Buying's profile grows at Ofcom

2 August 2009

03 August 2009 | Jake Kanter

Media regulator Ofcom has overhauled its procurement and secured savings of £1 million as part of a transformation project.

After joining the organisation last year, head of procurement Simon Gray has moved Ofcom's purchasing from being "highly reactive and overly administrative," to "more aligned" with business objectives.

The department has boosted engagement with internal stakeholders, introduced category management and focused its resources on higher value areas of spend, including facilities and IT.

Procurement found 90 per cent of acquisitions were made with 10 per cent of suppliers and has reduced vendor numbers from 14,000 to 950.

The team has also simplified and improved its purchasing advice on Ofcom's internal intranet, putting in place clearer guidelines on where it should be involved in tendering. In addition, it has introduced a new e-tendering and evaluation system, freeing up the department from more administrative work.

"The way we were doing things was fairly inefficient," Gray told SM. "We were getting involved in the back end of projects and it was difficult to plan. We needed to change that and be much more proactive and visible in the organisation."

As a result, the team has secured greater control over Ofcom's £70 million annual spend and through better collaboration with stakeholders - including those managing complaints for television shows like Big Brother - tendering processes have become more strategic. The changes have helped deliver savings of about £1 million in the past six months.

In documents shown to SM, Ofcom's finance director Alastair Gilmartin Smith said: "The increased visibility of the team and seniority of the head of procurement align with the importance both I, and other members of the senior management, place on the function."


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