Heathrow Airport - overall winners of CIPS SM awards 2016
Heathrow Airport - overall winners of CIPS SM awards 2016

Hat trick for Heathrow Airport’s transformed procurement team

posted by Andrew Allen
14 September 2016

Heathrow Airport’s procurement department has won the top 2016 CIPS Supply Management award, presented at the annual awards ceremony on 14 September, at the Grosvenor House in London.

The team had already won two category awards: Most improved procurement operation - step change award; and Best people development initiative, before being crowned winner of the winners. 

“This entry really did demonstrate what good looks like,” said the judges.  “It was a transformation project that was clearly aligned with the business strategy. It enabled the business to reposition itself as a market leader and ultimately led to procurement getting a seat at the board.

Lack of motivation, another serious criticism of the department pre-transformation, was tackled from the top, when Ian Ballentine was brought in to head the department, and given the carrot of a seat on the board if he could turn it around in a year.

Timing was important. Heathrow, already the UK’s biggest airport, with around 200,000 passengers crossing its threshold and 1,300 flights travelling its runways every day, was rebuilding Terminal 2, as well as working on plans for a third runway.

It was a busy time for the procurement team, but within a year it had completed a major turnaround, employee engagement ratings had soared, and perceptions within the organisation had dramatically improved. Judges commended the clear aims and objectives of the transformation, and the emphasis on the need for a cultural change within the department.

What was once a tactical, process-driven department split across three departments now operates as a unified whole. And, having added little value to the bottom line, during and after the transformation period, procurement tripled its ROI score. And Ballentine was given a seat on the executive committee as promised. 

The judges said: “The overall winner impressed the judges with their strategic alignment of their projects back to the organisation’s goals.  They took a holistic end-to-end approach to deliver in a fantastic set of results.”

Link to full details of the group winners and individual winners

The CIPS Supply Management 2016 category award winners are:

Best contribution to corporate responsibility


Best contribution to the reputation of procurement

Winner: Fusion21

Best cross-functional teamwork project

Winner: Jaguar Land Rover

Best People Development Initiative

Winner: Heathrow Airport

Best process improvement initiative

Winner: Sodexo UK & Ireland

Best procurement consultancy project of the year

Winner: Odesma

Best public procurement project

Winner: Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Best supplier relationship management

Winner: Mitie TFM & Omni RMS

Best third sector / not-for-profit procurement project

Winner: Scope

International procurement project of the year

Winner: UK Shared Business Services (UK SBS)

Most improved procurement operation – start up

Winner: Pinsent Masons

Most improved procurement operation - step change

Winner: Heathrow Airport

Most innovative use of technology

Winner: Kier Group

CIPS procurement and supply chain management professional of the year

Winner: Chris Bell MCIPS, Head of City Procurement, City of London Corporation

CIPS young procurement and supply chain management professional of the year

Winner: Lucy Morrison, Category Leader, Innovia Films

The annual CIPS Supply Management Awards were celebrated on 14 September at the Grosvenor House in London, supported by headline sponsor RS, and platinum sponsor Hays.

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