Water firm retains purchasing chief

30 March 2011

30 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark

Thames Water’s head of procurement Simon Rutter will be one of a few buying professionals to remain at the company following the outsource deal with Efficio.

Most staff will be transferred to the outsource provider under the £500 million annual agreement, but Rutter will remain with core responsibility for managing the new contract.

As reported by SM, Thames Water outsourced both direct and indirect spend to Efficio in a five-year contract.

Ian Bolger, head of supply chain at Thames Water, said Rutter would become a “linchpin” to ensure the outsourcing arrangement, believed to be one of the largest of its kind signed in the UK, was meeting the business’s needs.

“He will do a lot of the stakeholder management internally, but our category managers are very business-facing too – that’s their core job. A lot of them sit in the business teams in the areas that they manage,” he added.

Efficio would employ most of the remaining Thames Water procurement staff under TUPE arrangements, but they would remain within the Thames Water headquarters, Bolger explained. “They will walk the corridors and do all the normal things that we do to integrate with the business,” he said.

Following a transformation programme to involve procurement in every aspect of the utility firm’s spending, the team had a very busy business plan for the next five years, which made the outsourcing deal necessary, Bolger explained. “We don’t have the flexibility and agility within the existing resources to be able to support the business as much as it needs,” he said.

Thames Water aims to treble its procurement savings targets by outsourcing, Bolger revealed, but he would not say how much these were, or the value of the deal with Efficio.

The water supplier previously outsourced all its procurement and logistics to Accenture in 1995, before bringing sourcing back in house in 2002.

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