With 38 acres of beautiful gardens and parklands overlooking the Boyne River, it is hard to imagine the picturesque Boyne Hill House in Navan being any more perfect than it already is. Behind the idyllic setting is the potentially challenging environment of a hard working, high standards, events venue - and with this comes the challenges that many of our readers will be familiar with.
Boyne Hill House has a top reputation for weddings, showcases and corporate events. The setting always impresses. But it isn't easy for independent hospitality businesses, of any shape or size, to run themselves as efficiently as the larger (often multi-unit) businesses can do.
Yet it seems Boyne Hill House is managing to do exactly that. How? They have long had an ongoing relationship with Trinity Purchasing, an international procurement organisation which is involved in saving businesses money through collective purchasing activities - effectively passing the savings made back to its members. In effect, this means that smaller businesses, or ones that have not yet streamlined/centralised their buying activities, can piggyback on the purchasing power of far larger businesses than their own.
We spoke to Caroline Kearney, sales and business development manager of Boyne Hill House, about their relationship with Trinity Purchasing and what they have to offer businesses.
"I first heard about them from someone I knew who also worked in hospitality. They had just signed up and were singing their praises," said Caroline, explaining how she first came across Trinity Purchasing.
"Like them, we too were finding that the prices we were paying our suppliers were relatively high in comparison to larger hotels. So for us to continue to be consistent in delivering high standards in food and service it was imperative we reduce our food costs."
Caroline found Trinity efficient to deal with and easy to understand. Brian Williams, Trinity Purchasing's Services Relationship Manager - clearly explained the concept of group purchasing to her, whilst outlining the advantages in a concise and clear manner. "The fact that he had vast experience and knowledge of all aspects of the hospitality industry was a huge bonus, and it was reassuring to me that he knew what he was talking about from an operations aspect of the business," she added. "Trinity Purchasing are easily accessible and 'only a phone call away,' and extremely helpful to their clients to ensure that they are achieving their maximum savings potential."
From the outset, Caroline was surprised by the extent of the savings that Trinity Purchasing secured for the large estate. "Working with Trinity Purchasing, I was introduced to new suppliers," she explained, "but most importantly we immediately received discounted prices from existing suppliers who were already a part of Trinity Purchasing."
Additionally as part of the service, Brian worked diligently with the Boyne Hill House chef, preparing recipe cards and individually cost pricing dishes and menus, which Caroline believed was, "an invaluable lesson and assisted us in further savings". Boyne Hill House also saved money across the board (think energy bills etc), but especially in the food and beverage departments. They are now paying prices similar to those of large hotel chains.
Is it a painful process?
The whole process of transitioning was handled for Caroline by Trinity Purchasing in a smooth and problem-free fashion. This dramatically soothed any reservations that she had had. "Thankfully a lot of our suppliers were already a part of Trinity Purchasing," she said. "From a business point of view, I completely understood that they were not going to advertise lower prices to a smaller customer. So we are very pleased that we continue to work with them."
There was no consultation fee. Nor was there any requirement for Caroline to provide assurances that Boyne Hill House would adopt the services offered by Trinity Purchasing. There was therefore simply no pressure or risk for Caroline to quickly learn how much the business could save.
Caroline goes on to explain, "As we are within the Boyne Valley region it is important that many of our suppliers are local. We still work with these small local suppliers, who are not a part of Trinity Purchasing, and this works fine," she said. Lsstly, she points out, "Trinity Purchasing, did not charge any fees for joining the group or for their continued services and guidance."
Overall, Caroline estimates that Boyne Hill House has made a saving of as much as 15% by using the services of Trinity Purchasing. "The companies I am working with now were not available to me before I joined Trinity," said Caroline. "For example, some suppliers might require a minimum order for weekly delivery. This is not the case now we're working with Trinity Purchasing."
Without hesitation Caroline would recommend Trinity Purchasing's services. Not just for the savings, but also for the brilliant customer service provided. Especially by Brian. "If we have a problem with a supplier from a service or price point of view, Brian immediately gets involved and is very pro-active in sorting out any issues," she said. "He also works closely with our chef and accounts department in cost pricing our menus and dishes. This provides us with a clearer idea of the new savings we're making and perhaps even encourages new ideas that allow for further savings."
Caroline also said that as a result of the move, some of her previous suppliers contacted her when she stopped buying from them. They offered to lower or match the new prices, but, "by that point in time my trust and loyalty was with Brian", she said. Trinity Purchasing does not just lower the prices and then disappear. They remain on hand to monitor and health-check the purchasing of the business into the future and that is where the long-term value really lies.
Food for Thought - FFT.ie will talk to to other businesses with experience of group purchasing in the coming periods. But if you have any questions about how it works in the meantime please don't hesitate to get in touch. Thanks for reading. Now click this link to learn more & start saving.
Trinity Purchasing will be at the Catex show in the RDS on 26th-28th February. Why not drop by their Cost Clinic at Stand D15. Remember to bring a few invoices from your existing suppliers and you'll quickly learn how much you could be saving.