EE demands innovation from supply chain

16 May 2013

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16 May 2013 | Adam Leach

Telecoms provider EE was forced to cut ties with suppliers that failed to innovate as the business expanded, its head of procurement has revealed.

Over the past 18 months, the focus of the company - previously known as Everything Everywhere - has been launching and establishing the first 4G mobile broadband network in the UK. In the process of completing this upgrade, the company found some suppliers were unable to keep up with the demand for innovation.

Speaking at the SupplyFest event in London yesterday, Simon Frumkin, vice president of procurement and supply chain at EE, explained those that couldn’t keep pace had been dropped.

“What we’ve found over the last 18 months is that some of the existing supplier base, who are perhaps not as innovative and don’t spend so much on their R&D roadmap, have fallen by the wayside and are not the type we can deal with anymore,” he told delegates.

For those it continues to work with, the company is seeking a bigger say on developments and requires more notice on vendors’ future plans to factor innovations into its own strategy. Frumkin explained a key element of the launch of the network was working with handset suppliers such as Apple and Motorola to ensure certain phones were 4G-enabled in time.

Explaining how being the first 4G mobile network operator had affected procurement at the company, Frumkin said: “Being a technology leader for us means having a much greater say at the table, a lot more influence over the roadmap of suppliers and planning much further ahead.”

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