Sara Lee Launches One of the First Cross-Border Comprehensive e-Procurement Initiatives in Europe and will outsource up to US$800 million in purchases to ICG Commerce

ICG Commerce, a leading procurement services provider, and three European divisions of Sara Lee Corporation (NYSE: SLE) announced yesterday that ICG Commerce has been officially selected by Sara Lee to deliver pan-European comprehensive e-procurement services to help the company drive cost reduction and improve productivity.

ICG Commerce will be used to help each Sara Lee Division purchase indirect goods and services better by outsourcing their procurement to ICG Commerce, leveraging ICG Commerce’s comprehensive e-procurement services and solutions — including category outsourcing, hosted auctions, spot buy services, e-catalogs and online programs. The initial agreement calls for a launch in three divisions of Sara Lee’s European operations — Sara Lee/Douwe Egberts, Sara Lee Meats, and Sara Lee Branded Apparel.

As part of the agreement, ICG Commerce’s comprehensive e-procurement services will be used by Sara Lee’s divisions to electronically pool and aggregate purchasing with other companies across Europe and together, tap common suppliers across multiple countries to secure optimal pricing on indirect and direct goods and services. Sara Lee’s European divisions will deploy the cross-border e-procurement initiative across the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain.

“Sara Lee is one of the first to deploy such a pan-European exchange and secure aggregated pricing. We view this as a significant step for Sara Lee and the European e-commerce market,” said Frank van den Heuvel, Purchasing and Outsourcing Director for Sara Lee Europe.

Under the initial agreement, ICG Commerce will manage US$170 million of indirect purchases. Over the next 1 1/2 years, Sara Lee’s European divisions intend to outsource nearly 80% of its purchases, or US$800 million, to ICG Commerce.

Sara Lee European divisions view the key benefit of outsourcing their purchasing to ICG Commerce to be:

  • Rapid access to better priced indirect goods to drive immediate, maximum savings, while maintaining supplier relationships in other countries
  • Freedom for the divisions to focus on more strategic purchasing and activities by allowing ICG Commerce to manage all their indirect purchasing

“E-procurement is critical to Sara Lee’s continued success and pivotal to our achieving the significant savings our business requires,” said Mr. Heuvel. “We expect to achieve savings and improve efficiencies across multiple points of our procurement cycle which directly impact our bottom line.”

Initially, the Sara Lee divisions will use ICG Commerce to make online purchase transactions, access e-catalogs reflecting aggregated pricing, and tap common suppliers across borders – all essential components of IGC Commerce’s e-procurement and demand aggregation model which is already deployed in the United States.

“ICG Commerce’s goal is simple, to enable Sara Lee to increase productivity and improve margins,” said Paul Matthews, president of Outsourcing for ICG Commerce. “Companies like Sara Lee have complex supply-chain requirements that demand the most advanced technology and sourcing expertise to maximize the savings on their purchases. Their selection of ICG Commerce only further validates our comprehensive approach and ability to enable very large companies to improve their bottomlines.”

US-based ICG Commerce is a Procurement Services Provider that combines advanced Web-based technologies, end-to-end eSourcing services, and over 500 sourcing experts to enable companies worldwide to achieve maximum e-procurement savings.

Initially, ICG Commerce will manage the e- procurement of Sara Lee’s European operations in the following categories:

  • Couriers
  • Electric Utilities
  • Leased Cars
  • Management Advisory Services
  • Office Equipment
  • Office Machinery
  • Office Supplies
  • Packaging Materials & Supplies
  • Printed Materials
  • Road Cargo Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • Temporary Labor
  • Travel Facilitation (Air Travel, Hotels & Lodging)
  • Sales/Business Promotion Materials

About Sara Lee:

Sara Lee Corporation ( is a global branded consumer packaged goods company with approximately $17.5 billion in annual revenues. With headquarters in Chicago, Sara Lee has operations in more than 40 countries and markets branded products in more than 170 nations. Its leading brands include Sara Lee, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Kiwi, Hanes and Playtex. Sara Lee’s common stock is listed under the symbol SLE on the New York, Chicago and Pacific Stock Exchanges. The stock also is traded in London and Amsterdam, on the Swiss Exchange and on the Paris Bourse. Options are traded on the American Stock Exchange.

About ICG Commerce:

ICG Commerce is the world’s first comprehensive online procurement services provider for businesses. Leveraging its wealth of supply chain management, purchasing and strategic sourcing expertise across multiple industry groups, ICG Commerce delivers comprehensive, tailored services built around a flexible, Internet-based platform. ICG Commerce can effect the entire spectrum of purchasing strategies, including aggregated buys, portals and exchanges, hosted auctions, eRFQs/eRFPs, spot buys and catalog purchases. The company is uniquely positioned to help customers streamline all of their procurement decisions and processes and to effect substantial savings and efficiencies. ICG Commerce is a member of the Internet Capital Group (Nasdaq: ICGE) network of partner companies, and is based in Jenkintown, Pa. Its Web site address is