Promar is the UK’s largest agricultural and agri-food consultancy, a division of Genus PLC. Promar works with more than 2000 farmers in the UK and overseas, providing advice to maximise profit and fulfil the strategic objectives of the business. Promar also works with commercial and trade organisations and governments globally to manage projects and provide advice to develop ambitious businesses.
Genus and Promar work very closely with Tesco. They manage Tesco’s Future Farmers Foundation (TFFF). This scheme is designed to take farmers who work within Tesco’s supply chain and give them the required skills to deliver more successful businesses whilst serving Tesco’s needs. Part of this year long development program includes leadership and commercial negotiation.
From a start point of business planning and decision making, bridge][ability’s involvement with the TFFF has grown to include commercial negotiation development. This has presented some almost unique challenges for us. First, the agricultural sector was unfamiliar to us and whilst we know that our expertise is applicable across all industries, we did need to develop an understanding of the challenges presented in modern farming. Second, due to the time pressures in place on the TFFF, bridge][ability has been required to deliver impactful and useful material in an unusually short period of time. Our involvement with the TFFF has required us to be highly disciplined in our delivery and has shown us what can be packed into a few short hours.
Although brief, our interactions with the TFFF delegates have led to many of them taking places on our longer programs. As the pressures grow on the UK farming industry, the ability to negotiate a good deal continues to be extremely important.
influencing, international, negotiation, retail, team development, tesco
We were introduced to Tesco by the Category Director of Bakery in the summer of 2013. At that point they were using another provider for negotiation skills development – a company which provided other disciplines as well as negotiation. However, within Bakery they had a particular commercial challenge which they felt required a specialist in commercial negotiation, and invited bridge][ability to advise as to how we could help. At half year, they were significantly behind budget, and our brief was to develop the negotiation skills of the buying team in so that they could negotiate with the supply base in order to improve terms in order to claw back the deficit by year end.
We ran an Advanced Behavioural (2.5 day) program which was designed to address their current problem. This was followed by 2 Coaching Days and an Implementation Day in the following weeks. The coaching Days comprised 1-2-1 coaching with the buyers to ensure that the learnings from the program were being applied to their individual situations. We were also able to conduct some short planning sessions for their upcoming more challenging supplier meetings and negotiations. The Implementation Day was designed for them to share with each other what they had achieved to date since the program, what was working, followed by a recap of some of the key learnings and some new learnings.
The Bakery Category were able to get back over budget by year end and they gage a lot of credit to this to the bridge][ability program. It was a significant turn-around, and one of the Senior Buyers mailed us at the year end to say ‘I thought you might like to know that we will deliver our balance sheet target for bakery and I think the training we had has had a big impact on this.’ She quantified the impact in millions.
The Follow Up
As a result of the success of the Bakery program, Tesco Group decided to tender their negotiation skills training provision and invited bridge][ability to respond and we were successful in winning the three year contract which started in early 2014.
We started by running short awareness sessions at Tesco head office in order to tee up the whole project. We then rolled out the 2.5 day Advanced Behavioural Program to all UK buyers to ensure a consistency of approach across the whole team and to put them through rigorous, thorough and engaging training. Following tremendous feedback and results from this programs during one of the most difficult and challenging periods in Tesco’s history, we were asked to deliver programs to the International Technical teams and to the International Sourcing teams in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and China. We also delivered bespoke programs to the commercial teams in Eastern Europe, and to the buying teams in Ireland. We also delivered programs to the Indirect Procurement teams based in the UK, totalling nearly 100 attendees.
The work we did with Tesco delivered a behavioural change which allowed them to achieve dramatic results in an increasingly competitive market where suppliers were seeking regular price increases.
We trained over 1000 Tesco employees and the feedback was exclusively outstanding and we have been invited to deliver many other projects as a result. This feedback was better than any that Tesco had received before and never dipped below 90% in terms of feedback gathered at the end of each program.
buyer, international, negotiation, retail, tesco