are to work on the total cost of safety to the business. By understanding their Health & Safety priorities and looking at ways to reduce workplace risks, RS Safety Solutions enables customers to realise ‘cost-in-use’ benefits rather than focusing solely on product and price. 


James concludes: “The engagement we have between RS Safety Solutions and the customer means we can add value over and above the supply of products. We can better support them to meet fluctuations in demand and mitigate supply chain risks, while exploring opportunities to reduce their impact on the environment and react dynamically to changes in pricing. 


What we have already achieved and the forthcoming projects we have planned show the importance of maintaining a strong, collaborative, and strategic customer and supplier relationship.”

Want to know more?

To find out how we can work with you, please contact your local sales team or account manager and ask to speak about Safety Solutions and our other range of Value-Added Solutions.