From insights come answers.

A series of articles from the Insider Pro team, in which we examine relevant topics and examples of current challenges that we see in our work with a huge range of organisations, across many sectors.

Lessons learnt in my first 2 years

Posted by Ollie Hucks

This blog post provides a very different insight from the usual blog posts we produce at Insider Pro, rather this post is more personal about my two years at the company. Working at Insider Pro was my first ‘proper’ job post-university and so as you can imagine, I have experienced a plethora of things in this time.

I finished University in September 2021 and was presented with the opportunity to join a professional cycling team. Cycling has been a passion of mine from a young age and I knew this was an opportunity I should not turn down. Accepting this meant that a full-time job was not possible and so, I gave myself a few months to work out what I wanted to do in my spare time, not spent on two wheels. I concluded that a part-time job would work well with my cycling endeavours since I could still get in the training hours and, so long as there was flexibility, I could travel to races abroad every month or so.

I was introduced to Jeremy at Insider Pro through a mutual friend and after various discussions and formal interviews, I started working part-time on 5th April 2022. I knew from all the discussions and interviews that the company aligned well with my ambitions, personality, and ways of working. I was fascinated by the prospect of getting stuck into live projects from day one and trying to make an impact for our customers. I initially started part-time and now work four days a week, and due to the flexibility that Insider Pro offers, I can still get out on my bike and be competitive at the highest level of domestic and international racing.

During the last two years, there has been a lot that I have learnt about business, but also a lot about my own ability. I was quite naive before entering the working world, thinking it would take years of experience to be able to start making a tangible difference to customers, but oh boy, was I wrong. An inquisitive mind, attention to detail, and a readiness for learning are three traits that we all express at Insider Pro and have enabled continuous development over the past two years.

Another trait that I feel is particularly pertinent to my work over the last two years is that being wrong is fine, just don’t stop there. This is usually in terms of investigative work that I regularly undertake. Wrong may sound a bit harsh, but as is the nature of investigation, you usually have an inkling as to what the final outcome will be and this can help to shape your avenues of investigation. However, coming to a dead end, or being wrong, in one avenue of investigation is never done in vain, it will only get you closer to the solution. This is not only of short-term benefit, but a long-term one also, since this will enable faster working should you tackle a similar problem in the future.

My learning over the last three years, whilst not exhaustive, can be split into three main categories. Below, I will touch on how I felt about this when I joined, and how I feel about it now.

  • People: I must have spoken to a few hundred new people during the last two years, both internally and externally: new colleagues, customers, suppliers, of different backgrounds, ethnicities, in different sectors, and a range of roles etc, etc the list goes on! Speaking to new people is intimidating for anyone; some people are apprehensive when speaking to new people; some people do well to hide it! I’ve developed several methods and mechanisms that enable me to engage quickly and personably with new people, which have been the foundation to develop a strong working relationship.
  • Process: Processes are fundamental to ensuring things are being pushed along in an effective and timely manner. If no process is in place then everyone goes in different directions and things get out of control. Understanding how to operate within this process and having a goal with a clear structure and visible outcome is great for motivation and consistency of working practices. Working practices (such as Jira project management software) were not something I was made aware of at school or University so joining Insider Pro with a receptive mind enabled me to quickly and easily get up to speed with how the team works effectively and optimally day after day.

  • Technology: I was accustomed to using social media and Microsoft platforms before joining Insider Pro, and had experience of GIS platforms, but the application to business was not something I had experienced before. I now use Microsoft Office every day and use various other technology platforms that I did not know existed before. My Microsoft skills have moved from competent to, I think it is fair to say, lightly skilled, but as ever with these platforms, there is still a lot to learn. Furthermore, with the advent of AI and it becoming more and more powerful, being able to harness this power for working practices is an area we will all be keeping a close eye on.

The above points have largely focussed on my own personal development and skills and experiences that I have picked up, but another element of my learning is about business as a whole, so below I ask ‘What are the top things I have learnt during my two years about business?’

  • Speed. Speed of working and agile methodologies are key characteristics to operations, the faster we go, the more work we get through and the more projects we can close out, but…

  • Quality. …Speed of work should never be at the expense of quality of work. We will always act in the best interest of our customers and produce work of the highest quality, aiming to deliver value within 90 days.

  • Asset Building. Asset building for Insider Pro is an ongoing process that involves storing knowledge of how we do certain things. That could be knowing which suppliers are best fit for our customers, or it could be how best to analyse and present particular data sets received from our customers. Therefore, asset building enables a faster cadence of working, knowing that the quality work that was done is never done in vain and can be reused as a kickstart on any new projects in the future that are of a similar nature.

  • Cash flow is critical to business. Quite simply, ensuring a healthy bank balance and a healthy pipeline underpins the ability of a business to operate now and into the future. At Insider Pro we operate an open-book finance model for the business, this creates a sense of motivation and accountability. This means we all know when we need to prioritise work that stimulates short-term cash generation, but also highlights when we are doing well and creates a great sense of team morale.

This blog post gives just a flavour of the things I have learned and experienced over the past two years. Nothing was learned overnight, but picked up from trying, failing, asking and experiencing. I hope that this post offers value to anyone new to the world of work, about to enter the world of work or even, if you have been in work for fifty years. I know that the learning I have picked up in the past 2 years is a drop in the ocean compared to what I will learn in the next two or twenty years, and that excites me.

Connect with me on LinkedIn if you would like to learn more.  We will be recruiting new graduates later this year.
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Topics: Procurement People, Procurement Consultancy, Supply Chain Management, Our Team

The importance of relationship building

Posted by Ollie Hucks

It’s no secret that speed is a fundamental characteristic of many successful businesses, be that fast food chains delivering food, or a service-based company delivering value and quick results through efficiencies or cost savings.  Speed is ultimately a result of delivering a product or service in an efficient and timely manner. 

Whilst there are almost endless things that can increase the speed of a business, this blog focuses on one of the key aspects that our team at Insider Pro takes time to commit to all of our customers, relationship building. By building strong relationships, we ultimately gain the trust of those individuals and this enables a far more successful and faster-paced working relationship.

A relationship is not formed with a company, but with those individuals who work for that company. All of these individuals have different personalities and ways of going about their work. Taking the time to understand how every individual operates is key to the success of a project. This could be as simple as understanding how best to communicate with an individual. Are they someone who prefers written communication to enable more time to digest the information? Or do they prefer a simple phone call or video call as a means to relay information? Tailoring your ways of working to deliver an optimal strategy for a customer, offers benefits to both parties.

Strong relationships with customers can be developed through the following key themes:

  • Clear Communication - Clear communication is vital for trust because it ensures customers understand what to expect, what our ways of working are, and any potential issues. When expectations are clear and met, trust naturally grows.

  • Shared Values - Having shared values creates a sense of alignment between us and our customers. This creates a foundation of mutual understanding and respect, which enables increased confidence in our decision-making and actions taken on our customers' behalf.

  • Shared Goals and Objectives - Mutual success is a common characteristic that enhances the relationship between Insider Pro and our customers. When both parties are working towards common goals, such as hitting specific milestones, this fosters collaboration and transparency.

  • Confidence to challenge each other constructively - The ability to challenge each other within a customer relationship is something that requires much consideration. Ensuring that the challenge is made in a way that is constructive and makes the customer feel empowered, is critical. Challenging a customer with accompanying data to support your challenge can prove particularly impactful. At Insider Pro we are sometimes met with an initial reluctance to change, but if challenged with data or evidence that clearly supports a change, this helps to empower our customers to act upon our proposals. This is always a two-way relationship, and having a customer that challenges our ways of thinking too, can enable a deeper dive into a specific area.

When the four themes discussed above are implemented within a structured framework, the results will speak for themselves. Great results are a product of great relationships, and our team at Insider Pro has experienced this first-hand!

Download 11 ways to reduce profit by 20%


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Topics: Disruptive Procurement, Procurement People, Procurement Consultancy, Our Team

A Virtual Christmas - Team Spirit in Action

Posted by Jeremy Bowley

If 2020 has taught us one thing, it's the importance of team spirit.  And Insider Pro demonstrated this clearly at our Christmas jumper charity event last week.  Since March, everyone has been forced into a position of uncertainty and isolation and being part of a team has become even more important.  It was critical to decide quickly on the best ways to hold the team together, communicate, connect and maintain important relationships. 

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Topics: Best Practice, Our Team

What does it take to create £3m enterprise value in a year?

Posted by Mike Dunlop


It has been 1 year since I joined Insider Pro Ltd and I can safely say it has been the best decision of my career so far.

I remember receiving advice from colleagues, my professional network and family that it would be unwise to give up a secure senior position in a large blue chip corporation and move to a boutique consultancy. Yet here I am today with a huge smile on my face due to my current lifestyle and my achievements to date.

£3m impact to my customers within the first year is more than I could ever have imagined and I didn’t have to reach ‘burn out’ to achieve it!

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Topics: Our Team, Enterprise Value

Working at Insider Pro - what's different?

Posted by Darin Crosby

I joined Insider Pro a few months ago, and was reflecting on my time here.  This is a very different type of consultancy practice and I'd like to share my thoughts with you:

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Topics: Our Team

Insiders at work

Posted by Jeremy Bowley

30 days after joining us, I asked our latest recruit how she feels about working for Insider Pro:

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Topics: Our Team

Working at InsiderPro - the ultimate sense of achievement

Posted by Ally Ryles

Having held a senior position in a multi-billion pound business for 10 years I never thought I would ever return to business after children to work in a small procurement consultancy still in the infancy of its development.

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Topics: Our Team