Sainsbury's 'bridge the gap' between marketing and procurement with innovative structure

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
5 June 2014

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5 June 2014 | Will Green

An innovative management structure at Sainsbury’s has allowed the supermarket to “bridge the gap” between marketing and procurement.

In 2012 a new marketing director worked with the CPO to develop a set of shared objectives, which included savings plans, targets, collaboration and category planning.

Kim Swan, procurement category manager for customer and corporate services, told a conference: “The structure we had in place for other parts of the business was not really working with marketing. The most important thing is agreeing on both sides of the fence what you want to achieve.”

As a result of the discussions a new post of head of media and advertising was created. Sophia Weir was appointed to fill the role.

Swan, speaking at ProcureCon Marketing in London yesterday, said: “It did take us time to find our groove and work in this matrix style. The key to our success is constant communication. We speak together every day. The structure would not work if the marketing director did not see themselves as Sophia’s line manager. The model has allowed us to close the gap between marketing and procurement.”

She added: “Don’t think about politics and who claims the savings, just concentrate on delivering value.”

Weir said a broadening of the available marketing channels had made the world more complicated and in response the supermarket worked with a wider range of agencies.

“Channels and touch-points we have today keep going and changing,” she said. “The media landscape has changed vastly. There are endless opportunities which can at times be overwhelming. As times move our roster of agencies has become more diverse.”

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