The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were a spectacular success by any measure. They were delivered on time and within budget and, as we went to press, predictions of security problems and travel chaos turned out to be groundless. Procurement was at the heart of the operation and the sheer scale of the undertaking was truly impressive:
- There were just four people in the procurement team of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in early 2009, rising to 35
- Around 900 supplier contracts were placed and managed with a total value in excess of
£1 billion, including 1.8 million items of sports equipment; a catering operation to serve
14 million meals; 5,000 bouquets for medal winners; 2,000 buses to transport athletes and officials; 122 km of security fencing; and more than 10,000 Olympic torches.
- Of the 650 or so suppliers awarded contracts, more than 70 per cent were SMEs and 90 per cent of these were based in the UK.
And while most of the talk about the Olympic legacy has focused on sports facilities, procurement’s achievements have also had a huge impact.
The award of such a high proportion of contracts to UK SMEs has created jobs and secured the longer-term future of many small businesses, and not just in the south east. Procurement has also played an important part in managing the impact of the Games. From ensuring sustainable sourcing and resilient supply chains in the procurement of food and drink, and demanding high ethical standards in the manufacture of London 2012 clothing and memorabilia, to the setting of a zero waste to landfill target, the LOCOG procurement team has set its own world-class benchmark.
This has not gone unnoticed by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and
I am proud that CIPS has been asked to talk to the IOC about how we can help to ensure that the professional procurement practices that have contributed to the success of London 2012 can be rolled forward to Rio 2016.
The theme of these Games was ‘inspiring a generation’ and if it’s not too much of a stretch, I want us to think about procurement in the same way. The CIPS Supply Management Awards give us the opportunity once a year to celebrate outstanding achievement and recognise what it takes to raise our game from
good to great. Let’s use the ceremony
on 12 September to inspire the
next generation of procurement professionals.
As Lord Sebastian Coe said so eloquently in his address at the Olympics closing ceremony last month, one group of people who perhaps more than any other were responsible for the success of London 2012 were the 70,000 ‘Games Makers’, the volunteers who freely gave their time to answer questions, help visitors find their way around and show spectators to their seats.
The standing ovation they received at that ceremony was recognition of their contribution to an event that, by common consensus, was an amazing experience for all who took part.
When volunteers say that they feel that have got back more than they have put in, then you are clearly doing something right. It is my hope that the member volunteers who join the new Congress in November will feel the same way.
There’s certainly been no shortage of members keen to be part of our new global representative body. We have well-contested elections for
all 19 seats, and I’ve been impressed by the commitment and passion for giving back
to the profession that is expressed in the candidates’ personal statements.
The online ballot closes on
24 September, so make sure
you use your vote.