​​New online portal facilitates simple connections and better return for the estimated 5,000 businesses in the Mid & East Antrim

(L-R) Rose Mary Stalker, former Chair of the MTF and current Chair of Invest NI, Council Chief Executive Anne Donaghy and Councillor Gregg McKeen.

A NEW online portal aimed at simplifying the process of connecting manufacturing companies to potential suppliers operating in Northern Ireland was officially launched at the Northern Ireland Manufacturing & Supply Chain Expo at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre.

Funded by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council (MEABC) and developed by companies on the Manufacturing Task Force (MTF) , the free-to-use Northern Ireland-wide ‘BuySupplyNI’ portal will link manufacturing companies to potential suppliers operating in Northern Ireland, reducing lead times, logistics costs and ultimately leading to a better return.

Suppliers and buyers registering their details online at BuySupplyNI.com now have instant access to a wider local market.

The anticipated benefits to buyers are far-reaching across the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland, with participating firms gaining a greater ability to manage and communicate with suppliers.

Buyers could see reduced costs of sourcing materials and components and reduced lead times for delivery of finished goods through buying locally.

The portal could also bring about additional sales for local suppliers as opportunities arise due to greater audience exposure to their business.

Ultimately there are significant potential benefits for large manufacturing firms, local SME suppliers, and for the local economy, those behind the initiative say.

Councillor Gregg McKeen, Chair of MEABC’s Economic Growth and Tourism Committee commented: “To maximise the value derived from BuySupplyNI, the portal really needs the support of buyers and suppliers within the manufacturing sector throughout Northern Ireland.

“Registering your details at www.buysupplyni.com will only take a few moments and the potential benefits from doing so are significant.

“We believe BuySupplyNI will take some of the complications out of the buying process and simplify the process of supplying within manufacturing through the direct links which can be established.”

Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive of MEABC and Chair of the Manufacturing Task Force, explained: “According to an economic analysis by Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, as little as a one percent increase in local purchases by large manufacturing companies could increase GVA in the NI supply chain by c£590m over the next 15 years.

“The BuySupplyNI.com portal offers a simple and easy means to make these connections.”

She added: “Growing the economy is our number one strategic priority and BuySupplyNI is a further example of MEABC leading the way in driving and supporting local sectoral growth – not only within our own borough, but across Northern Ireland.

“With 4,950 businesses in Mid and East Antrim, we have sectoral strengths in manufacturing, engineering and agri-food and are committed to supporting their business success in any way we can.

“The BuySupplyNI portal will be a key driver for the manufacturing sector especially, streamlining the supply chain process for buyers and suppliers alike.”

BuySupplyNI will enable buyers to search for local suppliers of the various components needed, putting the buyer company and their product needs in front of a wide range of suppliers.

Buyers will also be able to improve procurement speed and efficiency, build relationships, create supply opportunities, and save time and money whilst increasing their audience exposure.

Suppliers, meanwhile, will have the ability to promote the company and showcase their product range directly to a wide range of potential buyers in the manufacturing sector.

Since buyers using the portal will have an appetite to ‘buy local’, suppliers will make better connections to sell and grow their business ultimately increasing sales.

Additionally, supplier companies will have the opportunity to develop their capabilities through interactions with design engineers and other experts from buyer companies.

Rose Mary Stalker, former Chair of the MTF and current Chair of Invest NI, added: “I am delighted to welcome the launch of the BuySupplyNI portal to connect local suppliers to large manufacturing companies throughout Northern Ireland.

“It is a tremendous example of industry-led collaboration between companies, councils and colleges which will strengthen local supply chains and identify gaps in capability for which innovative local responses can be developed.

“I would strongly encourage all manufacturers to register on the site and begin to make connections which will benefit buyers and sellers alike.

“I would also thank MEA for sponsoring this cross-council initiative and encourage those councils who have not yet engaged to do so.”

Get involved, register your details and make the connections to buy and supply in NI today, visit www.buysupplyni.com to get started.

Company buy-in is vital, for more information contact BuySupplyNI@midandeastantrim.gov.ukor Tel: 028 2563 3590.

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