A North East utilities giant is taking to the road to encourage more local businesses to seek out opportunities to become its suppliers.

Northumbrian Water Group spends around £400m a year on goods, works and services with 65% being sourced from local suppliers. They are keen to further develop relationships with regional companies which will help towards boosting economic growth, jobs and prosperity here in the North East.


In a first for the business, it is setting up a temporary office for a day in North Tyneside for prospective suppliers to come along and ask questions about its tender process. Northumbrian Water′s procurement experts will be on hand to offer advice and support to businesses as well as to anyone thinking of going into business.


Northumbrian Water′s Head of Procurement, Steve Crake, said the move to engage more with current and potential suppliers was part of the organisation′s "Responsible Procurement" strategy.


"We enjoy such good relationships with local businesses and - with two thirds of our suppliers coming from within our regions - we know that the firms are out there for us to partner with and enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship," said Steve.


"We want to attract more high-quality local suppliers and also hear from firms who are maybe daunted by the tendering process. We understand that it can be a time-consuming process, but our aim is to make it as simple and straightforward as possible, while still fulfilling the corporate and legal obligations required of us."


Northumbrian Water′s community vehicle "Flo" will be parked outside Q12 at Quorum Business Park on Tuesday, March 20 between 9am and 4pm.


Northumbrian Water′s Director of Corporate Affairs, Louise Hunter, said: "It is important to us that we support regional businesses wherever we can, and we know that as a large company, the responsibility to help smaller suppliers to engage with us is ours.


"We hope that by basing our procurement team in the heart of the business community, we will meet with firms interested in working with us, maybe some who currently work with us and others that want to join our roster of suppliers, but have been put off by the tendering process."


North East England Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, James Ramsbotham, has backed Northumbrian Water′s push for "looking local" in its search for new suppliers.


"If we are to realise the economic potential that the North East undoubtedly has, then we need our large organisations to take a responsible approach to sourcing suppliers and goods locally," said James.


"I applaud Northumbrian Water′s commitment to regional businesses and would urge our members to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with one of the North East′s most progressive companies."


For more information and/or to arrange to meet with Northumbrian Water′s procurement team please e-mail: responsibleprocurement@nwl.co.uk