Peace of mind for Arun Estates
Established since 1991, Arun Estate Agencies Ltd. is the largest independent estate agency in the South East of England, with well over 100 branches operating under different trading brands, including Ward & Partners, Cubitt & West, Douglas Allen, Pittis and Rooney & Co.
“We first approached Arun in 2009,” says Keith Copestake, Consultant at Expense Reduction Analysts. “We started with Bank Charges, where we found reasonable savings, but it was when we moved onto Stationery and Print that the real benefits began to be realised. And finally, my colleague, Brian Holmes, did a sterling job on the Telecoms category.”
Arun Estates’ Stationery and the Print requirements were handled by different suppliers, who added significant charges for delivering to their 100-plus agencies. Keith Copestake immediately saw the opportunity for savings: “We bundled Stationery and Print together from the same supplier, and the huge delivery charge overhead simply disappeared. We also instituted an online ordering system, which streamlined the entire process, enabled next day delivery, and improved internally efficiency considerably.
“The combination of percentage savings, no more delivery charges and the efficiency enhancements was very valuable to Arun,” concludes Keith Copestake.
Telecoms – a vital expense, a valuable examination
“The Telecoms project was unusual,” notes Brian Holmes. “Arun had tried an alternative to BT; it had not worked out very well at all; and the experience had naturally made them very wary of change in this crucial area of expenditure.
“I have to say, though, that throughout this complex project, we received great assistance from Alan Thompson, Technical Support Manager at Arun, in collecting the data and understanding all of the technical requirements.
“The BT deal was a capped tariff: Arun employees could spend up to an hour on any call for a fixed fee. At first glance, this looked good. But it did come with a hefty minimum ‘per call’ charge. I soon realised that this did not entirely suit Arun, for the profile of calls that they were mostly making.
“I renegotiated with BT and got Arun onto a standard ‘pence per minute’ tariff. Indeed, this is an ongoing process, with each renegotiation refining the tariff and achieving better and better savings for the company.
“Arun employees make 300-350,000 calls per month, so you can understand how important it is to get the tariff right. We therefore have audit reports on a monthly basis, which is quite unusual but justified by the volume. We send a clear management report to Arun each month on the ‘spend’ per office, on factors such as the highest spending office, and on any unusual call patterns.
“We also vet these monthly audit reports to keep a check on BT. I have to say that we regularly find problems with their charging and we escalate these back to the supplier for correction and rebate.”
Chris Coxon, Finance Director for Arun Estate Agencies Ltd. concludes: “I continue to be extremely impressed with Expense Reduction Analysts. They have always been extremely helpful. I know that they are checking our bills to a level that we simply do not have the time or expertise to do ourselves. I highly recommend their specialist knowledge and their dedicated work.”
SUMMARY OF SAVINGS
- Bank Charges: 15.9%
- Stationery: 29.9%
- Business Print: 41.1%
- Telecoms: 23.5%
“The specialists from Expense Reduction Analysts have ensured that we are buying from the right people and have negotiated with suppliers – notably BT – on our behalf. The great thing about Expense Reduction Analysts is that the suppliers recognise their name, understand that they need to give us best value, and know that their ongoing charges will be analysed. It gives me great peace of mind that they are checking our bills in such detail.”