Sweet success for winners

13 September 2010

14 September 2010 | Angeline Albert

Premier Foods scooped the top prize in the CIPS Supply Management Awards 2010.

The food giant won the overall award for procurement and supply chain excellence, presented by TV impressionist Rory Bremner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 8 September.

The food producer’s procurement team won the Best Supplier Relationship Management category for its dealings with British Sugar, and was praised by judges for “changing the relationship to deal with moves in the market”.

The procurement team at Premier Foods, whose brands include Hovis and Mr Kipling cakes, decided to change the way they dealt with vendors after a 2006 European Commission ruling to restructure the sugar industry.

The team’s decision to secure future supplies by developing strategic relationships with one or two suppliers was key and British Sugar, part of Associated British Foods, was that chosen vendor.

Buyers at Premier have delivered £5.7 million cost savings since changing their strategy. And British Sugar has increased its own sales growth by 10 per cent during 2009, and an improvement in adherence to payment terms.

The judges said: “They were responding to the market and this deal was done with reality and not superficial congeniality. This is what the best in supplier relationship management is about – changing

the relationship to deal with moves in the market. An example of true collaboration and trust. It felt like both were winners.”

Speaking to SM after clinching the overall award, Mark Hughes, Premier Foods’ group procurement director, said: “The key to a good relationship with your supplier is to learn to trust each other. It also helps if you get joint objectives, establish the right teams and let them loose to come up with new opportunities.”

CIPS president Shirley Cooper told the gala dinner’s audience of more than 1,200 it had been a challenging and difficult year, so it was great to see more entries than ever before and standards continuing to rise. “The entries were fantastic, the content was superb, the great ideas you’re bringing to your businesses continue to reap rewards.”

Coverage of all the winners will appear in the 30 September issue of SM. You can view pictures from the night here and video interview footage on our YouTube channel here

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