How 50 sites got new copiers & 15% savings

Our client the United Synagogue operates 50 sites, the majority of which are within inside the M25. They have been a client of The Procurement Group since 2006 and we value the long-term relationship that we have with them.

The Procurement Group have been saving UK businesses money for over 20 years using our procurement management techniques to drive down their business costs.


In this instance, the United Synagogue had no formal strategy for acquiring photocopiers and The Procurement Group identified this, which led to this project starting.

The main issue was that every site had its own contract, meaning that there were over 30 different suppliers. Each supplier had a different contract end date, different pence per copy charges, different termination requirements, and provided different manufacturers equipment. This made the estate very hard to manage for the United Synagogue’s in-house IT department.

The Procurement Group (TPG) try to simplify clients’ lives wherever possible.   In this instance, we saw the opportunity to deliver a single contract, from a provider who would exit the United Synagogue from all of their existing contracts and still deliver a saving.   The benefits to the United Synagogue would be that they would have brand new standardised equipment across their estate and also that they would have one transaction a quarter going through their bank and accounting system rather than over a hundred as was the current situation.

For this project to work, TPG had to have a thorough understanding of what was being paid at each of the 50 sites currently.  This was actually the hardest part of the exercise because we had to contact each site and some of them don’t work five days a week so it was a difficult task to fulfill.  To achieve this each site was visited and it was established what equipment they had, how old it was, how many copies they’d done, whether it was owned or leased and how copies were paid for – pence per copy or by buying consumables.  That way we’d established a benchmark.  

TPG then engaged operationally with the United Synagogue to understand their requirements going forward at each site, drawing up a list of the equipment specifications required, tendering the business, arranging beauty parades for the client to meet with suppliers to understand who was the best fit, and then to negotiate the contract with the suppliers. 

Working closely with the United Synagogue’s head office team, we were able to achieve this and ended up delivering a 15% saving across the estate guaranteed for three years.  It was important to both the United Synagogue and TPG that title to the goods passed to the client at the end of the initial three-year term because usage is very low at each individual site and therefore, the equipment would be in good condition rather than need replacing which is the norm in the copier industry.

TPG like to take a long-term view of situations and rather than delivering the maximum savings at day one, in this case, agreed a two-step approach with the United Synagogue.  The first step was to get the estate consolidated with one supplier.  As an outcome of this, we were also able to install software which recorded the exact usage at each site, thereby, overcoming one of the biggest hurdles we all had at the outset which was actually understanding what the usage was.  The second stage will then be to retain the existing equipment and enter into simple maintenance agreements for all of the equipment going forward, meaning that the lease payments for ownership of the equipment disappear and deliver significant savings to our client.

This is an example of how TPG bring their considerable experience to bear for the benefit of clients and deliver long-term solutions, thinking outside the box and always taking the best route for their clients, whether or not that impacts on TPG’s revenue in the short term.

If you’d like to find out more about how we use cost reduction and spend optimization workflows and processes to analyse business data in order to ensure that we deliver best value for all of our clients in whatever sector they operate, then contact me, Simon Unger, on 07768 421901 or [email protected]

UK could do better with broadband speeds

The UK has the 43rd fastest broadband in the world and is 6th out of the 7 G7 countries with only Italy being slower.

That said, Europe is still by far and away the fastest. All 29 countries measured in Western Europe were in the top half of the table, countries in the region taking eight of the top ten spots in the world for internet speed. The regional average speed of 90.56Mbps makes it the fastest of the 13 global regions overall.

The data was derived from over 1.1 billion speed tests taken in the 12 months up to 30 June 2021 and spanning 224 countries.

Were last winter’s energy margin notices a warning that was ignored?

It’s clear that the signs were there for all to see if a recent article from px Group is to be believed.

They should know as they operate a number of assets that feed in to the National Grid and claim that there were no fewer than 6 margin calls from National Grid – times when forecasted half hourly supply will not meet forecasted demand – in the winter of 20/21 vs 2 total in the whole period from 2011-2019!

Sure, we’ve been caught in a perfect storm now as i) the weather has meant a lack of wind supply at the same time as ii) Asia has increased it’s requirement for gas while emerging from the pandemic and iii) UK gas storage is at an all time low.

That said these issues haven’t suddenly occurred. They’ve been creeping us on for months if not years so were the warning signs there and was it possible for producers & providers to have taken action sooner?

The three of us need to talk; What Ofgem has not told you about British Gas’ fine.

Reading time: 4 mins
Outcome: cheaper, more accurate bills  


£4.5m. Could your business deal with that fine?


The Low Down
Last month British Gas Business agreed were penalised £4.5 million for failing to deliver smart meters to their large business customers. I could tell you the differences between meters and about the art meters have inspired. However, worrying about that kind of information is only necessary for my team at The Procurement Group and me. Although, we do not focus on art! Plus, I promised I would keep the reading time to 4 minutes.


What does the penalty mean for your business?
Now to the juicy parts. Ofgem did not tell you what we often forget about our providers. Instead, we think about the huge bills our suppliers just sent and how much they charged you last quarter.


It is easy to overlook that, like you and I, they have growth targets, profit goals and infrastructure plans to meet. Penalties hit those plans. Therefore, the fundamental question to ask is ‘why did British Gas not install the smart meters?’.


The answer; to get more money from their business customers. If you do not have a smart meter, you will receive estimated bills. Suppliers overestimate, and you lose out because your business has to pay the providers more than your usage. Without smart meters, you pay more on every bill, for every site.



How does this affect your business?
Think about how much the estimated bills increase your business costs every month. Now multiply that by 12, and consider how much money you are wasting on your providers every year. Ask yourself, what could your business do with that amount of money? You could employ efficient new colleagues, fit out new sites, present improved profits to the board. However, you cannot. The suppliers have that money because they have not installed smart meters.


Are you angry? Good. Keep on reading.


How can you protect your business?
Install smart meters and get exact bills! No more estimations and no more suppliers celebrating their profits, while your business loses out. Additionally, to get smart meters in every site, just ask your supplier. The responsibility to fit the meter is on them. It will not cost you a thing.


Hang on a minute. You have almost finished this article, and you still do not know who’s having the conversation?


Smart meters have a sim that talks with a data collector and the supplier; thus, providing precise bills based on usage. It is the meter, data collector, and the supplier that must communicate with each other. To receive precise bills, the three of them must talk to each other. Naturally, providers do not want your bills to be exact. Therefore, this conversation happening is a problem our customers regularly face. So make sure they are talking by checking that your bills are accurate, not estimated.


Let’s go back to that money your business is wasting because of estimated bills. Now, let’s install smart meters at every site and ensure the communication channels are active on each smart meter.


What did you say your business could do with the money wasted? Let’s do it.


Simon Unger is the MD of The Procurement Group, specialising in saving your business money. If your business is spending too much, let us help you save.


Email Simon | 0800 019 3244

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How to Navigate Business Telecoms Like a Pro.

According to the OECD, Britain has one of the most expensive digital networks for businesses to use. We also have one of the most comprehensive, albeit with some black spots. So, what can you do about it?


  1. Use a price comparison website.
Opera singers, pole dancing builders or meerkats… what a choice! These websites are great at comparing different deals from the main suppliers. But hang on… can you use these websites for your business? Well, no. No price comparison website we’ve seen does business telecoms. So, it’s a good job that we do! No opera, pole dancing or meerkats; just comparisons presented to you simply.
  1. Check this map
Is your business operational in any of the weak signal areas? If so, it might be worth checking which suppliers offer the best service in that area. However, the maps might not tell the whole story and do you really want to find that your CEO lives in a black spot after the contract is signed? We have proven, tried and tested ways to ensure that you are 100% clear about coverage in key areas before signing your contract; it’s just another component of our Intelligent Cost Reduction plans.
  1. Achieve Fair Market Value
You need to make sure that you are not sacrificing your business’ telecom’s customer service, voice/data quality and payment terms to get the cheapest deal. For business telecoms, alongside the price, we recommend listing the:
  • billing cycle
  • payment terms
  • contract length
  • call connection charges
  • online billing access
  • account management
  • broadband upload/download speed
That way you can ensure your business achieves Fair Market Value. At The Procurement Group, our purpose is to help our customers achieve Fair Market Value. Our Intelligent Cost Control plans are not just about price; the plans are enshrined in a commitment not to  compromise service, product quality and payment terms.
That’s it! Simple, right? Now you can navigate business telecoms like a good ‘un. However, is that enough for your business? If you want to be a pro, why don’t you navigate your telecoms as a Procurement Group client? Call Simon Unger today on 0800 019 3244 to have your free 15-minute telecoms review. Or e-mail him now!