28 October 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
Universal Music Group scooped the top prize in the CIPS Supply Management Awards 2005.
The music manufacturer, distributor and record sales company was presented with the overall award for purchasing by comedian Rob Brydon at the gala dinner last night in London.
The firm, which also won the best cross-functional teamwork award, was commended by judges who said it was the first company to "push boundaries" to move into areas of the business where procurement is not normally welcome.
The award recognised how the director of creative services set up a multi-disciplinary team, with the group purchasing department, to review tour support costs.
The aim was to standardise commercial practices between labels and artist management - who previously adopted different policies - create transparency and trust and improve efficiency and costs.
Bob Brimson, directive of creative services, said: "We created a team that worked in secrecy for six months because we knew we were taking on a service industry that had seen off every attempt at change for 30 years."
Success on this project led the purchasing department to tackle previously untouched areas of spend such as artist-related costs, including hair, make-up, stylists and choreography, where they also made inroads which resulted in savings.
Paul Brown, senior sourcing consultant, said: "Now others ask for our involvement, which from a procurement point of view is the Holy Grail."
Jane Gibbs, CIPS president and chair of the judges, said: "This is an area where procurement is not normally "allowed" in. This entry was high in innovation, pushing boundaries and driving out bad practice."
Universal Music Group was one of 10 organisations to collect a prize in front of more than 900 guests at the largest-ever CIPS Supply Management Awards event at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
The awards, in association with Ariba were sponsored by Atos Consulting, Capgemini, Kellysearch.com, SAP and Hays Purchasing. Profiles of all the winners will appear in the next issue of SM.