Royal Mail makes top 125 in procurement excellence survey

8 July 2010

8 July 2010 | Angeline Albert

Royal Mail's procurement function has been named as performing in the 'top quartile' of 500 firms from around the world, according to a procurement benchmarking survey.

AT Kearney's Assessment of Excellence in Procurement (AEP) benchmarking service has placed Royal Mail in the top 125 companies of 500, based on a survey completed in 2009.

As reported in SM, it has already reached a 2006 target of saving £300 million in three years. Savings were achieved though better category management, greater visibility and improved control of spending. Stakeholders were brought into the process through business unit sourcing councils.

Royal Mail was at the bottom of the AEP survey just three years ago but measures adopted by the organisation since include the creation of an in-house CIPS programme to develop staff. The company has run a corporate award scheme at advanced practitioner level. Two courses, launched in January and March 2009, led to 23 staff becoming CIPS members, five of whom achieved distinctions.

Over 18 months Royal Mail contributed 16 days’ training during work time and supported each student through a work-based project. Royal Mail senior procurement manager and CIPS fellow Helen Wilber led the course.

Kath Harmeston, Royal Mail Group’s procurement, facilities management and property director, who took up the post in July 2009, said: “I was not at Royal Mail when this programme was initiated but I am proud to have led the team during the concluding stages. My focus now is on developing further the skill base and investing in the team and developing more advanced procurement models in revenue generation and demand management.”

The initial target was set by former head of purchasing Ninian Wilson and was designed to transform Royal Mail procurement into one of the top three procurement departments in Europe in three years. As SM reported in November, ongoing strike action at Royal Mail delayed the procurement team assessing whether it is one of the best in Europe.

Wolfgang Steck of AT Kearney said: “Royal Mail was one of the most improved procurement organisations placing them in the upper quartile in our AEP. The team is particularly strong on organisational alignment, with a board-level director and a strong mandate across third-party spend.”

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