Procurement Change


The Zoological Society of London

The Zoological Society of London Case Study


ZSL is the internationally renowned charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. Founded in 1826 at Regent’s Park, London, a second park at Whipsnade, Bedfordshire followed in 1928. Together the zoos attract over 1.25 million visitors every year.

“We developed a definition of value for money that considers the optimum combination of whole life cost, quality and sustainability which meets the Society’s requirements and is consistent with its mission and values. The Consultancy Company ensured that its approach encapsulated this in entirely.”

Nick Napier, IT Director Zoological Society of London

 Customer Challenge

A large range of suppliers across different parts of the organisation had created a complex procurement infrastructure within ZSL.  Recognising the need for a more coherent approach, IT Director Nick Napier engaged with The Consultancy Company, the leaders in strategic change. An initial review of existing procurement processes identified:

Locally based procurement meant ZSL was not leveraging its full purchasing power.

Procurement processes were inconsistently applied with huge scope to create efficiencies in both time and paperwork.

Poor visibility across the organisation of what was being bought and why.

Key objectives were to improve overall control of ZSL’s procurement, with a long term target saving of at least 5% on identified elements of the Society’s third party spend.

While an enhanced commercial focus was the main objective, delivering this consistently and sympathetically to ZSL’s mission as a conservation charity was vital.

Our Approach

Working closely with ZSL’s Finance team, The Consultancy Company led an initial analysis of the Society’s spend.

Consistent, enforceable procurement procedures were identified as the first priority. Adopting a co-ordinated category-based approach to procurement across all parts of the organisation would also deliver significant cost savings.

The Consultancy Company focused on developing a supplier base that provided best value for money using principles of good procurement. Once again, commercial requirements had to be balanced with cultural considerations.

“Ultimately, we come back to the delivery of commercially viable processes consistent with our mission, which was so important in terms of securing internal buy-in to the change process.  Colin and his team had the sensitivity to manage this culturally and pragmatically, taking us into a new strategic direction from a procurement perspective.”

Nick Napier, IT Director Zoological Society of London

The Solution

  • Development of a common set of purchasing policies and processes.  A Policy and Procedures Guide for Procurement together with a Supplier Qualification Process was rolled out across ZSL.  Particular attention was paid to the development of processes which would support and reinforce ZSL’s commitment to sustainability and ethical trading by ensuring that supplier qualification addressed these issues and that specific requirements were placed on suppliers.
  • Improvements in the Purchase to Pay (P2P) processes through a series of Lean improvement workshops. These workshops specifically addressed improvements to the processes for requisitioning, ordering receipting and cost allocation for IT and Estates related goods and services.
  • A pilot implementation of an IT based procurement system which established the feasibility for taking procurement online to deliver better visibility throughout the cycle and greater control of purchasing.  The system is web-based and simple to use thus encouraging take up by a range of staff.
  • Support to specific procurement initiatives designed to achieve better value for money in the delivery of key goods and services.


The new processes introduced by The Consultancy Company have delivered better value for money in a number of core categories:

  • Reduction in printing costs of 17% through rationalisation and consolidation of spend as well as negotiation of improved supplier terms.
  • Cleaning costs reduced by 18% at the Regent’s Park site and 10% at Whipsnade Zoo through rationalisation and re-tendering.
  • Reduction of waste management costs across both sites by 10% through consolidation and rationalisation of agreements.  As a result of this agreement it is expected that the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites will reduce to 1.2% of the total waste generated.
  • Savings of the order of 30% in pest control services as a result of service redefinition and re-tendering.

Looking Ahead

With improved procurement principles in place, The Consultancy Company worked with ZSL to create and recruit for a permanent Procurement Manager role.  This ensures central ownership of the procurement processes across ZSL and the continuation of the various initiatives implemented by The Consultancy Company.


For an in-depth discussion please contact:

Colin Brookman, Lead Consultant for this project – 07970 629911,



Aidan Salter, Managing Director – 07801 039600,


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