• DBOP: Bishops Beds

    DBOP: Bishops Beds

    Find out how the Durham Business Opportunities Programme helped Bishops Beds tender for and retain a four-year contract worth over £5 million with the North East Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC).

    Bishop Beds have supplied quality beds and mattresses to customers across the UK from their Peterlee headquarters for over 17 years. The family-run firm started out in the retail sector, but quickly expanded when Operations Manager Kelly Vinnicombe bid for and won a contract to manufacture and supply mattresses to universities across the UK completely changing the direction of the company.

    In recent years the requirements to win public sector work has changed dramatically with a huge emphasis on factors including sustainability, compliance, social value and environmental considerations.

    The Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) Routes to Contract Success programme is designed to help businesses bid for and win more public and private sector contracts. This programme of support is delivered by bid writing experts B2B North, who have over 40 years of experience helping their clients win more than £418 million in contract value. The programme has been a huge success, between 2016 – 2019 the support delivered has helped businesses win in excess of £10m in contract value.

    Support for Bishops Beds from the Durham Business Opportunities Programme

    After meeting B2B’s programme delivery lead Garry Stone at a DBOP event Bishops Beds Kelly Vinnicombe sought support to write a bid to retain a contract with the North East Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC).  Kelly expands: “Garry’s advice was absolutely crucial in us retaining our contract with NEUPC for another 4 years. The win means that means Bishops Beds, who have previously enjoyed an 85% share of the national supply of mattresses have maintained their position on the framework which has a further spend of up to £5million.”

    The DBOP programme is a business support initiative, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) helping County Durham businesses spot opportunities for sustainable growth. DBOP Business Engagement Officer Guy Bashford has been working with Bishops Beds providing guidance to help Bishop Beds achieve their objectives and overcome barriers to growth. One of those barriers was the lack of storage space within their current premises. That’s when Guy introduced the company to the Durham Business Recovery Grant, a £5m fund to help businesses recover from the effects of Covid-19.

    The company have used the money to build a mezzanine floor to increase the floor space by 4,000 sq ft which enables them to buy in bulk, increase efficiency, increase margins and improve costs they can then pass on to customers.

    Guy said: “Part of my role is to listen to the needs of businesses in East Durham and Durham City, help them to understand the best support for their business as well as spotting opportunities for growth. I appreciate businesses are very busy, I have to work to their schedule, not mine and that’s fine. I find it extremely rewarding to work with businesses like Bishops Beds and to play some small part in helping a small family firm, succeed.”

    Future plans

    Bishops Beds are looking for larger premises for their expanding business, they are hoping to take on more staff and be more involved with charitable projects throughout the local community. The business has a real drive to develop products that are more sustainable as well as to improve manufacturing processes to make them more sustainable and cut down on carbon emissions and waste.

    Kelly concluded: “The support from the DBOP programme has been amazing and without a doubt helped our business win new work. My advice for businesses unsure about whether to engage with the DBOP programme would be to absolutely do it. If it hadn’t been for Guy’s persistence and patience we would have missed out on so much. Not only have we benefitted from funding, but we’ve benefited hugely from the advice and support and from someone who knows the business support landscape inside out. We had no idea the support was there, and it really has changed the outlook for our business.”