Trader Media is one of Europe’s largest specialist media publishers. Perhaps best known for ‘Auto Trader’, the group produces over 70 leading classified titles and runs a selection of popular, profitable websites and high volume printing businesses.
Rapid expansion in recent decades has seen the establishment of many new sites. Trader Media now employs around 3,500 people at 35 locations around the UK and Ireland.
When Trader Media’s IT Finance Manager Nigel Taylor first invited tenders to supply IT consumables to five of the group’s sites back in 2003, his focus was solely on price. Put simply, he was looking for the cheapest office supplies and consumables available. Stock in Trade Ltd, an incumbent supplier to two Trader sites (Leeds and London) was among several companies invited to tender.
“At that time,” says Taylor, “we couldn’t see what an office supplies company could offer us other than low-cost consumables.
It was only after talking to Michael La Costa, Owner and Director of Stock in Trade, that the concept of ‘usage’ came into the equation. ” La Costa used a ‘phone bill’ analogy to make his point: how can you compare one phone bill against another if you don’t have all the information about when you’re making the calls, and who you’re calling.
“It became apparent to us,” recalls Taylor, that Stock in Trade was the only office supplier around that could give us the bigger picture of what we were using, and therefore what we were – or were not – saving. Then we saw how meaningless our figures really were.
” Explaining the benefits of Stock in Trade’s unique system, La Costa also highlighted the inherent wastefulness of ordering and managing supplies at each individual site. Having a partner company provide a free service, monitoring and managing usage across sites would eliminate the need to chase ‘bargain basement’ prices and bring much greater value for money.
Stock in Trade won the tender and the initial Trader Media audit presented a picture of waste and inefficiency. According to Taylor: “We were truly shocked to find out we had well over £10,000 worth of wasted or obsolete stock – in these few sites alone!”
Stock in Trade redistributed this excess stock across the other Trader Media sites it was managing. Thus, a toner cartridge redundant in Birmingham could be utilised in Manchester, a printer deemed to be defunct in Wimbledon could be used in Leeds.
This process of sharing through sensible management works equally well between Stock in Trade clients. A small but telling example: Jamie Oliver (another Stock in Trade client) was getting rid of a printer. Knowing that it was a type used by Trader Media, Stock in Trade got in touch and the printer was sold to them.
“Having the ‘macro’ view for the first time was a bit of a ‘Eureka’ moment,” recalls Nigel Taylor. “It really did open our eyes to how much money we were wasting. I remember thinking: if this is what we can achieve at just these few sites, imagine what we stand to gain if Stock in Trade supplied all of them.” The decision was made to have the Stock in Trade service rolled out across all 25 of Trader Media’s UK sites.
In recent years Trader Media changed its company profile considerably. It has centralised accounts, closed and/or consolidated sites, opened new branches and changed equipment requirements. Through it all, Stock in Trade has managed the group’s usage of IT consumables, keeping wastage to a minimum and ensuring that redundant stock is redistributed or removed completely, taking complete accountability for everything in the process. “It’s great to know that we have a partner who stays on top all of this for us, keeping us updated across all our sites,” says Taylor.
The Stock in Trade system – a radical departure from the traditional ‘supplier/customer’ model, is bringing continued benefits to Trader Media. According to Nigel Taylor, discovering Stock in Trade has been like finding ‘a seam of gold’. “The deeper we go,” he says “the more value we find.