Adam Noble, managing director at Irongate Group Ltd, the Derby based business services and supplies company, talks about its innovative InOne online ordering system, and how it’s already proven to save money for customers.
Buy it right
Pricing a manufactured item for resale means taking into consideration all the costs. Added to the component costs will be an amount for labour, a share of overheads and a margin for profit. But when it comes to costing up the everyday essentials that companies buy, they often forget to add in the labour cost.
When we ask people about who they buy paper, ink cartridges, uniforms or loo roll from, sometimes they tell us four different suppliers. We know that even if they’re paying a few pennies less on some of the items, when you add back the time taken to source and order products, they’re often not getting as good a deal as they think.
Splitting all these products between different suppliers dilutes the buying powers for a company. Add them together and the buying power goes up, which puts a company looking to save money in a much stronger position.
Talking to customers, we know they want to leverage their buying power and the guarantee of good prices. But often the way they were buying them was piecemeal, calling us when they wanted prices for paper, or ink, or workwear, or whatever else they needed.
That’s why at Irongate we came up with InOne. It’s win:win for both customers and us as their supplier. Instead of haggling over individual prices, we can put our time into making significant savings for businesses by identifying the products they use most and looking at ways to make real savings for them.
The way InOne works is simple. It’s an online ordering portal and the agreed prices and discounts are available on hundreds and thousands of products from Irongate. Over the last 31 years, we’ve added more and more products and services for customers, so now in 2018 we offer almost everything businesses need to run. Alongside stationery, which we call Office, we also have hygiene, cleaning and catering supplies. Then there’s Workwear, for uniforms and PPE and furniture is covered with Irongate Interiors. We also offer promotional items. And lastly, there’s marketing and print through Irongate Communications.
Through the online portal, customers can access all our products through their login. They only deal with one supplier, and that means there’s only one delivery note, and one company sending invoices, making it easier and cheaper at every step of the order, delivery and payment.
Here’s an example. Vision Express, the multi-branch high street opticians were one of the first customers to use InOne. By consolidating its purchasing to one organisation, Vision Express has been able to leverage buying power and reduce costs. It has created greater transparency through line level management reporting. In the first year using InOne, Vision Express made significant monetary savings.
But it doesn’t stop there. We understand that in business, there’s continued pressure to look for savings and increase profitability. It’s good business sense to check prices and make sure that you’re getting the best deal. With InOne, we know what quantities customers are looking for, and we check prices on behalf of our customers. We’re constantly looking for ways that will deliver more savings to customers.
Putting everything in one place adds buying power for InOne customers. The more they spend, the more they save, and that’s good for every business.