May 17, 2020

Procurement progress saves Subway GBP 184 million

European procurement
5 min
Procurement progress saves Subway GBP 184 million
Follow @SamJermy and @SupplyChainD on Twitter.Subway franchises have saved over £184 million thanks to a sophisticated procurement approach that s...

Follow @SamJermy and @SupplyChainD on Twitter.


Subway franchises have saved over £184 million thanks to a sophisticated procurement approach that started in 2001 by forming an organisation to specifically serve the brand.

The European Independent Purchasing Company (EIPC), exists so franchises are able to secure greater financial and service discounts from purchasing and supplying products in large volumes and follows a similar business model to its North American counterparts.

With  close to 2,000 stores in the UK and Ireland alone and more than 4,000 stores across 33 countries in Europe in total, EIPC co-ordinates a mammoth operation by dealing with suppliers of products and services, as well as distributors on behalf of Subway franchises. There are offices in Germany and France, and people work from home in Spain, Netherlands, Poland and Finland

Mike Attwood, Purchasing Director for EIPC, said: “It’s one thing to develop new stores, but the supply chain aspect is a different ball game and also needs careful planning to support the overall company growth. EIPC is completely owned by the franchisees and we are governed by an elected board who ensure we spend money wisely on important projects for them.

“The differing number of stores; from 40 in Spain to almost 2,000 in the UK and Ireland, makes the job exciting as from all corners of the continent we are helping  franchisees to become the best they can be. We have saved over £184 million from 2001 until the end of 2014. We saw a growth surge with around 400 new stores added across Europe last year, and this growth is set to accelerate going forward. The Subway brand is getting a huge amount of development interest and it’s our job to ensure we have the capacity and contingency to support that growth.”

Working under a relationship agreement with the Subway brand headquarters, which sets out how EIPC operates with the brand and does business, Attwood and his team have secured the services of global corporations, such as Unilever to supply soup and hot drinks, Coca-Cola has been a drinks partner in Great Britain for some years now and Bidvest 3663 is the GB distribution supplier.


Brand synergy

In 1965 the company began when Fred DeLuca opened a sandwich shop to earn some additional money for his studies in Connecticut, USA, and by 1974 there were 36 stores and that is when the Subway brand founder started franchising.

From there the brand grew exponentially, and today has over 42,000 stores globally and DeLuca is still President of the group.

Attwood said: “At the end of the financial year anything left over goes back to the franchisees in the form of a dividend. We (EIPC) have about 80 staff altogether, 63 based in the UK and the others based around Europe.

“There’s lot of cross-team collaboration and continuous improvement training; three people in the Netherlands and UK are in my team so we are always travelling for that very purpose.

“We go to a lot franchisees’ meetings across Europe and present what we’re working on, services, food prices, what the future is looking like in the industries which affect our business and we share all the knowledge we can. It builds the notion that we are there for the franchisees and it’s important to demonstrate the ways that can help franchisees to save money. They get surveyed every year and are very positive about the value we bring.”

One prominent example of how EIPC assists the Subway brand is the deal it secured to get WiFi for all UK stores for free. By funding the whole programme centrally, it did a thoroughly efficient job with the supplier, O2, than if each store tried to reach its own deal individually.

Attwood points out an important factor in the ongoing success of EIPC is due to the seasoned individuals who come in with specialist knowledge of their sectors. Each employee is chosen for their specific industry experience and have come from leading brands such as Sainsbury’s, Yum!, McDonald’s, Whitbread and Brakes. Most recently, two staff members who launched the Shell petrol loyalty scheme are now working to do the same for the Subway brand.


Future prosperity

The success of the growing Subway brand is partly thanks to the more calculated procurement approach EIPC has undertaken to create a more co-ordinated supply chain, by making supplier agreements in higher volumes than in years gone by. Standardising key ingredients across Europe was one way the company was able to consolidate its supply chain and become more efficient.

The first European store opened in Dublin in 1992, where the franchisee found a local baker and meat supplier to get the right quality of ham and bread. Those two companies are still supplying the Subway bread today and have grown with the system. But still only has two companies manufacturing bread with one factory in Germany and another in the UK so EIPC is currently looking and identifying where its new bread factory should be, to support the growth in demand for Subs.

Attwood said: “They took the chance at the time and now Dawn Farm Foods and Evron Foods supply a significant share of cooked meats and bakery to stores across Europe. Because EIPC is not set up like a supermarket where you have a head office setting down the rules, everyone has to collaborate because we are all separate entities working towards a common goal, this is what makes the company exciting to work for.

“The Subway brand is looking at doubling the size of the business by 2020, growing to about 8,000 European stores, so we need those suppliers to be able to grow with us. Anyone who plans doubling their volume in 5 years should know it’s a nice problem to have but requires good planning and supply chain management.

“We’ve got a great team who know how to break into new markets and once you can get a supply chain in place and get these gold-standard products to store it makes a huge difference. One of the exciting things we do is buy globally; for example buying tuna from South East Asia and working with the other tuna buyers in the other IPC organisations in the worldwide group. We build international relationships and that’s where the Subway brand can make the difference.”

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Jun 16, 2021

EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs

3 min
Supply chains embroiled in Airbus-Boeing dispute will no longer be impacted by $11.5bn tariffs imposed on food and beverage, aircraft and tobacco

The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. 

Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years. 

It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC. 

The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn. 

In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products. 

Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers  

  • The dispute began in 2004
  • Tariffs suspended for 5 years 
  • $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
  • $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date 
  • 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended

Both sides welcome end to tariffs 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.

“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.

Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”. 

The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."

This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.

Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”

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