National Highlights | January – March 2019

300 million reasons to keep it local

Three-Hundred-Million.

It’s a big number, and for the Local Buying Program, it is a VERY big deal!

In March 2019, the Local Buying Program reached the milestone of $300 million in approved spend. That is $300 million in transactional business between BHP and local businesses throughout the country – in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

It’s a lot of country to cover for an organisation which started out covering only the Central Highlands and Isaac regions in Queensland, with two people only seven years ago. But as the first C-Res employees Tracey Cuttriss-Smith and Debbie Porter would tell you, every bit of hard work has been more than worth it.

From those humble beginnings, with one part-time community development superviser, out in Central Queensland, and a program supervisor in Mackay, C-Res has grown to adapt to the rapid pace set by the Local Buying Program becoming a multi-million-dollar, influential SME. To date, almost $320 million (at last count) had been injected back into local economies. C-Res now provides essential business support to more than 1,300 small local businesses across the BHP Minerals Australia assets’ footprint.

The Community Development Supervisor who passionately embarked on a journey to make a difference in her community is now the C-Res Chief Executive Officer. The original team of two – both of whom are still on board – has rapidly grown to a team of 19. And that number is soon to be well in the 20s; that is how fast C-Res and the Local Buying Program are growing!

“Once upon a time, we would see 30 to 40 work instructions (WI) added to the program in a single month, and claims paid to suppliers totalling close to $35,000,” original employee Debbie Porter said.

“In March 2019, more than 700 new WIs were created and just under $10 million in claims (which are the finished transactions between a supplier and the buyer) were processed.”

“Since we started, more than 25,000 WIs have been approved through the Local Buying Program. That’s 25,000 opportunities for small businesses to connect with BHP.”

CEO Tracey Cuttriss-Smith said the supplier database currently had 1,315 small local businesses registered and approved, with more than 2,090 BHP buyers registered with the program.

“Of course, we are proud of how far the organisation has come and what we have achieved,” Ms Cuttriss-Smith said.

“But our success and our growth has always been about the people in our team and the communities in which we live and operate.

“Our communities in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia have embraced what C-Res and the Local Buying Program offers.

“It’s about connection, it’s about supporting business people giving it a go in the regions BHP operates.”

Ms Cuttriss-Smith said the organisation had community, and a sense of social responsibility, at its heart.

It is that which saw the emergence of the Local Buying Foundation in Queensland and then New South Wales, which provided a funding avenue for business-related development opportunities.

“We are committed to our communities, and we are all about connecting the businesses and individuals therein with every opportunity that presents.

“That is the focus of everything we do.”

It’s a safe assumption that it is also one of the biggest reasons for C-Res’ growth and success.

To learn more about the C-Res journey, the milestones reached and the partnership between C-Res and BHP, click here.


National LBP Highlights

Nationwide highlights – 1 July 2018 to 31 March 2019:

  • $80,365,960 – Approved spend to local suppliers
  • 5,841 – Approved work opportunities created by BHP employees
  • 1,314 – Businesses approved to supply via the LBP
  • 17.1 – Day average payment period from receipt of invoice

Nationwide highlights since inception 2012:

  • $311,388,814 – Approved spend to local suppliers
  • 25,131 – Approved work opportunities created by BHP employees
  • 13.8 – Day average payment period from receipt of invoice

See National financial year to date results here.


It’s all about the right connection:
An update from C-Res CEO, Tracey Cuttriss-Smith

This quarter, BHP achieved another major milestone, with its Local Buying Program achieving $300,000,000 in approved spend to local regional businesses.

From humble beginnings in 2012, with a strategic partnership between C-Res and BMA to deliver the program to six communities in Central Queensland, the Local Buying Program – or LBP, as we call it – has grown and expanded throughout Australia, with BMA and BMC in Qld, Mt Arthur Coal in NSW, Olympic Dam in SA and Iron Ore in the Pilbara.

While we have seen approved spend to local businesses reach more than $300,000,000, the intent of the program has never wavered, and we have stayed true to the same vision and core values we started out with seven years ago.

We continue to provide opportunities to small local businesses in the regions BHP operates and ensure those businesses are provided with the assistance needed to supply to Australia’s largest business.

Apart from providing a platform and service for BHP, to more easily engage with local businesses, C-Res is also very proud that our payment terms, of 21 days of receipt of invoice, is still embedded in the program with an average payment time of 15 days. This is critical for small businesses, and something we are very proud of.

The program’s success has also ensured the success of the Local Buying Foundations in Queensland and New South Wales. These foundations are critical elements of the program, providing opportunities for regional businesses to develop their capability and capacity and, in turn, build stronger business communities. In Queensland alone, more than $3.5M in funds have been provided to the foundation, with more than $2.5M awarded to activities directly impacting all local businesses.

I am personally looking forward to the next chapter of the program, as our partnership with BHP and our small businesses goes from strength to strength.

We are truly grateful for the support and commitment of BHP and our local businesses who believe in our mission to work together to build sustainable communities.


New appointment sends just the right message

There is nothing like doing a job you really believe in.

It is that belief in C-Res, The Local Buying Program and Local Buying Foundation, that attracted newly-appointed national marketing and communications manager, Meredith Papas to the role.

Meredith loves the regions. She is a strong believer in supporting local businesses and communities and has built her career on giving regional, rural and remote communities, and the people therein, a chance to be heard.

Starting in the role in March, Meredith has had the chance to work with skilled communications officer Alison Noon, business development advisors, and C-Res leaders to develop strategies to strengthen the Local Buying Program’s profile and celebrate the many successes.

With more than 25 years’ experience in regional business – as a journalist, editor and executive with one of Asia-Pacific’s biggest newspaper companies, a business owner, national communications manager, professional writer, co-founder of podcast Project Leap, and community/business strategist – Meredith has a high degree of empathy with the rural, regional and remote setting.

Many years spent in mining and resource towns has given her an appreciation for just how important it is to support local businesses.

“I was born and raised in Mackay, both of my kids were born here, and my partner is a Mackay boy as well,” Ms Papas said.

“Regional, rural and remote Australia is the lifeblood of our economy and it’s organisations like C-Res and BHP who are making sure these communities are heard and advocated for.”

“That’s what makes this such a meaningful role for me.”


Website upgrade supports buyers and suppliers

An upgrade to the Local Buying Program website was released in February.  This was to ensure the Local Buying Program continued to accommodate future growth and the needs of both BHP and local business engaged in the LBP across its Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia footprints.

As is so often the case with major technology upgrades, there have been some teething issues which have made their presence known- but we are working through these.

We appreciate the patience of everyone concerned as we have worked through them with our web designers.

The new functionalities – such as streamlined email communication, dual work instruction ownership, and supplier ability to request a variation – were developed based on your feedback and have been well received.

So, to our buyers and our suppliers: Thank you! We look forward to continuing to improve the platform, to meet your needs.

Read more about new functions for buyers and suppliers:

Website Upgrade Overview – Buyer

Website Upgrade Overview – Supplier

Share your improvement ideas: info@localbuying.com.au.

Image: Sarah Humphries (Team Leader – Account Services, C-Res).


See what is happening around Australia with LBP

Local Buying Program Highlights (January – March 2019) and Financial Year to Date Summaries: