Hospitality company Mitchells & Butlers is reviewing its suppliers and has chosen Fujitsu as a key technology vendor.
Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) - owner of the Harvester, Browns, Vintage Inn and All Bar One brands - has reviewed its £1bn external spend across various business areas. The initiative was intended to redesign the firm's engagement with its suppliers.
M&B commercial director Robin Young is leading the process. His role covers technology, purchasing, logistics, food trading and electronic gaming.
"Our approach needed to be radically different to continue with the ambitious growth plans for the company, while reducing the central overhead," Robin Young said.
"Each of M&B's 11 spending areas have been subjected to a rolling process that has helped identify key market drivers, optimum commercial approaches and significant opportunities, by taking a long hard look at the way we do things and by encouraging some genuine and honest feedback from our partners."
Young says the most critical decisions in the review concern vendors the firm intends to work with in the long-term.
Transition runs smoothly
In technology, M&B is running sourcing programmes to align its infrastructure, applications and support needs with business plans to expand in both restaurant numbers and food offerings.
The first and most significant element of the IT strategy resulted in a five-year contract with Fujitsu which has just been signed, following the end of a contract with IBM and a competitive process involving three other suppliers.
Fujitsu will provide all M&B's datacentre and network services, starting later this year. Young says IBM is actively supporting the transition programme to ensure a seamless transfer to Fujitsu.
"It has been fantastic to see the co-operation between IBM and Fujitsu as this journey unfolds. We continue to work with IBM and they have identified major opportunities within the outlet hardware renewal programme that fit both our and their strategic objectives," said Young.
Under the new arrangement with Fujitsu, a customised hybrid cloud solution will be provided in response to the hospitality firm's requirement for increased agility and cost savings.
M&B needed technology that didn't require migrating its entire IT estate to the cloud overnight, but a move over time to reflect business needs, says Young. The new contract builds on an existing relationship with Fujitsu, which has been responsible for maintaining and supporting M&B's till estate and associated hardware for the last five years.
A new slant on supplier relationships
Young sees the new arrangements as the start of a much wider exercise for Fujitsu, as the supplier will be expected to advise the company on its technology strategy.
Fujitsu will also take part in a purchasing forum with around 10 of M&B's other partners to look at opportunities to enhance the wider supplier relationships and identify co-procurement opportunities.
"Having an ongoing, structured, discussion with diverse companies from the food, drink, corporate, property and logistics areas will identify and uncover a wide range of commercial possibilities for the forum members," said Young.
"While many organisations are resorting to short-term contractual pressure to deliver margin, Mitchells & Butlers has adopted a genuinely long-term approach," he added.
"This is a significant step forward and an example of a FTSE250 company really walking the talk."