Inside Foodbuy PT11: Bringing supplier diversity and sustainability to our supply chain with Patricia Hand

As the UK begins to look forward, supplier relationships and supply chain need to be a huge focus, as businesses continue to adapt their service models to meet everchanging demands.

Here at Foodbuy, we believe that great relationships with suppliers are key to opening new deals, making the most of our partnerships and expanding our offer for clients – not to mention all working towards Diversity, Sustainability and Net Zero targets.

We caught up with Patricia Hand, our Head of Category Development at Foodbuy, to share insights into our flourishing partnerships and the team behind them!

1. Tell us about your role and what are you most passionate about at Foodbuy?

“As the Head of Category Development at Foodbuy, my core role is to look after the non-food category, which we call SES (Supplies, Equipment and Services). Having been with Foodbuy since February 2020, I manage a fantastic and inspiring team who look after everything SES!

If you can’t eat or drink it, it sits with us! Across the team, we manage and support a large range of categories from Digital & Technology, Merchant Services, Fleet, Marketing, HR, Professional Services, FM, Equipment and Design, and Consumables, including PPE. 

I am incredibly passionate about developing my team and ensuring that they feel supported, are happy and fulfilled in what they do.  In my opinion, this is one of the most important aspects of my role.

2. Why do you think supplier relationship management is key in procurement?

“Great relationships are everything. 

We are continuously working on enhancing our relationships with our suppliers, as to work as partners with mutually beneficial contracts, this in turn makes our deals more sustainable, allowing us to grow together and innovate together. 

We are also further developing our Supplier Relationship Framework which will again see us forming a tighter bond with suppliers, understanding their priorities and challenges, working on our sustainability and Net Zero strategies together, innovating on behalf of supply chain efficiencies and opportunities, which in turn will result in gaining better value for all parties.”

3. How is Foodbuy supporting supplier diversity and sustainability

“We believe diversity is the key to innovation and to creating opportunities for all suppliers.

Supplier Diversity, as an employer in key industries, is a responsibility we don’t take lightly and it’s also the right thing to do. We’re actively working with our current suppliers to understand their sustainability, diversity, and inclusion agenda across all relevant categories including their supply chain.

With support from the business, we have created a Social Value, Diversity & Inclusion questionnaire and sent it out to our first wave of suppliers, to better understand how our supply chain supports these areas.  This will continue across key areas of supply to ensure we reach the SME’s as well as the big players.

Ultimately, we want to understand more about who we are working with and do everything we can to support our diverse range of suppliers and our own diverse workforce and are already working on supplier diversity in our temporary agency space.

In other areas of sustainability within our supply chain, my team is working on reducing plastic in our packaging, switching our fleet to electric vehicles, recycling, managing our waste streams and the paper cycle, and so much more.” 

Gemma Oldridge, Category Development Manager, from my team talks about everything sustainable packaging here.

4. What’s the best thing about your job?

“The best thing about my job? That’s a tough one as there are so many things I love about my job! 

What really drives me is the opportunity to make a difference and to implement valuable initiatives. We are actively encouraged to bring new ideas to life and are supported in driving those ideas into the business and then ultimately also onto our clients and suppliers. 

I work with some very smart and talented people and have a fantastic team who I learn a lot from and also enjoy mentoring every day. I also love the variety the role brings; Foodbuy is such a supportive culture and a great place to work!”

We value every single relationship we create, here at Foodbuy, and constantly work in tandem with our partners, clients, and suppliers, innovating on their behalf.

To find out more, contact us here.