Inside Foodbuy: PT1 – The world of non-food sourcing with Neil Chapman

Foodbuy is well-known for being a food and beverage procurement specialist. But did you know, our expertise spans much further than things you can eat, with a far-reaching and extensive portfolio of ‘non-food’ categories too?

To give you a flavour for our non-food capabilities, we caught up with Neil Chapman, our Sourcing and Category Director, who’s passionate about all things supplies, equipment and services.

1. Tell us about the Services, Equipment and Supplies programme (SES).

“My mantra has always been ‘we’re more than food.'

 Foodbuy is known for our food and drinks solution BUT we offer so much more! From waste management, linen, stationery to marketing services, we have an extensive non-food offer - this we like to call our Services, Equipment and Supplies programme (SES).

Using our scale and purchasing power, we are able to effectively support clients up and down the country with a variety of non-food solutions. And this covers everything needed by businesses in the foodservice and hospitality industry, with market leading pricing and terms available across a whole range of different categories. At the height of the pandemic, our supply chain and product knowledge of PPE has allowed us to support our clients including care homes and NHS trusts."

2. What is a typical day for you?

“Good question! As the Sourcing and Category Director at Foodbuy, my focus is sourcing new suppliers as well as working with them to develop innovation. I also dedicate my time to collaborating with key partners in the market to create joint business plans, negotiating new deals to provide our clients with added value – all whilst ensuring I create long-lasting relationships with both clients and suppliers.

Like most people at the moment, I am working from home so, I’ve been making sure that I make time to get outside and soak up that natural light every day – it does wonders to get out in the fresh air!”

3. What did you and the SES team learn from Covid-19? 

“The absolute importance of supply chain stability – As we saw throughout 2020, many companies were left empty handed when the global supply chain was disrupted, and as a result, procurement has gained extensive ground and is now accepted as necessity.

It is our job as Procurement professionals to look to the future and plan for any and every concern that should arise. By building long-term relationships with manufacturer and distributor partners, our category team works hard to mitigate pricing fluctuations as a result of crises like Covid-19 – ensuring continuity of supply.”

4. What’s the most exciting piece of development in the world of SES?

“We know that our clients have a requirement for a whole host of different services, anything from PAT testing, DJs, pest control, alarm services and everything in between - but finding the right supplier isn’t always easy!

Innovation is a key focus for us and has allowed us to create a new system, inclusive of all of these services – we call it Marketplace. Marketplace is our upcoming solution that brings all service needs into our existing eProcurement system, Epsys. Working like an online comparison website, it’s great because it allows clients to find the right service provider with market leading pricing, in the right location, reinforced by previous user ratings. 

It’s definitely going to be a gamechanger for our clients and will really help us to buy services smarter, I’m very much looking forward to the expected launch this Spring – watch this space!”

5. What would you say separates Foodbuy from the rest?

“At Foodbuy, our purchasing power, our system and our people are what sets us apart.

One of the most common misconceptions is that a centralised system = the ‘cookie-cutter’ approach. At Foodbuy, we collaborate with clients to ensure specific purchasing or local requirements are met with the right rigour to ensure a competitive price and safe solution.

We provide the perfect blend of global expertise paired with a whole host of insights, working in tandem with our clients, implementing initiatives that ultimately lead to unrivalled cost savings, a streamlined supply chain and a complete view of your entire non-food operations, all in one place!"