Harpenden | Expense Reduction Analysts


Cutting Records Management spend in half for Harpenden Building Society

Shredding and confidential waste is an often overlooked cost centre. For Harpenden Building Society, their responsibility to maintain robust and secure systems to protect their customers’ data is one which is taken extremely seriously. However, as with all day-to-day operations, maintenance of regular procedures can become second nature.

Spend can creep steadily up, often unknowingly and unnoticed. When Head of Operations, Phil Bannister, was recommended to contact Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) by another well-known Building Society, he seized the opportunity to take some specialist advice on this crucial but often under prioritised business function. The results were staggering.

Harpenden Building Society is an independent Mutual Society, owned by its members. For over 60 years Harpenden has helped local people to buy their own homes and to save for their futures. With six branches across Herts, Bed and Bucks, Harpenden credits its success to a unique combination of personalised, no-fuss products teamed with friendly, knowledgeable staff. Proudly referred to as its ‘best assets’.

Phil reached out to ERA and met with Client Relationship Manager, Lorraine Gannon, who has already worked with a number of the UKs 40 Building Societies. After an initial consultation, Lorraine introduced Phil to ERA’s information and records management specialist, Peter Lee. Impressed with both Lorraine and Peter’s knowledge and expertise, Phil awarded the project and the team got straight down to business.

“We command improved terms even from existing suppliers because of the sheer size and scope of the ERA network – we’re aware of the prices that other people pay! More often than not we can deliver savings and enhancements on these overlooked and non-priority cost centres,” explains Lorraine.

As is standard practice for ERA, a thorough review of existing arrangements across all branches was undertaken. Then, armed with a full understanding of the business’ current and future requirements, Peter took the project out to tender. ERA carefully assess the results of a tender before selecting the best-fit and value suppliers to present back to the client for a final, guided selection.

As is often the case, Harpenden’s existing supplier came back with a lower price but Peter and Lorraine were sure they could deliver more. Thanks to ERA’s corporate leverage, they were able to negotiate with the supplier’s Canadian head office and secure a highly competitive rate for Harpenden which is usually only offered to large UK national accounts. Something that Phil readily acknowledges the building society would have been unable to achieve themselves.

“Any business that deals with confidential information has a responsibility to understand the chain of custody; who is dealing with it and how it’s disposed of. As part of our process we make sure we evaluate the security of any supplier and ensure best practice is adhered to,” adds Peter.

ERA’s client relationships don’t end with identifying the best supplier and saving costs. Peter managed the transition to the new and improved service with Harpenden’s existing supplier to ensure the upgrade was seamless. Ongoing reviews by Peter validate that the promised service levels are being met and keep an open channel of communication between all parties. As with most things in life, communication is key and that’s something that ERA prides themselves on.

  • Shredding/confidential waste: 51%
  • Confidentiality policies independently reviewed
  • Fixed rate renewals for 3 years
  • Enhanced levels of cover at no extra cost
  • Access to specialist cost centre experts

“Thanks to the great work by Peter and Lorraine at ERA, we’ve been able to retain our existing supplier but on significantly enhanced terms, so we’ve got the best of both worlds! We’re able to maintain existing relationships, save money and feel confident that we’ve got water tight policies in place. What more could you ask for?”

Phil BannisterHead of Operations
Project Consultants