04 November 2004 | Cara Whitehouse
The Boots Company has scooped the top prize at this year's CIPS Supply Management Awards.
The health and beauty retailer, which also won the most innovative project category, was presented with its overall prize for purchasing excellence at a black-tie gala dinner held at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
The accolades were awarded in recognition of the procurement team's work on Boots' retail marketing services contract, worth £90 million a year.
Procurement worked hand in hand with marketing colleagues to choose a new line-up of advertising, media buying and communications agencies, and saved £2 million in the process.
"Advertising and media is really important to Boots. It's about getting our brand credentials out to the market," said Julian Coles, director of sourcing and purchasing at the Nottingham-based company.
He told SM the procurement team did "initially face scepticism within the organisation that we were just buying at the cheapest price". But he said that a combination of excellent people skills and a total cost approach had enabled them to be successful.
The deal was struck in 2003. Boots has since made the high-profile signing of England rugby captain, Jonny Wilkinson, to front its promotional activities.
Ian Taylor, incoming CIPS president and chair of judges, said: "The Boots entry was a great combination of good strategy, project management and involvement in an important frontier for procurement.
"It gained great publicity in the marketing world at the time and is a worthy winner this year."
He added: "The impact on Boots' marketing strategy of the procurement team will encourage others to get involved in this area of spend."
Boots received its prize in front of almost 900 guests at the event, hosted by television celebrity Alistair McGowan. It triumphed over the winners of eight other team categories (see below
The awards were organised by CIPS and SM in association with Ariba and sponsored by Capgemini, Efficio, Hays Purchasing, kellysearch.com and QP Group. A case study of the Boots project and profiles of all the other winners will appear in the next issue of SM (18 November)
The Boots Company
• Best contribution to corporate responsibility: Fusion 21
• Best people development initiative: GlaxoSmithKline
• Best process improvement initiative: Barclays Bank
• Best public procurement project: HM Prison Service
• Best purchaser-supplier partnership: Gillette UK and Crown Cork & Seal
• Best purchasing initiative by a smaller organisation: Fusion 21
• Best use of technology: HJ Heinz
• Most improved purchasing operation: Metropolitan Police Service
• Most innovative project: The Boots Company
• CIPS Purchasing and Supply Management Professional of the Year:
Steve Atherton, director of procurement, Metropolitan Police Service
• CIPS Young Purchasing and Supply Management Professional of the Year (aged 30 or under)
Paul Parker, sourcing manager, international procurement, GlaxoSmithKline