Olympics procurement boss: Fixed deadline approach could be copied elsewhere

28 March 2012

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28 March 2012 | Adam Leach

Gerry Walsh, director of procurement at London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) said it’s great to have a fixed deadline on a project as with the Olympics and other procurement teams could benefit from the same approach.

In an interview with SM, further details of which will be in the May edition, Walsh said the countdown to the games, currently 121 days, “focuses the mind” of everyone at the organisation.

He said: “The date doesn’t change and that’s fantastic for everybody, because when you start a meeting, everybody knows that one of the solutions is not going to be to put the date back. It doesn’t change so that really focuses the mind.”

Asked by SM whether he felt other organisations could take a similar approach, Walsh, a former CIPS president, said: “I think in some organisations, people maybe take their foot off the gas prematurely or see an obstacle and step a little bit back from it as opposed to just saying, ‘we will stick to this date because we can solve the issues’.”

He explained that the key to making the approach work is having alignment across all stakeholders. This is present at LOCOG because everyone is working towards a very precise goal. “Some organisations don’t quite see that and perhaps give in to the internal politics. We don’t have that, everybody’s aligned from the top-down, we know where we are heading and when it has got to be done by and that creates a tremendous team ethic.”

Chris Townsend, commercial director at LOCOG, said the importance of procurement was highlighted by the immovable deadline of the event. “[The procurement team] has got suppliers that we trust are going to deliver to us on time and to budget. That is critical and the [stakeholders] see that,” he said.


See the Olympics feature in the May issue of SM


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