Making budgets work harder when buying from Argos

The Surrey Local Assistance Scheme is a discretionary fund run by Surrey County Council. It has been running since 1 April 2013 and provides financial help to Surrey residents who have nowhere else to turn, either in an emergency or after a disaster. It also can provide assistance to set up a home in the community where no other funds or resources are available.

When reviewing the provision of white goods and household items for their local assistance scheme in 2014, Surrey County Council approached Argos for Business to better understand options to streamline procurement processes.

Following Argos for Business being awarded a rolling deal to supply the council’s residents with these essential items, speed of set up was key to a smooth start to the partnership. Using a well-rehearsed implementation process enabled the supply to be set up within 24 hours.

“The resource given to us by Argos for Business ensured a speedy implementation plan with support throughout the process, not only from their dedicated ordering store, but a dedicated account manager. The account set up was prioritised with an Argos team member working on turning around the account within 24 hours – not the 3-5 days it normally took, to ensure we were set up to provide essential items to those who needed them”.

To best serve the council’s requirements, Argos for Business offered their Business Centre ordering solution as the best option. Colleagues in selected Argos stores are trained to specifically serve business customers. With different requirements from consumers using Argos, the Business Centre option allows for enhanced service for organisations when it’s most needed.

“We were given a dedicated contact in our local Argos store, meaning we had someone to actually talk to about our needs and those of our residents. Communication with Argos for Business and the council has been fantastic, offering a transparent and partnership approach to getting essential items to our residents”.

To help reduce administration time for the council, it was agreed that the Argos store would manage all contact with the end user regarding delivery, and in certain cases the installation and disposal of the old appliance. This minimised the touch points within the council teams and drove a more efficient service for all.

“Working with the Argos Business Centre allowed us to streamline the process and gave us less to worry about. Argos taking ownership of sourcing stock from our pre-agreed product list and working with residents to arrange delivery meant we saved time and resource on processes they were already skilled in. Since appointing Argos for Business we have seen a decrease in the overall cost to the council by around 30%, helping to make our budget work harder for our residents who need help and support”.

Ongoing benefits

Using an Argos Business Centre has provided the council with an effective way of working, and has seen the relationship develop as ordering processes have been enhanced further since launch. Regular reviews take place to review the product options and ordering and delivery stats to ensure we are meeting our objectives, and providing an effective and cost efficient service.

“Our contacts at Argos understand our business, they understand that residents are in urgent need of these items, and often go above and beyond to ensure products are delivered quickly when they are needed. Keeping the council informed with regular dialogue ensures a trusting, effective and productive relationship”.

Stewart Taylor, Customer Interaction Lead