18 November 2004 | Cara Whitehouse
Michael Whitby has been appointed supply chain director at airports owner BAA as it embarks on a multi-billion pound construction programme.
Whitby, who leads a team of 140 and is in charge of a £1.5 billion annual budget, said he wanted BAA's supply chain specialists to be more proactive and innovative in their contracts and supplier relations.
"Historically, buying has been quite reactive in BAA," he said.
"We must source proactively and better influence the way our internal clients acquire goods and services."
He said BAA would look at combining contracts from around the company on high-volume, low-value goods and services, and at improving back-office systems and processes.
"This will free up time and resources for our staff to look at high-level, strategic issues."
BAA will have invested more than £8 billion in construction work up to 2014 and the Terminal 5 project at Heathrow alone will take £4.2 billion of this.
Gatwick is also scheduled for an £840 million expansion by 2014.
"The biggest challenge is to get the business to recognise the supply chain as an end-to-end entity in which clients, from Heathrow and Gatwick to construction or IT departments, have a major role."
Other aims include optimising the company's investment in Oracle, exploring how best to leverage e-auctions and increasing spend transparency.
Whitby joined BAA after four and a half years as global sourcing director at news and information company Reuters. He said this had taught him the need for "a flexible approach to broad demands".