Combining years of knowledge and skill for maximum results
A giant in the online ski and cruise holiday market, Iglu.com Ltd has seen impressive growth over the last five years. After receiving a glowing referral from a former colleague, Finance Director, Lorna Vincent, reached out to Expense Reduction Analysts UK (ERA UK).
She contacted Client Relationship Manager, Manoj Pabari, to find out how Iglu’s internal costs and procurement processes might be improved. Three years later and Manoj and his team of specially selected ERA UK consultants have generated significant savings and empowered Iglu’s management team with greater understanding and control of some business-critical cost centres.
Made up of three brands, Iglu.com is the UK’s largest independent agent of ski holidays and cruises. Founded in 1998, the company stands for expertise, variety and value. Its team of over 200 staff are experts in their roles and between them, have skied, cruised and holidayed so broadly that they can offer a genuinely accurate and detailed level of service no matter where you’re travelling. Fully independent and not financially connected to any cruise line or tour operator, Iglu.com is able to offer true and honest value when helping customers to find the best holiday.
A relationship built on trust and credibility
With over 16 years’ experience, ERA UK Client Relationship Manager, Manoj Pabari, specialises in managing relationships to a client’s best advantage and identifying projects for long-term benefits. After analysing requirements and selecting the best-fit team of experts, Manoj then manages the procurement process at every step to ensure quality and service levels are maintained to the highest possible standards.
As is standard practice at the start of all ERA UK client relationships, Manoj conducted a review of Iglu’s expenditure with Lorna. This approach allowed him to identify several areas of spend in which he believed ERA UK could make a significant and beneficial impact.
Impressed by ERA UK’s no-nonsense approach and keen to see the process at work, Lorna agreed to an initial ‘test’ project on a non-essential cost centre: Stationery and Office Supplies. Manoj enlisted the services of project specialist, Sue Carbin, and the savings she achieved confirmed Lorna’s belief that despite her own team’s skill, ERA UK’s expertise was extremely valuable. Empowered by their new partnership, Iglu selected three core business spends for review: Marketing Print, Postage and Merchant Card Fees.
Sensitive category management
As one of Iglu’s largest cost centres, Marketing Print was not only a vital area of spend but a highly sensitive one too. As the largest client for their existing supplier, Iglu’s internal marketing and design team already had close ties to the incumbent and so, were conflicted over possible change.
Manoj enlisted Print specialist, Keith Copestake, to head up this core project. With the greatest diplomacy and a very open line of communication, Keith conducted a full review of the existing supplier relationship to gain a thorough understanding of Iglu’s needs. Thanks to his extensive market knowledge and years of experience, Keith identified and presented a new, best-fit supplier to Iglu for approval; one which would deliver substantial savings, exceptional service levels and greater visibility at a cost centre level.
“We saved significant sums on the Marketing Print project. Having Keith’s industry knowledge and contacts was invaluable. We just don’t have that level of specialist expertise in-house. It was a sensitive project but Keith handled it extremely well and worked hard to ensure the transition to the new supplier was as seamless as possible, reacting quickly to smooth out the couple of bumps we had along the way. We’ve been really pleased with the new supplier ever since.” Lorna Vincent, Finance Director.
Delivering savings and efficiency
Whilst not as sensitive as Marketing Print, Postage represents a large cost centre for Iglu, who send out hundreds of mailshots and other marketing collateral every month. After an initial consultation, Manoj appointed Postage specialist, Anthony Kinder, who has successfully implemented over 80 similar projects since 2010. Following his detailed audit, Anthony identified that Iglu’s two separate postage providers were not offering the most efficient solution. Anthony took the project out to tender and, by leveraging his market knowledge, introduced a new supplier who could offer a turn-key solution.
As a Postage expert, Anthony was also able to alert Iglu to previously unknown issues, including that downstream access providers like Citi-Post change their prices when Royal Mail put through their own wholesale increases. However, as part of his ongoing reviews, Anthony ensures any annual changes by the new supplier are reasonable and that they remain the most competitive.
“By streamlining the contract down to one supplier and introducing sustainable post, we were able to attract greater levels of service and lower rates for an overall saving of 14%. As part of my role, I helped the client deal with a number of initial issues and agree a contract – I really make sure that we transition every piece of the puzzle. From the client’s perspective, it’s very hands-off with minimal impact on their existing time or resources,” explains Anthony.
Two of ERA UK’s Merchant Card Services experts, Paul Davidson and Paul Lucraft, were selected to review and analyse this notoriously complex cost centre. Iglu were keen to ascertain whether savings could be made on card payments and had already received several proposals from potential new suppliers. However, each was so detailed and uniquely structured that it was difficult for Iglu’s internal team to compare like-for-like.
After in-depth discussions with the team at Iglu, the Pauls learnt of the company’s plans to expand into Europe. Armed with this information, they were able to utilise their extensive market knowledge and experience to run a full market tender. Working through a plethora of technicalities, including the impact of the upcoming surcharge ban, the Pauls were able to confirm that Iglu’s current pricing structure was fair and accurate and therefore, recommended that they remain with their existing supplier.
Working simultaneously, the Pauls had identified that Iglu’s payment gateway did not support their planned expansion. After a full market tender, a shortlist of best-fit suppliers was drawn up and presented for consideration. Both specialists then arranged and chaired meetings with the potential new suppliers to ensure Iglu were confident with any new partnership. By working together, the Pauls were able to deliver a solution that would bring both immediate and long-term benefits.
“In a nutshell, the key thing we were trying to do was to enable Iglu to have more successful transactions i.e. increase their turnover. It’s all about the changing nature of payments; companies can no longer only accept cards when you’re paying online. The landscape is ever-evolving and so it’s important that we ensure the solution we present is future-proof,” explained Paul Lucraft.
ERA UK’s client relationships don’t end with identifying the best supplier and saving costs. Manoj and his team continued to work closely with Iglu over a two-year period to ensure transition to the new suppliers was seamless and that promised service levels were being met. By continually managing prices and monitoring against the marketplace, ERA UK consultants deliver quarterly reports that enable true Board level visibility and control.
Keen to continue to leverage Manoj’s expertise and the knowledge in the ERA UK network, Lorna and Board have recently awarded the firm’s IT spend for review. Manoj has now selected Michael Hully, a specialist consultant for the task, taking into consideration his skillset, personality and experience to ensure the best possible outcome for his client.
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SUMMARY OF SAVINGS
- Stationery & Office Supplies: 54%
- Marketing Print: 21%
- Postage: 14%
- Merchant Card Fees: Health Check
Improved visibility and control over spend
Strengthened position for future renewals
Streamlined and simplified contracts
Improved level of service and support
Access to specialist category experts
“We’ve gained a mixture of some serious financial savings, standardisation of procedures for ordering and a greater level of visibility and understanding that we can take forward ourselves as we continue to grow. The team have been extremely knowledgeable and professional and no matter the outcome, we’ve been kept well informed along the way. I would definitely recommend working with ERA.”