Proxima: delivering true value in procurement
Clare Harris, Executive Vice President Operations, describes how Proxima has established itself as a world leader in procurement consultancy services.
Over the last 25 years, Proxima has established itself as a world-leading expert on procurement consultancy services, helping a broad spectrum of customers to unlock their supply chain’s full potential, from the largest Fortune 500 entities to bespoke startups. Part of the company for over 15 years, Clare Harris, Executive Vice President Operations, states that her role has two primary responsibilities: 1) solve commercial challenges and 2) take advantage of commercial opportunities. “Ultimately, we work with our clients’ procurement and commercial teams to help drive value from their cost base.”
As a company, Proxima helps customers optimise what they spend with suppliers and build exceptional procurement functions. “When you think that, on average, about 70% of organisational spend is with suppliers, then you can immediately understand the potential that exists for savings and innovation,” Harris states. However, it isn’t necessarily a purely ‘cost-saving’ exercise; the company specialises in maximising the value of every penny spent. “It’s about understanding what value means to our clients, whether that’s cost, speed, return, risk efficiency, or quality. There are multiple perspectives across our client base.”
Contributing to the company’s enduring success has been a flexible strategy focused on being adaptable to the changing supply chain environment. That evolution, Harris says, has been characterised by increased networking, collaboration and emphasis on procurement itself. “The focus on churning through transactions and processes actually eroded value over time. I think procurement is moving more to the heart of organisations and it’s also becoming increasingly diverse, with many more female leaders today.”
The benefits of this industry development have been keenly felt by Proxima’s clients. One in particular, Arm, shares a close working dynamic with it: “Proxima has been able to bring both commercial expertise and category knowledge, while also injecting capability at a time when Arm’s existing procurement team were quite stretched,” Harris explains. Establishing a “two-way feedback” loop, the collaborators have been able to react swiftly to challenges and coordinate decisively, “We work together at pace and deliver value quickly.” Using different time zones to its advantage, Proxima’s UK team can hand over to the US team and vice versa, creating a continuous cycle of problem-solving capability.
This kind of partnership will prove vital in the post-COVID-19 world, where traditional operational patterns no longer hold true and an innovative mindset is crucial. As other companies strive to build an operating model for procurement that matches today’s challenges, Harris believes that Proxima’s breadth of expertise will become even more valuable. “When we first locked down, there was a feeling that businesses would, to some extent, ‘batten down the hatches’ and just focus on cost. However, I think a lot of them are now asking, ‘How can we transform ourselves to make decisions quicker?’, and that theme will continue into 2021.” Proxima’s aim, then, will be to guide that development and continue its ongoing mission of delivering real value to its customers.
Group Management: Superior compliance in construction
Group Management Electrical Surveys is a long-standing and vital partner to Mercury Engineering. The company offers an innovative suite of electrical inspection, test and documentation services to ensure compliance in complex major construction projects for many of the UK and EU's leading companies. Utilising in-house cutting-edge solutions and its highly competent and experienced engineers, Group Management provides everything from electrical inspection and testing to thermal imaging surveys, QA/QC management, torque compliance, technical support, DSEAR compliance and electrical installation condition reports.
“No project can achieve handover without the correct documentation and safety critical electrical certification in place,” says Managing Director Steve Cressey. “Our services ensure that project critical documentation and certification can be correctly produced in an efficient, cost effective manner, which makes Group Management an important part of any construction project.”
Cressey joined the business in 2009, bringing strong and incisive leadership to Group Management, with decades of industry experience giving him a unique understanding of the design through to handover construction process. He has stewarded the business’ partnership with Mercury since its inception and describes it as uniquely collaborative.
“Our relationship with Mercury Engineering stretches back many years. We partnered with Mercury on our first Data Centre project together in Watford in 2007, and since then the relationship has gone from strength to strength,” says Cressey.
“The partnership is longstanding, and we’ve built an incredibly strong working relationship. Partnering with Mercury, who are an innovative, cutting-edge technology provider, means we must constantly improve our services offering. We strive to be the best in what we do, and Mercury can trust we will be efficient in delivering on time, on budget, to achieve a successful handover that meets both Mercury’s and the end clients’ future needs.”
Group Management has since successfully completed more than 30 Data Centre projects throughout the EU as Mercury’s preferred electrical compliance partner. The relationship has also seen Group Management partner with Mercury Engineering on four brand-new hospitals in the UK and Ireland, key pharmaceutical projects and a number of commercial and leisure spaces.
“To ensure the continued success and growth of Group Management we always discuss projects with key clients and their teams, take feedback on the performance of both our business and our individuals, and in turn use that to improve our services,” Cressey says.
“The professional development of our employees is essential to our success. All our employees are encouraged to continue their education, to further develop their skills through additional training, and that in turn drives better service and a superior product for our clients. We now offer four more services to Mercury than when the partnership began, which has helped spur Group Management’s growth and success within the wider market.”