SATO UK | Expense Reduction Analysts


Simultaneous savings for SATO UK

In today’s economic climate, savvy businesses continue to identify and implement savings wherever possible to protect the bottom line.

When Expense Reduction Analysts UK (ERA UK) reached out to SATO UK the company’s General Manager, Jason Wise, and Head of Finance, Lorraine Heath, understood immediately the benefits that ERA UK’s vast knowledge and expertise could deliver. Over the course of a series of co-ordinated projects in several distinct areas of the business, SATO’s trust and co-operation has resulted in significant savings and improvements to service levels across the board.

SATO UK delivers labelling and auto-identification solutions for the Retail, Industrial, Logistics, Healthcare and Government sectors. Its expert teams provide consultancy, development and implementation of integrated barcode systems including hardware, software and consumables. All supported by a national force of field technicians.

Consumables are supplied by the company’s own production plant which has environmentally-friendly food and pharma accreditations and offers custom design provided by an in-house studio.

In addition to manufacturing high-performance thermal printers, SATO is a market leader in handheld labellers, automatic print and apply systems and RFID technology.

Building trust for maximum results

ERA UK Client Relationship Manager Andrew Beer specialises in managing relationships to a client’s best advantage and identifying projects for long-term benefits. He reached out to SATO in 2016 to introduce ERA UK and the benefits of their Contingency procurement offering. Intrigued and open-minded to the prospect of identifying additional savings, Lorraine and Jason agreed to meet with Andrew to explore the opportunities.

At a meeting at SATO’s UK head office in Harwich, Andrew described ERA UK’s working processes step by step. He explained that after analysing SATO’s requirements and selecting the best-fit team of experts, he would manage the procurement process at every stage to ensure quality and service levels were maintained to the highest possible standards.

During the meeting, Andrew identified several areas of spend in which he believed ERA UK could make a significant and beneficial impact, from both a financial and operational perspective. Keen to find out if ERA UK could really deliver, SATO opted to proceed with a full review of several areas simultaneously.

“SATO’s internal team were doing a great job and they were already cost conscious. But by working through the purchase ledger with them, we found some cost centres on which I felt we would really have an impact. The great thing about SATO is that once I’d explained the ERA UK approach, they were very open-minded to the process. When a company is so receptive to external support, you often get striking results.” Andrew Beer

“We felt that, with the resource we have in house, we’d taken things as far as we could on our own. And so, when ERA UK came along, we found that we liked their approach and it seemed a sensible thing to do. We knew we needed to continue to look for and achieve cost savings and with the level of knowledge and sector expertise ERA UK have, we felt we had nothing to lose by engaging their services.” Lorraine Heath

Insurance: To review the insurance contracts Andrew selected ERA UK’s leading insurance expert, Chris Coomber, and introduced him to SATO’s General Manager, Jason Wise. Working closely together, they evaluated the business’s requirements including factory, plant, personnel and general operational needs as well as a thorough risk assessment. Armed with this information Chris could identify and introduce SATO to a new broker – one who he felt was better placed to meet the needs of the business. The resulting policy offered a bespoke solution which was not only fit for purpose but offered superior levels of cover and contingency than the previous contracts.

Distribution: Andrew chose Distribution specialist Simon Perkins to review both projects in this category. Simon worked closely with SATO Operations Manager, Steve Clarke, who advised that SATO were keen to stay with their existing supplier. As such, Simon took the contract out to formal tender, allowing the incumbent to propose their best possible cost and service structure in a competitive environment. Thanks to his expertise and knowledge in this area, Simon secured a significant saving with the existing supplier and aligned the contract for a strong ongoing relationship. A result which delighted Steve and his team.

Electricity: Although complicated by a new premises build, ERA UK specialist Adam Matthews was able to secure savings with SATO’s existing supplier in this notoriously competitive cost centre. Adam’s meticulous management of the project also played a significant role when the contact switch-over date was brought forward by four months as the new site required power earlier than planned.

Employee Benefits is rarely a project driven by cost savings and for SATO, it was no different. But ERA UK specialist Helen Pengelly felt that the business would benefit from more relevant options and could demand much higher levels of service. To the great satisfaction of SATO, she secured both. Lorraine had already expressed some reservations about SATO’s current supplier and was impressed with Helen’s market knowledge. By reorganising the structure of the agreement, Helen introduced a new supplier with greater benefits in areas such as Life Insurance, Income Protection, Critical Illness, Cash Plans and Private Health Care.

Fleet and Packaging: Fleet expert Madeline Webster worked closely with HR Manager Paula Wilkinson to secure favourable terms for small-scale vehicle leasing with the first cars being delivered in March 2017. SATO now enjoys a much closer Fleet relationship and more responsive service than the previous incumbent was providing.

Despite significant industry price rises being pushed through the market, Packaging specialist, Anthony Kinder, was able to leverage his significant expertise and negotiate a price freeze with SATO’s current supplier.

“We now have a new broker for our site insurance who is very efficient in all areas and with employee benefits, we’ve even signed up to a new cash plan for all the staff. Each ERA UK specialist has helped us think about things and talked about things no-one else has before. It’s been an enlightening process and we feel we’ve benefitted financially and operationally.” Lorraine Heath.

ERA UK’s client relationships don’t end with identifying the best-fit supplier and securing savings. Andrew and his team of specialists continue to manage the transition to the new and improved contracts, to ensure the changes are seamless. Ongoing audits by ERA UK 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 UK pride themselves on.

  • Distribution (Parcel): 19%
  • Distribution (Pallet): 15%
  • Insurance: 18%
  • Utilities: 5%
  • Fleet: 10%
Added value
  • Bespoke levels of insurance cover

  • Mitigated/protected against industry price rises

  • Streamlined and simplified contract structures

  • Strengthened position for future renewals

  • Improved level of supplier service and support

  • Access to specialist cost centre experts

“We felt that, with the resource we have in house, we’d taken things as far as we could on our own. […] We knew we needed to continue to look for and achieve cost savings and with the level of knowledge and sector expertise ERA UK have, we felt we had nothing to lose by engaging their services.”

Lorraine HeathHead of Finance
Project Consultants