The right start

4 October 2011
Rebecca Ellinor, managing editor, Supply ManagementCongratulations to the winners of the 2011 CIPS/Supply Management Awards, whose achievements are highlighted in this issue. And to those that didn’t scoop a prize on this occasion, you may be interested to know that one of the threads connecting many of this year’s winners was stakeholder engagement. Clarity of submissions and senior endorsement were (as ever) vital. But what separated many of the winners was making it work with stakeholders. Overall winners the Olympic Delivery Authority worked with stakeholders to define goals; the first challenge faced by Cancer Research UK on its genome project was to convince others that purchasing could add value; and Wincanton had to reassure internal clients its cost-cutting programme would not compromise quality of service. Skanska UK, meanwhile, had to undergo “significant stakeholder engagement” to push through sustainability improvements. Sarah Ellis, who was named CIPS procurement and supply chain management professional of the year, said one of her priorities on joining BAA was to establish a team “capable of managing complexity and integrating with stakeholders”. She says: “You have to get the relationship started before moving in on any type of activity. It’s about getting people on side, understanding exactly what their objectives and timeframes are and what you bring to the party.” Effort expended on building relationships has proven worthwhile at the Royal Mail Group, as Ian Hayward, head of special projects, finance, writes in our stakeholder column. He says a key lesson learned by his department is to involve procurement early because it’s much more difficult to ensure savings come off budget lines at the end of the financial year. I think you get the point. In order to influence spend, raise procurement’s profile and boost credibility, it’s vital to first secure those internal relationships.
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