Please note that questions received through our response form may be used in this FAQ section of our site.

Q. Can you please tell me the scope of services that the PPDAS framework covers?

A. The PPDAS Framework is a collaborative Framework built to support Scottish Government, Public and Third Sector organisations throughout Scotland. These services are provided to almost 100 organisations and over 3,000 end-users including Scottish Government (publishing of official documentation in multiple formats), National Services Scotland (production and distribution of prescriptions), VisitScotland (tourist guide publications), Scottish Parliament (HTML and PDF conversation, web posting and overnight production) and SEPA, amongst many others.

Specific services include;

  • Design and artwork of communications materials
  • Production and procurement of:
    • Litho Print
    • Digital Print
    • Exhibition Materials
    • Promotional Goods
  • Design and production of accessible electronic outputs:
    • HTML
    • PDF
    • eBooks
    • Microsites
    • Mobile apps
    • Digital Asset Management Tools
    • User Experience Design
    • User Testing
  • Publishing Services
  • Conversion to alternative formats (audio, BSL, EasyRead, Braille)
  • Translation Services
  • Copywriting Services
  • Warehousing and Logistics
  • Digital Archiving
  • Accessibility Consultation
  • Project Management
  • Account Management

Q. What does ‘accessible format’ mean?

A. An ‘accessible formats’ are alternatives to printed information, used by blind and partially sighted people, or others with a print impairment. These accessible formats include HTML, eBooks, large print, audio, braille, electronic text, and accessible images amongst others.

Q. What is ‘HTML’?

A. HTML is a structured way of representing a document as text, pictures, tables, graphs etc., which enables variety of devices to read the material and in particular, to take advantage of  ‘assistive technologies. HTML is quicker, easier and more widely usable/accessible than PDF, because it can be more easily manipulated.

Q. Can any type content be produced as an eBook?

A. Yes. Most published material is suitable for publishing in an eBook format. You just need to consider whether the audience you are trying to reach will have a suitable device (such as a smartphone, eReader or tablet) on which to read the Book.

Q. We are a little anxious about using the framework and not giving our local suppliers an opportunity to win business, particularly given the task that our Council currently faces in trying to grow the economy in order to reverse the trend of a declining population in our area.  We don’t want to conflict in any way with the Council’s corporate objectives.

Could you provide a breakdown of how local suppliers could be involved in the contract? Would you simply approach someone of our choice within the supply chain or would they bid for it?  Would you do an assessment of your suppliers for best value? 

A. By engaging with APS through the PPDAS framework you will get access to a flexible operating model designed to support the key objectives of any participating body.

Clearly from your communication the area of concern on this occasion is focusing on the corporate objective regarding area regeneration and the need to support for the local supply chain. The APS procurement model is flexible in terms of geographical spread. We currently support 150 SME suppliers through our procurement model. There is no geographical restriction in place and our supply chain covers most areas of Scotland.

There is no restriction in the numbers of suppliers allowed through our model and we are happy to bring on through recommendation from a participating body any supplier that meets our standard requirements.

We would also use our expertise to identify other suppliers within the area with a view of stimulating competition locally. It should be noted that this is not restricted to only print suppliers. We are happy to provide Design Services, copywriting, multimedia etc. which is again sourced locally.

The flexible nature of our model supports restricted competition for any given project to a geographical area pre-determined by the authority. Given the corporate objective on this occasion we would recommend it as a course of action for various reasons. For example, there is a clear advantage in procuring local to the delivery point in terms of carbon footprint reduction.

Where no expertise exists with the geographical area, APS would look outside the boundary for category experts to fulfil the order.

The strength of our procurement model is the suppliers themselves. We offer our PPDAS clients a sustainable route to market and provide a first in class service throughout our delivery model and our suppliers must meet this commitment.

  • We work with our suppliers to develop streamlined automated processes with a view to removing unnecessary cost.
  • We provide paper stock to our suppliers which have a positive impact regarding cash flow.
  • We offer our suppliers consultancy in the areas of ISO, health and safety and legislation change.
  • We offer our suppliers consultancy in the areas of lean manufacturing.
  • We share our expertise in colour management.

We believe that our work and support with our supply chain makes them stronger and puts them in a better position when competing in the wider market.

Q. Please confirm the time between receipt of invoice from suppliers and the date your organisation makes payment to suppliers?

A. The maximum number of days between receipt of an invoice by APS and payment of sums due to a supplier is 30 days from the receipt of a valid invoice.

Q. Please provide full details of what types of assistance are offered by APS Group (Scotland) Ltd to suppliers?

A. In recognising the crucial role played by suppliers under the APS vendor management programme we ensure that each business is properly equipped to produce the required goods and services to the exacting standards set by PPDAS. This approach has created measureable benefits to the supply chain (with a collective spend of over £17m). To help achieve this we offer assistance to suppliers in a number of ways:

We help them gain formal accreditation (e.g. ISO accreditation) in respect of environment, production and operational matters and we also help streamline processes to help them achieve improved output. In return APS provides timely payment of invoices and we benefit from improved operational efficiencies.

As part of our sustainable procurement initiative, annual contract reviews are held with all key suppliers providing feedback on quality, compliance, services and market innovation.

We work specifically and extensively with our supplier partners by providing advice and input into business related matters such as:

  • Cost models
  • Quality assurance
  • Marketing
  • Customer service relationship
  • Practical Support

APS is able to buy stock (paper) for use by APS and by suppliers. This purchase is funded by APS (not the supplier) thereby helping improve cash flow across the supply chain of SME printing businesses in Scotland.

For major activities which can, potentially, involve significant expenditure for a customer, APS Group’s own procurement system SimplyTender provides a fast, efficient and paperless form of tendering across our list of supplier partners. It has been shown to assist SME businesses manage quotations. So, overall, APS plays a significant role in improving the quality of the supply chain by:

  • Engaging effectively with suppliers
  • Providing training and expertise
  • Reducing operating costs for suppliers