Local businesses across South Yorkshire are set to receive further support with buying and trading locally, thanks to a new free-of-charge Supply Chain service introduced across Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils.

A number of Supply Chain Business Managers have been appointed, with a dedicated specialist in each local council area.  Victoria Poppleton is Supply Chain Manager for Doncaster, John Mellor for Barnsley, Neil Wilkinson for Rotherham and Andrew Jackson for Sheffield.

The Supply Chain Managers have been brought in as part of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s Renewal Action Plan (RAP), which has been developed in close partnership with the South Yorkshire business community, councils, universities and other partners. The RAP sets out a roadmap for how the region can put itself on the path to recovering from the massive economic disruption the pandemic has caused.

Chair of South Yorkshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership James Muir, explains: “There are many challenges to the supply chain at the moment: the energy crisis, increasing costs when buying from overseas, pressure on businesses to be more sustainable and the impact of Brexit.  These highly experienced Supply Chain Managers are here to advise and support local businesses in sourcing goods, suppliers and staff locally or within the wider region.

“We’re looking forward to helping to bring buyers and suppliers much closer together in South Yorkshire for mutual benefit.”

The Supply Chain Managers are planning a series of events across South Yorkshire, which include Meet the Buyer, Masterclasses, Networking and Public Sector tendering events.

Part of the role of the Supply Chain Managers is to research and bring forward tender, sales and supply chain opportunities for South Yorkshire businesses.  Their role will involve engaging with private sector businesses and public sector procurement teams within the local authorities; the Local Enterprise Partnership; Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield; NHS; Fire; Police and other large public and private organisations and raising awareness of the opportunities that exist and identifying where South Yorkshire businesses could benefit.

The Supply Chain Managers will also support SME businesses in identifying and understanding supply chain opportunities locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, linking businesses together in the region to encourage new contacts, collaboration and joint working.  They will also work to support SMEs to explore new markets and to develop local supply chains within large UK Government and international projects.

SME businesses in South Yorkshire can access advice through the Supply Chain Managers on a one-to-one basis, through their local authority in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.  The support is tailored to individual business needs, rather than being prescriptive.  As Victoria Poppleton, Supply Chain Business Manager, explains: “This is about helping SMEs to access good quality local suppliers.  Where businesses are sourcing from overseas, they are often facing challenges of long lead times or increasing costs. Wherever possible we aim to help businesses to access suppliers locally to support the local economy and increase trading opportunities within the region. We’ll be engaging with SMEs through a combination of face-to-face discussions, events and networking.

“We’re advising anyone who is experiencing supply chain issues to get in touch and see how we could help.”

James Muir adds: “The appointment of the Supply Chain Managers is a clear demonstration of how the Mayoral Combined Authority is working to support SMEs and start-ups across South Yorkshire and how we are already meeting the steps laid out as part of our Renewal Action Plan. Whether you provide products and services to the public or other businesses, if you’re an SME based in South Yorkshire and need guidance, we are here to help. Together we can and will support businesses across our region and our local economy to grow.”

The South Yorkshire Growth Hub acts as a ‘gateway’ so that businesses can access support when it is needed the most and within the shortest timeframe. The Growth Hub team of advisors offer guidance in the fields of business development and industry support, including innovation, growth, logistics, trade and exporting and accessing finance or training.

Any business that is looking for help with supply chain issues should contact the South Yorkshire Growth Hub for referrals.