Careander is an organisation with 24 locations spread across the Veluwe, providing care for mentally disabled people. Approximately 350 clients are permanent residents, and 400 clients daytime visitors. Aside from this, Careander offers at-home support to a large group of adults and children with their parents. The organisation has 850 employees.
Obviously nutrition is an important operational element for Careander. Since the organisation was founded in the 60s, the number of locations has increased, though they differ very much from one another: some are inpatient sites, others are only used for daytime activities. There are also the support centres where outpatients can have dinner together. This meant that in practice, each individual Chef does their own shopping, choosing their shop and products, without much attention to spending patterns. As a result, the organisation found budgeting virtually impossible and keeping financial records a time-consuming and complicated matter. Careander felt the need to investigate this cost category but there were too many variables and internal stakeholders to set up an in-house solution. In short, this was the typical situation in which an outside approach is needed to put things into perspective.
Expense Reduction Analysts consultant Kees de Dreu, who had already completed a passenger transportation project for Careander, agreed to investigate the food cost category. De Dreu asked his colleagues Arjan Schoonderwoerd and Simon Postma to work with him on the project. Schoonderwoerd has a lot of experience in food and catering, and Postma is a financial expert. Postma: “There proved to be many variables that need to be taken into account: dozens of locations, regional managers, team leaders, chefs, counsellors, permanent residents, outpatients, a clients’ council, a number of existing suppliers, menu cycles, diets, different ways to prepare meals, different kitchen supplies, new construction, renovation, expansion, and so on. In addition to that, there is the complicating factor that shopping with small groups of clients in preparation for the meal is part of the daily activities.” Schoonderwoerd and Postma therefore devoted a large amount of time to consulting many internal stakeholders, and made a thorough inventory of the possibilities and (sometimes very specific) needs.
After that, a proper market consultation was launched for a ‘basket’ of approximately 350 regularly purchased items. Based on quoted prices, reliability, food safety, quality, continuity, flexibility, lead times, management information, account management and CSR, ultimately a - new - total supplier was selected. Given the fact that the quality of the bread was considered to be very important, a similar path was followed for hot bakery products, and a baker covering the entire working area of Careander was selected to supply all those products.
Every three months, an update was presented to a delegation of Careander, and every time Expense Reduction Analysts checked if certain matters should be adjusted. “Given the complex organisation, there were some difficulties at the start. Sometimes we had to improvise”, says Simon Postma. “For example, the new central supplier delivered products two or three times a week, instead of every day, and not all pantries could handle that. And chefs had to get used to a slightly less flexible kitchen and more planning. But after six months, there were barely any complaints.” And now Careander works with a budget module per location. To further implement all new changes within the organisation, the board of Careander decided to maintain the services of Expense Reduction Analysts for another six months.
The changes did not only save Careander 70,000 Euros a year, on a total budget of 650,000, but also offered more insight into what exactly is going on in the kitchens. This enables sound budgeting as well.
Regional manager Gerrit Harmanny: “Besides the fact that it saves a lot of money, Expense Reduction Analysts brought calm to the situation. We have a clearer image of how much we spend on what, and that was something the team leaders really wanted to know. We have more control and the administrative burden has decreased because there are fewer declarations and invoices.”
Director Jan ter Steeg: “Promoting cost awareness is necessary, especially given the current political changes. It is important to us that the savings benefit the immediate care. Grocery shopping as part of the daily activities was a difficult issue, because we want to have the most ordinary daily pattern possible, and it also creates a bond between the clients and the grocer in the neighbourhood. But we decided that the total savings in time and money were ultimately more important. The good thing about Expense Reduction Analysts is that they present all possibilities, but never urge the organisation to make a decision that suits them, which really is a big advantage. We lack the time and expertise to execute these kinds of complex processes, which is why we made the most of the expertise of Expense Reduction Analysts. They did an amazing job, we are very happy with the results.
“We lack the time and expertise to execute these kinds of complex processes, which is why we made the most of the expertise of Expense Reduction Analysts. They did an amazing job.”
Jan ter Steeg, Director Careander