The story of 1,000 tonnes of butter and significant savings
Walker's Shortbread, a prestigious 125-year-old Scottish company renowned for its exceptional shortbread products that are available across the world, embarked on a mission to revolutionize its procurement processes and maximize commercial savings. In a bid to overcome the inefficiencies of manual supplier communication, and driven by the experienced Head of Procurement Kees Bressers, Walker's sought a cutting-edge solution. This case study dives into the successful implementation of DeepStream and the remarkable cost savings achieved by Walker's through this transformative procurement platform.
Led by Kees, Walker's Shortbread boasts a team of five highly skilled members. Dawn Kennedy, a talented direct buyer responsible for sourcing top-quality ingredients, had long grappled with the challenges of manual communication and tracking prices with existing suppliers. Eager for a more streamlined and efficient process, Kees yearned for his team to be able to dedicate more time to expanding sourcing opportunities to generate cost savings, whilst making sure to continue sourcing the best ingredients that define Walker's Shortbread’s excellence.
A traditional business accustomed to traditional methods
As a traditional family-owned business, many of the relationships Walker’s had with their supply base had been established for decades. More often than not, the procurement team could only go to existing suppliers to get quotations for products they required, all via email and phone with spreadsheets and PDFs – causing numerous pain points due to the manual nature of the process.
Dawn and the team often found themselves chasing after quotes, struggling to obtain accurate information, and relying on outdated pricing from previous suppliers. The lack of structure and visibility created inefficiencies and compliance risks, impeding the team's ability to operate at their full potential.
“Managing multiple suppliers' responses and the time lapses between quotes often led to confusion and repeated work. DeepStream provides us with a centralized platform where we can easily obtain quotes, track responses, and eliminate the inefficiencies we once faced.”
Dawn Kennedy - Direct Buyer
Evaluating and choosing the right solution
The selection of the ideal procurement solution was a meticulous process for Walker’s. The executive team, together with Kees and other end users, engaged in a thorough evaluation. DeepStream competed against both industry giants and agile best of breed solutions. Ultimately, DeepStream's seamless user experience, auction functionality and dedicated customer success support won them over, outweighing other factors such as cost.
"When we were searching for a new solution, our main goals were to reduce workload, streamline the competitive quoting process, and gain proactive visibility on product costs. The limited experience within our organization regarding such solutions led me to seek a system like DeepStream. Although DeepStream wasn't the cheapest option, its functionality and user interface outweighed the commercial aspect for us, and it was a unanimous choice amongst the evaluation team." Kees Bressers - Head of Procurement
Getting up and running with ease
Walker's Shortbread commended DeepStream for its exceptional onboarding process, highlighting the platform's ease of use and unwavering commitment to customer support. Dawn, initially skeptical about adopting new systems, was pleasantly surprised.
"The onboarding process with DeepStream has been excellent. As someone who isn't very comfortable with systems, I find DeepStream incredibly easy to use. The customer success team is highly responsive, addressing any issues promptly. I have no complaints at all it's great!" Dawn Kennedy - Direct Buyer
Introducing suppliers to a new way of working
While some suppliers initially hesitated to embrace the new platform, the Walker's Shortbread team proactively addressed their concerns. Leveraging the customer success team at DeepStream, who offered prompt assistance to the Walker’s team along with their suppliers - helping them navigate the platform, understand its benefits, and showcase the competitive advantages - Walker's successfully onboarded their suppliers, earning their trust and active participation in the system.
“Ensuring our chosen platform was user-friendly, was a crucial factor in our decision to choose DeepStream - knowing that this would help make the transition easier for both our team and our suppliers.” Kees Bressers - Head of Procurement
Driving significant cost savings in record time
The adoption of DeepStream by Walker's Shortbread offered a multitude of benefits that has transformed their procurement practices. The consolidation of pricing information within a centralized platform eliminated the need for laborious searches, providing instant access to crucial data. By being able to invite more suppliers to participate in requests for quotations (RFQs) and auctions, has meant the team have unlocked competitive pricing and gained access to valuable market data. Armed with this knowledge, their negotiations have become more informed and potent, resulting in significant cost savings.
Within the first 6 months of using DeepStream the team have run 91 requests, 12 auctions, increased the average amount of suppliers invited to requests by 150% and have achieved significant savings. The auction functionality in particular has yielded cost savings for the business on commodity products such as butter.
Walker’s suppliers are also reaping the benefits of participating in auctions as they get access to market insights such as price position against competitors, giving them a chance to review their offer to win more business.
"When it comes to our overall procurement goals for the business, DeepStream has had a significant impact. Its ease of use and seamless onboarding has allowed us to widen our network when inviting suppliers to RFQs and auctions, resulting in tangible commercial benefits.
One of the key advantages is the ability to achieve savings more easily. As a procurement team, we are often measured by the amount of savings we generate, and DeepStream allows us to clearly demonstrate this - transparency is a big win for us." Kees Bressers - Head of Procurement
What does the future hold?
Encouraged by the extraordinary success achieved thus far, Walker's Shortbread is embarking on the next phase of their DeepStream journey - expanding its usage to encompass contract management. Though still in the early stages, the team is confident in the platform's potential to further optimize their processes. By leveraging the platform, they anticipate streamlining contract creation, negotiation, and tracking - whilst also ensuring compliance and mitigating risks.
"From RFI, to RFQ, to awarding a contract, DeepStream simplifies and streamlines the entire process. It also provides us with a comprehensive contract database, enabling us to manage our active and expired contracts more effectively. This centralized repository of historical information facilitates easier supplier relationship management."
Kees Bressers - Head of Procurement
Walker's Shortbread's decision to embrace DeepStream as their procurement solution has yielded remarkable results. Through significant cost savings, improved visibility, and fortified supplier relationships, Walker's has elevated its procurement practices to new heights. By bidding farewell to archaic manual methods and embracing the platform, the company has unlocked unparalleled efficiency, productivity, and transparency in their procurement operations. Guided by the platform’s user-friendly interface and DeepStream’s unwavering customer support, Walker's is poised to further optimize their procurement processes, cementing their position as an industry leader.
"With DeepStream, we have achieved remarkable cost savings and gained invaluable visibility into our procurement activities. The support provided by the team during the onboarding process has been exemplary. We eagerly anticipate expanding our usage of the platform, confident that it will continue to drive efficiency and savings for our business." Kees Bressers - Head of Procurement