Our suppliers are the very foundation of EF-group and are vital for us to maintain service standards for our growing client base. EF Purchasing Director Ruth Ivory gives us insight into how we support our supply chain partners and why looking after them is so important to future growth.

Maintaining positive supply chain partnerships is a key priority for us. Our customer base is large, with nationwide coverage across many sectors and multiple procurement categories. We have complex client needs that require support systems in place both locally and nationally and our clients extensive buying lists mean that our supply chain spans across a wide range of products. From the remote hostels at the top of Scotland to the busy schools in central London each of our clients have needs that can only be met with a bespoke supply chain service.

So how do we ensure we have a bespoke supply chain fit for each of our clients?

Our unique model is rooted in seeking efficiency through valuable partnerships, dedication to our 500+ suppliers sees us working in partnership to pro-actively manage industry accreditations, compliance, quality assurance and delivery. Clients benefit from access to our network of accredited supply chain partners; suppliers benefit from proactive management and access to a dedicated and growing marketplace, and that is the method for success. In our business we place as much emphasis on the supply chain partner as we do on our clients, one simply does not exist without the other.

Our suppliers have 24/7 access to our purchasing and operations teams, our Purchasing team are responsible for sourcing supply partners, on-boarding them into our business, maintaining product catalogues and owning price file management processes. They also provide dedicated relationship management for each of our suppliers for the duration of our partnership.

Our Purchasing team, work with our suppliers to agree price lists for our clients that work for their business and will ensure maximum value for our clients. Our Freshmarkets solution makes purchasing easy, not only for our clients, but for our suppliers too. With a wide range of supplier focussed features Freshmarkets offers a range of benefits such as standing order management, supplier tools to aid efficient operations and most importantly, simple order and invoice processing.

Our supply chain partners also benefit from direct contact with our Operations team who are responsible for the allocation of new business to suppliers and collating logistical information including delivery schedules, security clearances and purchase order requirements.

Certified by Red Tractor, BRCGS and Food For Life, to name a few, we work with secure and traceable local and national suppliers, so we can source and offer a safe, legal and ethical product range. Supporting suppliers with this is our Head of Food Safety and Compliance Rob Henry, whose team work with our supply chain to ensure they have everything they need to meet accreditation standards, the team undertake supplier site visits, inspections, audits, and support where needed to ensure all standards are being adhered to.

We build a compliant and ethical supply chain, we source and partner our clients with local, environmentally minded suppliers who keep sustainable practices like ‘Farm to Fork’ at the forefront of their operations and we work with our suppliers so that we can even show how many food miles an order has travelled. We ensure our suppliers have access to a range of dedicated and skilled individuals that can support their own businesses growth journey, this is the key to our years of supply chain management success. It really is a whole team effort!

One of our clients YHA, had this to say about our supply chain: “Through EF-group, we have our ideal supply chain and support at site level – something that is essential as some sites really are off the beaten track and need special arrangements to get supplies to them.”

John McGrath, Head of Enterprise and Procurement