Four advantages that housing procurement teams could gain from partnerships

Four advantages that housing procurement teams could gain from partnerships

A new year means a new start and, for many housing organisations, making new plans. In procurement, where constantly achieving more with available resources is so vital, this matters more than ever.

One way housing procurement professionals can realise tangible improvements over the next year is by establishing partnership, rather than supplier, relationships.

Why not supplier?

Over the years the transactional element of housing procurement has dominated, positioning respective parties as suppliers and buyers. However good cutting prices and delivering goods and services to a given specification is, this does not go far enough.

Any procurement professional is extremely unlikely to extract long-term value from a purely transactional relationship. There is only so far to go with cost cutting before they find themselves with the wrong supplier, who is delivering goods and services that aren’t up to scratch, and increasing the potential for a ‘them and us’ situation.

It is far better to build trust, share goals and work together to deliver those goals.

When to consider partnership

Where several product or service categories are involved, the future is not certain, or there is room for improvement and innovation, treating a supplier as a partner will bring far bigger dividends.

From helping your organisation to innovate and improve service standards, to increasing efficiencies and deal with an uncertain economic and political climate, a partnership approach could be one of the best things you establish in 2018.

Four advantages that housing professionals can gain from partnerships:

You can develop a delivery plan with specific, measurable efficiency goals

The fundamentals of an excellent supply chain must always be in place. Goods have to be available, there needs to be choice and flexibility and deliveries have to be on time.

Planning with your supply partner is the best way to achieve this and more. When partners are invested in your organisation, understand your aims and objectives and work with you to achieve them, they will be far more accountable for their actions and seek to deliver efficiencies by helping you to lower your direct and indirect costs.

You can build change options into your contracts

In a function such as procurement, which needs to plan, budget, project and make its decisions as cost-effectively as possibly, a changeable climate can be challenging. In social housing, where pressures to reduce rents, cut costs, but also gear up to build more affordable housing, the challenges increase even further.

Working with a partner to build change options into contracts will help them to flex and adapt with you and remain resilient, whatever the economic and political weather.

It’s easier to do this when you aggregate supply and develop a strategic relationship with a partner who can deliver your initiatives and innovations as well as drop a box of goods at your door.

You can knit your social impact objectives into your contracts.

An ethos often at the core of social housing provision is that business should benefit society in some way. The Social Value Act (2013) backs this up, with the Government expecting people who commission public services to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits.

Whether they ensure you’re kept informed about new products and services that support social value, or update you on new ways of working to grow ethical practice, partners who help on this journey could be true assets.

These partners can help you to embed social value throughout the procurement and commissioning cycle, from pre-procurement to contract management, to ensure that your organisation continues to uphold its values.

You can maintain an ongoing dialogue

Partnerships work within the context of an open, trusting two-way relationship. Communication in this environment is a world away from dealing with multiple suppliers who aren’t invested, who have a focus on unit price and are not seeking to expand the procurement relationship.

Partnerships are relationships based on mutual trust, openness and shared risk and reward. They are fluid and flexible and depend on honesty and integrity to succeed. Suppliers can only help so much, but partners are with you all the way.

With Banner a procurement partnership is second nature. We offer our services to housing providers though several procurement frameworks, giving you the assurance of a partner who will provide the right solutions for your organisation at the right price. For more details please contact our housing team at

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