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A Consolidated Partnership for Northumbria University

By consolidating supply for Northumbria University and rationalising their core product list, we will reduce their carbon footprint, simplify the procurement process for their end users, and improve efficiencies. We are on target to deliver a projected saving in year one of 12% versus the previous year.

Background to the Concerns of Northumbria University

Northumbria University has its origins in the Rutherford College, founded in 1880. It is a research-rich, business-focused university with a global reputation for academic excellence.

They were looking for a sole supplier to provide their cleaning and hygiene supplies. With two main campuses, over 150 cleaners and four Facilities Co-ordinators, who managed the staff and placed the orders, they needed a supplier who had the experience and knowledge to manage a smooth implementation process and training programme. The university also needed assurance that the supplier would work with them throughout the lifetime of the contract to provide high quality products at competitive prices, and provide ongoing training and day-to-day end user support.

Having been awarded the Silver EcoCampus Award in 2016, it was also important to them that they worked with a partner who could help them improve their sustainability and offer them innovations as they move towards ISO 14001 accreditation.

Northumbria University and Office Depot already had a long standing relationship for their supply of general office stationery which had proven very successful. This existing partnership gave Northumbria the confidence that Office Depot provided excellent customer service, delivered goods on time, complete and to the right location.

The Office Depot Solution

Following award of the contract an implementation meeting was arranged. with the four Facilities Co-Ordinators and the Facilities Manager to agree an Operating Plan which included discussing product mix, specific training and support needs prior to go-live, deliveries, ordering, invoicing and support services post go-live. As a result, a number of actions were identified in support of Northumbria’s University objectives and ambitions:

Generating Savings by Rationalising Products

Product rationalisation is part of our standard process to ensure our customers are receiving the most streamlined and cost-effective service. For Northumbria, it was recognised that there was very limited standardisation of product lines across their users and they were using multiple products for the same solution. To solve this, the lead Cleaning and Hygiene Business Development Manager, Jerome Hayfield, worked with our vendor partners and identified a refined core range that would meet all of the university’s needs, using less than a third of the range of products that were historically being used. This was presented to their Facilities Team, who agreed it would it would simplify the training and use of the products as well as deliver further savings. 

Implementing Budget Controls via an Online Ordering System

Our online ordering system, Office Depot Online has been implemented to give the end users a more enriched ordering experience, including the ability to download online Safety Data Sheets for all products. The system also provides the Facilities Leadership Team greater visibility over spend, allowing them to set up ordering controls and offer soft cost savings in user time spent placing orders.

Consolidating Deliveries

Where possible we consolidated Northumbria’s deliveries with their general office supplies, which reduced the amount of deliveries they receive and lowered their overall carbon footprint.

Providing a Detailed Analysis of Contract Performance

The university did not receive any Management Information (MI) from their previous incumbent but are now scheduled to receive MI quarterly, which will outline trends, risks and opportunities in the contract performance.

Implementing a Robust Training and Support Plan

We created a comprehensive training plan to ensure all users understood the benefits of the new contract. This included a series of on-site training events.

The events were attended by over 150 cleaners, who were given the opportunity to ask Office Depot questions in relation to the new service. Key vendor partners, Diversey and Kimberley Clarke attended to support the training and demonstrate best practice cleaning methods and to give advice on pack sizes and dosage. The cleaners were also advised who they should contact on a day-to-day basis for support and product information. Following on from these in-depth training sessions, it was agreed to trial some lower cost-in-use, concentrated products, including a multi-surface cleaner for walls, floors and desktops.

The Office Depot Solution

Although this contract is in the early stages, the implementation of the contract was very successful and a number of benefits have already been identified for Northumbria University:

  • All sites have a file of Safety Data Sheets on site and we have created product charts for the cleaning chemicals as a quick, pictorial reference guide;
  • All of the cleaners are more confident with this new rationalised range, improving cleaning efficiencies and ultimately, should result in less contract leakage.
Savings in the region of 12%
from 141 products to 30 key lines

We were tasked to reduce costs and carbon footprint at no expense to the service. Office Depot’s tender response gave us the confidence that they would work with us to deliver on these targets