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Excellence in Advice and Project Management at Northwards Housing

Northwards Housing is a not-for-profit organisation which manages around 12,500 City Council homes across North Manchester. After deciding to change copy and print suppliers, Steve Welsh, IT Manager, wanted to find a reliable company and made the switch to an independent supplier. He recently told us how he’s found this process and working with Arena Group.

Northwards Housing logo

“When we came to the end of the contract with our previous supplier, I spoke to PfH. I didn’t want to go directly with a manufacturer, so I chose 3 independent suppliers to consider.”

The Procurement for Housing framework (PfH) is one of the many frameworks Arena work with, ensuring the whole purchasing process for the customer is more streamlined, given the due diligence has already been done.

Steve gained confidence from Arena’s proven track record of working with other housing providers.

“What really swung it for Arena was the reference sites I spoke to. To be honest, all the suppliers were coming back with similar sorts of machines. The pricing initially caught our eye, but it doesn’t just come down to that. I wanted to know how problems are dealt with, as when everything is working fine, everything is brilliant, but as soon as you’ve got a problem you find out how people really work. All of the references for Arena came back glowing and singing your praises.”

Moving to a new supplier can be a daunting process. Arena understand this and ensure each customer has the right support in place with a Professional Services team who provide expert and experienced advice and project manage closely.

“The transition was easy. Once everything is signed and sealed it was a case of arranging when we want them delivering. We had a couple of meetings with our Project Manager who came to see me and went through the whole process with me, gave me the information I needed, then things were delivered as and when they said they were going to be.”

“Having a Project Manager there does help to smooth the process out. You know you’ve got someone there who you can get hold of, but we didn’t really have any problems at all.”

Arena’s support and expertise has enabled Steve to build trust and confidence in Arena. An example was when the devices were first being tested. “An engineer sat down with one of my team and went through everything to do with the set up. It would have been a lot harder without him. Nothing was a problem for him. He came back to us straightaway to sort any little niggles, but there weren’t many to be fair.”

Northwards Housing uses Papercut on its devices. Steve commented: “Managed print has saved us a fortune, both financially and in terms of doing our bit for the environment. We mainly use it for secure release and we have reports so all printing can be charged to the right internal department.”

Working with Arena has been a positive change for Steve. When asked if Arena has the qualities of a supplier he wants to work with he replied: “Yes definitely. They keep in touch with me and arrange regular catch-up meetings. If I have any queries, I know the account manager will sort them for me.”

"Without a shadow of a doubt, Arena has delivered on what was promised at the start. Everything was really easy to understand and the support I was given helped the whole process. I’d definitely recommend them."

– Steve Welsh, IT Manager

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