“Growth-Obsessed” Compass Group Shares Best Practices

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MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — As part of a series of trade events, the Toronto-based Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) invited Compass Group Canada and Foodbuy to the International Centre this morning to share highlights from the past year.

“A lot of the focus on FCPC has been on the grocery/retail trade, but we’re seeing a growing want from the membership and a growing interest in getting to know and network with our foodservice partners,” began Derek Nighbor, who invited Compass Group Canada CEO, Saajid Khan, to the stage.

Compass Group Canada, owned by the British multinational Compass Group PLC, generated £17.1 billion last year. “We are a growth-obsessed company,” said Khan, noting that the contract-catering entity, serves markets such as business and industry, education, healthcare and remote sites. The team generated $160 million in new business this year, including deals with U.S.-based 3M and Toronto’s Ryerson University.

One tenet to success has been about finding efficiencies in every facet of its business, explained Ian Bullock, VP of Purchasing and Foodbuy Canada, Compass Group Canada’s purchasing services organization, which manages $1 billion on behalf of its members. “We look at the number of suppliers we have under contract every month, and we make sure the number reflects the fewest number of products that we need to carry … and we do the same with our distribution and direct suppliers.” Foodbuy boasted 30 per cent new business growth this year, Bullock added.

Despite its strong business growth, Compass Group has felt the impact of the plummeting oil prices. It caters to workers on oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alta., providing meals, housekeeping, recreation and logistics. “It’s been a massive impact on the country,” says Khan. “Our clients’ profit margins have been reduced to nothing, and we needed to share the pain.” He adds: “It hits our pocketbooks, but we know in the long run it strengthens our relationships, it guarantees greater volumes, and, when it bounces back, it keeps us in their world and entrenches us much better.”

Innovation is on the radar at Compass. Its Envision 2020 summit examines how its services are going to evolve during the next five years, through technology, culinary offerings and more. “Whichever organization in our world gets that consumer need right, in each of our market segments, will dominate the next five to 10 years. It is that simple,” summed up Khan.

The FCPC will host its Annual Supply Chain Symposium April 14 at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

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