Strategic Partners: Grasshopper Ant

Procurement Heads has strategically partnered with a number of organisations in order that we can expand our offerings and deliver recruitment as a professional service.

For our latest Strategic Partners profile, David Hazeldine spoke with Annie Spilsbury, Founder of Grasshopper Ant to hear how they help organisations optimise their organisational performance.

Could you give us a little background on yourself?

I am Annie Spilsbury I am the founder of Grasshopper Ant. We are a strategic sourcing procurement organisation that use data and interpret it to deliver insights and opportunities within organisations to save cost, de-risk supply chains and also upskill and train their people so they can hit targets very accurately.

Grasshopper Ant has a very uncanny name that comes from Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper, who, when times were good was partying and having a good time, but when times got bad the grasshopper hadn’t prepared, meanwhile the ant had and saved lots of food and reserves for the winter. 

Unfortunately, the grasshopper met his demise, it is a nod to that fable, we are the ant that helps our clients prepare for what is around the corner and prosper in hard times. 

So, that is the background of Grasshopper Ant.

What made you set up the business?

It sounds strange as I had always worked by word of mouth, but we kept being asked to do more work and needed to scale it and create a brand. 

I had worked with teams for more than 25 years who deliver solidly, so I created a brand, brought the guys on board and that’s how it started.

Who is going to benefit the most from Grasshopper Ant’s services?

I would imagine you are normally dealing with CPOs, but frequently when we are working with CPOs they have a strategy in place and they probably have a good handle on what they need to deliver. 

We frequently work with procurement teams helping them to upscale and keep their delivery on track when resourcing is tight. 

Also, one of our target audiences is CFOs, we work with the payment and expense data and can track any savings back to the P&L, which is really helpful for integration. 

We are quite specific, we have accountants who work for us and we speak a financial language so it is a blend between CPOs, CFOs and I guess also CTOs and CIOs. 

It depends on what the organisation is trying to achieve, but we are very flexible and work very comfortably across the mix.

How do you work?

We are very cautious of working with clients to prove that we can deliver value. 

We tend to offer them free of charge – what we call ‘the art of the possible’ – where we extract their data and show them what we can do.  

It’s quite a light touch to begin with but just to give them comfort that any investment they make in our business is going to be realised in terms of bottom-line margin. 

We also quite frequently get parachuted into quite challenging environments where potentially we could be seen as a threat, but we have a knack of being able to work seamlessly with people and bring a sense of fun as well as solid delivery. 

That is how we work, we are not really big on long-term engagements we parachute in, deliver, upskill, make sure the client can deliver what they need to do themselves then pull ourselves out and make sure we are available in the future. 

We are flexible, light-touch and are not a big heavy consultancy – but we ensure people get their return on investment. 

What portfolio of clients do you have?

I guess if an organisation is £50million and over in revenue they might start to lose sight of what they are doing. 

Our average customer is about £1billion in revenue, we do work globally and we work in all sectors. 

We are pretty flexible but we really need the clients to have a challenge that we need to solve around visibility of spend, visibility of supply chain risk, and being able to get their arms around what they need to deliver.

Are there any specific trends you are seeing at the moment as a driver for engaging you?

This is a very interesting question and I am going to answer it very honestly. 

You have some really top large blue-chip organisations that talk about sustainability, carbon offset etc. 

But I would say 95% of the cases of every organisation that we work with don’t actually know what they are spending and where. 

I would say initially it is to provide clarity within their organisation so that they can drive carbon offset, sustainability and ESG. 

Supply chain risk is also a focus at the moment because of the significant market forces we are experiencing, whether that be price volatility, energy prices, shipping costs, and even niche providers actually because frequently we are coming across examples where production is being shut down because a very small provider cannot provide the volume of product that is required. 

It is a good question; it is not always cost reduction that we get brought in for but it does tend to be a focus for a lot of organisations and we can answer the tough questions that are keeping the board up at night. 

How does an organisation engage Grasshopper Ant services?

Either on LinkedIn, pick up the phone, obviously, you can reach out to David, we are in regular communication and we could be happy to set up a call or hopefully meet face to face soon – socially distanced of course. 

We would be happy to run through a presentation of what we see and how we can help and make everything very productive and worthwhile.

We are doing things in a slightly different way from the norm, it is much slicker, much more accountable and we really know what we are doing and it makes a big difference not just dealing with clients but also the suppliers who are very happy we have come on board.