Saturday 20 September 2014

'Under threat from cut-price tenders'

Paul Deering

Published 10/06/2014 | 05:40

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Frank Kelly, Managing Director pictured with staff of Book Nest Library Supplies in the Cleveragh Business Centre.

The owner of a Sligo book supplier has warned his company is under threat over cut price tendering.

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The owner of a Sligo book supplier has warned his company is under threat over cut price tendering.

The concerns of Frank Kelly of Book Nest Library Supplies have been backed by Sligo Chamber.

Most of Mr Kelly's business is in supplying public libraries but local authorities are awarding tenders based on lowest price.

A recent tender for the supply of library books to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council divided between performance at 35% and discount and servicing cost at 65%.

Mr Kelly says his company, which is based at Cleveragh Business Park and employs ten people, cannot compete with such large discounts.

He said: "Only the large UK companies will be able to match these tenders. It's very worrying for SMEs like ourselves to be pitted against huge companies.

"The Government needs to have a serious look at this.

"We have been in business for upwards on 18 years, supplying public libraries and schools with books.

"The largest local authorities we have supplied are in Dublin.

"I've no objection to tendering but the weighting of 65/35 cannot be competed with.

"It leaves us exposed to the larger British companies which we are not able to compete with."

The latest tender his company submitted a bid for was for Dun Laoghaire, Fingal, South Dublin and Dublin City libraries.

"If we give a discount being sought we won't be able to make a profit.

"It does put us under threat.

"The tender has gone in but I don't know if we will get it or not.

"We also have contracts that don't run out for 18 months with Dublin City.

"We cannot understand why they are tendering these out now given there's so much time to run.

"That's a bit of a worry and I've had no reply to queries about honouring the existing contracts."

Frank added: "Supplying public libraries would be the largest part of our work.

"But it's not just in supplying the books we are involved, it's in servicing as well.

"We laminate and tag the books so that they are shelf ready when we supply them.

"Local authorities in Dublin are only looking at the price and not the service.

"We have also spent €100,000 on new technologies at our Sligo premises. It's a very worrying development

"In the UK there are only two companies left supplying libraries after they went down the same road we're going in this country."

Paul Keyes, CEO of Sligo Chamber said:

"Book Nest Library Supplies may be forced to close if it loses out on these type of tenders from local authorities."

Sligo Champion

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