Energy regulator Ofgem’s new tariff plan to help consumers find the best deals is moving us towards a more regulated energy market. Doing away with over-complicated multi-layered tariffs and forcing energy companies to offer customers their cheapest rates should, in theory at least, create more competition and benefit consumers.
But it’s not going to stop the underlying cost of energy rising. Wholesale price rises, investment in major infrastructure projects and the requirement to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions will continue to make energy bills a major item on both domestic and business budgets. The more regulated market means energy companies will be squeezing as much efficiency out of processes as possible and looking to their supply chains to play a big part in delivering value back into the business.
Nearly three-quarters of the UK total energy needs are met by the oil and gas industry. In 2011, it contributed £40 billion to the economy, with the supply chain adding a further £6 billion in exports of goods and services. It’s an industry CIPS knows well. For many years, we have worked with major producers on a global scale, from Aberdeen to Angola to Azerbaijan, to deliver training to their procurement teams. We’ve now taken a step further by developing the first tailor-made programme for the sector, which will be open to organisations across the supply chain, but based in the same location.
The programme, called the Syndicated Corporate Award, is under way with a group of oil companies in Aberdeen. The first cohort of students was awarded certificates in September, with three further cohorts planned. The customised aspects include bespoke content, local geographical relevance and specific case studies. It’s been designed to deliver measurable return on investment for the employer organisation, from improved strategic planning to securing better lead times and improved supplier performance. For students completing the full programme, it brings the opportunity to achieve professional practitioner status (MCIPS). By bringing together students from organisations in different parts of the supply chain, the programme helps to improve understanding and networking.
This is a great example of how sectors of an industry can pool knowledge and resources to create benefits for both individuals and businesses at all levels in the supply chain. It’s a model we can replicate across many different industries globally, where up to now the low number of procurement and supply practitioners in individual companies has been a barrier to industry -specific training.
Save fuel with handy drivers’ app
Being based where we are, in a village in Lincolnshire, the staff at CIPS’ UK headquarters are totally dependent on their cars to get to work. Apart from a few employees who actually live in the village, the lack of rural public transport means that most of us have no option but to drive. It also means racking up the mileage when we’re travelling around the country on CIPS’ business.
So like any other SME managing its costs, we want to minimise the cost of car journeys. One way we are doing this is to encourage economical driving by passing on advice from the Energy Saving Trust. Its Fuel Your Passion app shows how smarter driving can cut the average driver’s fuel bill by the equivalent of 20p a litre, or about £270 per year. Smarter driving doesn’t just save fuel, it minimises wear and tear on the car and reduces maintenance costs.
For organisations with dozens of drivers covering thousands of miles annually, those savings can quickly mount up. If you are responsible for this area of spend, an app can be an easy way to raise awareness and worth a try. To try the app visit the Energy Saving Trust’s Facebook or website.