3o is an international procurement services company with offices in the UK, China and Australia and associates in Malaysia. We help organisations overcome the challenges and risks associated with sourcing in Asia through our end-to-end procurement service capability.

Our service-focused team aims to deliver sustainable value to our customers through achieving the lowest total acquisition cost via our network of suppliers and by aggregating throughout the supply chain.


3o is an international procurement services company working with customers to create, implement and manage opportunities to deliver sustainable competitive advantage through achieving the lowest total acquisition cost.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage:

»  Understanding and responding to supply markets
»  Profit upside from reduced total acquisition cost
»  Best fit suppliers

»  Strong relationships at all levels
»  Increased focus on product quality and development
»  Access to expertise with proven delivery capability

We specialise in sourcing direct categories of expenditure and help customers manage the risks associated with sourcing from Asia.

Challenges and Risks:

»  Accessing the supply market
»  Benchmarking – regional and global
»  Managing an off-shore supplier base
»  Managing risk – price erosion and cost escalation

»  Communicating specifications
»  Managing and maintaining quality standards
»  Identifying and removing inefficiencies
»  Ensuring shipments are scheduled and arrive on time


3o successfully creates, implements and manages innovative procurement and supply chain solutions delivering a unique blend of strategic scale and balanced sourcing for and on behalf of our customers. Our service-focused professional team prides itself on delivering an end-to-end procurement service tailored to the needs of our customers.  Our ‘on the ground’ presence enables 3o to be flexible to the varying and changing needs of our customers.

Our Services:
•  Procurement
•  Project Management
•  Value Management
•  Quality
•  Scheduling and Logistics


In today’s competitive global market place, organisations are increasingly under pressure to control operating costs, against a backdrop of rising costs and constant pressure from customers to reduce prices.

Asia offers vast opportunities to source or manufacture virtually any product a customer may require with significant cost differentials.  However, the legal, political and economic environment, along with communication barriers, cultural differences and sheer distance from Western Europe all combine to make sourcing a significant challenge.

With offices in the UK, Australia and China and associates in Malaysia, 3o has experience of helping organisations overcome these challenges and risks.  3o provide an end to end procurement service with a sourcing capability that extends right across Asia.  Our service focused team comprises procurement, engineering, quality, scheduling and logistics professionals.

Our sourcing capability:

•  China
•  India
•  Vietnam

•  Malaysia
•  Thailand
•  Indonesia

In Guangzhou, China our team has the local knowledge, language capability (multi-lingual including local dialects) and cultural awareness to ensure we create, implement and manage effective customer supply chains.  We hold relationships with numerous suppliers and manage the information flow, whilst ensuring appropriate quality standards at a fraction of the cost of having to support such a team from the buyer’s own resources.

Our relationships with local government, access to sponsored directories and networks enables 3o customers to tap into a supply market not generally available to the export market. 3o has empathy with local suppliers and can ensure there are no misunderstandings due to language and cultural differences. We manage, on behalf of customers, all regulations and ‘red tape’, therefore mitigating the risk to our customers.

Our UK and Australian end of the supply chain is managed by 3o’s procurement and engineering specialists, who understand the needs of UK, European and Australian organisations and provide interfaces between customers and Asian suppliers.  3o operate as an extension of customer procurement teams, enabling customers to enjoy the substantial lower cost base of Asian suppliers, without having to make the significant investment of setting up and establishing a local team.

3o deploy a consistent procurement approach to the products and services we source for our customers.  Our procurement team have undertaken extensive training in Category and Supplier Management to ensure a consistent approach to sourcing and relationship management.


Project Management is a key service offering of 3o and commences when, following an initial discussion, there is a shared recognition that 3o and the customer can work together and there is an opportunity to create benefit.

Typically there follows a Due Diligence process whereby 3o Project Management seek to understand the customer’s current supply strategies and tactics used to deliver the current steady state supply chain performance.  We will also conduct detailed analysis of the existing cost base and the value that is delivered to the business using current methods.  This enables 3o to present a clear supply strategy tailored to your needs, detailing how value can be delivered in the following areas:

•  Purchase price
•  Total acquisition cost
•  Services levels
•  New product development

•   Logistics and supply chain performance
•  Quality performance
•  KPI’s

The Project Management team is responsible for managing all aspects of the due diligence process and subsequent implementation and ongoing management of the agreed supply chain strategy. The team manages interfaces between the customer and supplier(s) including:

•  Engineering specification
•  Translations and communication
•  Supplier visits
•  Sample manufacture
• Quality management processes

•  Progress and KPI reporting
•  Scheduling and logistics
•  6 Sigma and continuous improvement
•  Supplier management


Value Management is an analytical process used by 3o to identify improvement opportunities in the supply of steady state materials for our customers.  It is fundamentally important for 3o to be able to offer our customers sustainable competitive advantage by producing positive price variance and improving supply chain effectiveness.  In today’s challenging economic environment detailed cost management is vitally important to achieve this.  Value management complements and supports both strategic and tactical procurement processes.

The process starts when any new item is first quoted by our suppliers.  We require our suppliers to provide detailed cost breakdowns of all costs incurred in the manufacture and supply of products.  Other of our analytical processes include:


•  Cost breakdown
•  Total cost of supply
•  Cost driver analysis
•  Indexation

•  Manufacturing flow process analysis
•  Product and process value analysis/ engineering

Frequently buyers experience an erosion of negotiated price positions caused by changing circumstances in the manufacture and supply of products. The Value Management processes enable us to conduct a detailed and analytical review of all of the manufacturing and supply processes. The processes can also be extended to include analysis of the product specifications and how they associate to customer requirements and cost. Employing these processes enables 3o to identify improvement opportunities and establish continuous improvement programmes.

Value Management Helps Avoid Supply Pitfalls

•  Price erosion
•  Input cost escalation
•  Specification assumptions
•  Errant suppliers

•  Process inefficiencies
•  Schedule failure
•  Defective supply

3o’s approach to value management supports our ongoing delivery of sustainable competitive advantage to our customers. 


Ensuring capable quality delivery is fundamental to success. Determining suppliers’ capabilities to meet customers’ requirements is a foundation to ensuring this success. Frequently it is not easy for overseas buyers to represent themselves fully when buying materials from off-shore. 3o fills this gap with its quality management team that works with our customers as an extension of our customers’ in-house quality management teams.

It has been our observation that when buyers have bad experiences buying from off-shore it can frequently be attributed to a lack of rigour in implementing effective quality management systems with new suppliers that are: too far away to easily work with, speak a different language, don’t understand the specification or product application.

At onset 3o works with its customers to clearly define their requirements and ensure they are understood. Typically this involves a detailed specification of products that would include the following engineering information:

Engineering Specification:

•  Samples
•  Drawings (including critical dimensions)
•  Standards and legislative requirements
•  Material specifications
•  Process and finish specifications

•  Packing specifications
•  Functional testing requirements
• Mating parts
• Visual standards

All aspects of the specification are translated into the suppliers’ local language to enable them to understand the requirements without the need for supposition or error in judgement.

All of 3o’s suppliers are required to pass our Supplier Quality Assessment. This assessment includes a number of qualitative and quantitative criteria that look at a supplier’s quality systems as well as other fundamental components of their business process. This assessment is used in conjunction with our customer’s own assessment requirements.

Working with our customers and suppliers, we establish a detailed list of problems that are known to occur during a product’s manufacture. This information is used to establish a list of critical, major and minor potential defects that, used in conjunction with agreed AQL levels, create the supplier Quality Control Plans. 3o’s quality team and our suppliers review the output from Quality Control Plans during and after products’ manufacture.

3o’s quality management processes are agreed with our customers to ensure we are able to act in their best interests at all times.


•  SQA – supplier quality assessment
•  FMEA – failure mode and effect analysis
•  Pilot sample audit
•  QCP – quality control plans

•  Unannounced process and product audit
•  Pre-shipment inspection
•  QRF – quality response forms

During sample manufacture and prior to production, 3o works with suppliers to undertake conformance testing to certify product conformity to the required standards.

Whilst it is the ambition of all buyers to achieve zero defects, it is frequently not a reality. 3o aims to work with its suppliers to improve all aspects of supplier performance. 3o uses a Quality Response Form to document defect root causes and necessary corrective and preventative actions to ensure problems do not reoccur. We also work with suppliers to manage the process and corresponding actions when dealing with non-conforming products that have entered the supply chain.

3o’s customer base has varied levels of performance requirements and we engage suppliers who can meet or exceed our customers’ requirements. Our supplier quality assessment program grades suppliers’ ongoing performance and our ethos is one of continuous improvement.


Global procurement inevitably has a component of scheduling and logistics involved in the supply chain. Frequently the cost of logistics can consume the benefit of sourcing low cost products and materials. In an era that is progressively more affected by increasing fuel prices (Fuel Surcharges and Bunker Adjustment Factor – BAF) and adverse affects of currency (Currency Adjustment Factor – CAF), managing the cost of logistics is very important.

3o’s clients rely on us being able to manage this part of the supply chain for them too, and delivering increased value from our activities.

Our clients have varying logistics requirements that extend from small volume shipments from multiple suppliers to large volume shipments from single suppliers. There are various difficulties that can be faced at each stage of the process.

Managing the scheduling of orders with suppliers in different time zones that speak different languages and have different values and cultures can prove difficult within an extended supply chain. To address this, 3o has an international team of employees that operate in the regions we source from. This team is able to consolidate the shipments for multiple clients and from multiple suppliers into the lowest common freight denominator. We manage COTD (Complete On Time Delivery) for our clients ensuring suppliers’ production schedules fulfil the delivery requirements of our customers and consolidate these deliveries into freight movements.

In this way we are able to ensure all our freight movements minimise the cost of logistics, in a way that individually our clients would be unable to do by themselves. In some instances, the cost of logistics can be in excess of 20% of the total DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) cost. Therefore, if containers are dispatched only half full this cost escalates significantly and becomes a major cost driver that can make global procurement cost-ineffective.


•  Scheduling
•  Air freight
•  LCL – loose container loads
•  FCL – full container loads

•  De-stuffing containers
•  Break bulk
•  Tariff classification / customs clearance
•  Trucking

3o works with the supply market and logistics operators to ensure we minimise our customers’ logistics costs and maximise the benefit of sourcing from Asia.


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Alternatively, please email us at enquiry@3olimited.com or call us on +44 (0)20 8468 7335.
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