Phone giant to collaborate

13 March 2008
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13 March 2008 | Paul Snell

Carphone Warehouse is planning joint procurement projects as part of its buying strategy.

According to Graham Stapleton, group managing director of procurement and purchasing, collaborative opportunities are high on the company's agenda to continue to save money in the long-term.

Initially the group will look at teaming up with the US retailer Best Buy, with whom it already has a joint venture. And the idea could be expanded to other non-competitive companies.

"You have to be very careful who you pick to collaborate with, so for us it would be businesses we already have a joint venture with, such as Best Buy, or have had relationships with for a very long time, such as Nokia, Motorola or Sony," said Stapleton.

He added that the group was already beginning to collaborate with Best Buy on the goods-for-resale side, and there were opportunities on the indirect spend.

"I can't see why they wouldn't want to do it," he added.

And although he said it was too early to talk about scale and volume, Stapleton is convinced of the benefits. "Even if we just did Best Buy this year and collaborated on their spend, it's going to unlock enormous potential," he said.

Michael Whitby, the retailer's new group procurement director, added that the lowest level of collaboration between firms could just be sharing information.

The company will also focus more on supplier management over the next two to three years. "The next part of the journey is to start looking at a longer-term approach with preferred partners and a more strategic outlook on how we build our supply plans," said Stapleton.

"We are at a point where we can talk about category management segmentation and look at market dynamics," said Whitby. "Thinking not only about how we get a good deal, but how to think about how to manage risk, service and relationship."

This will mean selecting only one or two suppliers in certain categories of spend, and drawing up 12-18 month business plans with them. And this will mean an overall reduction in the number of the firm's suppliers. "What's for sure is that with well over 3,500 suppliers at the moment, we probably have too many," said Stapleton.


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