Paying on time benefits everyone

Martin Gee, Commercial Director

Martin Gee, Commercial Director


In its recent report - Everyone’s business, supporting an outstanding reputation - the CBI highlighted that the ‘benefits of getting your business practices right will be felt by everyone’. The section that caught my eye related to paying suppliers on time.

As commercial director, it’s up to my team to ensure that we support the business to be the best water and waste water company. It’s not a front line department – we aren’t the ones fixing pipes, turning valves, digging holes or checking the pumps whatever the weather. But we are the team that makes sure our supply chain provides the materials to fix the pipes and has bought the coats, gloves and jackets that keep the weather out!

To provide all our goods and services means we conduct business with around 2,500 suppliers every year, from major international corporations to one man bands. Buying everything needed to get the job done from archaeological services to zero emission cars.

Our suppliers enable us to do business. What’s more they have their own employees and suppliers. This supply chain provides jobs and income for people and drives the demand for skills in the North West economy. We obviously pay for the goods and services but what I am proud of is the number of suppliers who say we are good to do business with. Why? Because we make the effort to pay them on time.

As an organisation we have been signatories to the prompt payment code since 2010 and consistently pay over 95% of our suppliers on time within the agreed terms and conditions. This enables them to do business too. Ensuring they can pay their employees and suppliers, and having the cash flow to invest with confidence.

Later this month we will be required to publish more data on how long we take to pay suppliers under The Reporting on Payment Practices and Performance Regulations. The regulations might be new but the practice to us is not. We aren’t at 100% yet but we will try and get as close as possible as we realise it helps keep the North West economy flowing. And the CBI is right – the benefits should be felt by everyone.