The European supply chain excellence awards 2006

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Now in their tenth year, the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards said farewell to previous lead sponsors Cap Gemini after three successful years, and welcome in their place PRTM. For those who don’t know, PRTM is one of the world’s leading operational strategy consulting firms. They were one of the major forces behind the development of the SCOR (Supply Chain Operations Reference) model.

The basic form of the awards hasn’t changed – organisations are invited to complete a web-based questionnaire, which probes quite deeply – many firms draw back at this stage, perhaps because the detail required is too sensitive, or perhaps because they realise they don’t understand their own supply chain quite as well as they thought! (If that’s the case, then the Awards process may already have been valuable). The most impressive entries are shortlisted by sector, which aren’t always the categories the organisation itself may have imagined. As far as possible we try to judge like against like so, for example, the aftersales operations of a high-tech company may be better compared with other service providers, rather than with manufacturing operations.

Twenty three organisations were shortlisted this year across the six industry-sector categories, and all received a site visit from PRTM’s specialists. This isn’t just to validate the questionnaire data, but also to gain a real ‘feel’ for the operation. Like other principal sponsors before, Gordon Colborn, PRTM’s UK director, concedes that ‘We expected we could use a highly quantitative assessment methodology: but this wasn’t quite the case. It became clear that selecting the winners would require much more than a comparison of their numbers!’

PRTM developed an assessment approach based on it’s ‘five core disciplines of strategic supply chain management’. Each organisation is rated according to their ‘maturity’ in these five disciplines. The ‘maturity’ model has four stages, from a functional focus on purchasing and other similar operations to true crossenterprise collaboration and optimisation.

The five disciplines are:
1) viewing the supply chain as a strategic asset, designing it around a defined basis of competition that will support the business strategy
2) developing end-to-end processes and systems
3) designing the supply chain organisation for performance (which includes the approach to future skills and training needs)
4) building the appropriate collaborative model, which might mean choosing the right outsourcing partners but equally the choice to keep activities in-house
5) using metrics to define and drive business success

Why does this matter? Well, PRTM has extensive research that shows a direct correlation between supply chain maturity and the financial performance of the overall organisation – Colborn says ‘the best in class performers can expect to be as much as 40 per cent more profitable, and have 25 per cent higher sales growth, than the median for their industry.

But in reality, not many organisations demonstrate ‘maturity’ right across the supply chain. That’s why we also have awards for excellence in particular functions and segments of the supply chain, bolstered this year by the addition of two new categories – awards for Project Management and Environmental

In addition, an award for Outstanding Contribution was included in the list to recognise supply chain professionals. Unlike the others, which have been ruthlessly scrutinised by the assessors and judges, this is a ‘vox pop’ – readers of ‘Logistics Europe’ were invited to nominate individuals they believe have made or are making an outstanding contribution to European supply chain management and then asked to vote on a shortlist of the most prominent nominations. Your judges this year were Nick Allen, editor of ‘Logistics Europe’; Gordon Colborn, director of PRTM; and Jan Szymankiewicz, director of the British Quality Foundation and Board member of the ELA. We mustn’t forget either our other sponsors – Intermec, 3M Supply Chain Solutions, BT Rolatruc, KN Drinks Logistics, Gazeley, and Hudson, without all of whom the awards would be a mere shadow of their present eminence.

On The Night

The good, the great and the excellent, gathered on the evening of the 1st November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London for the big event of the year – The European Supply Chain Excellence Awards 2006 10th anniversary event. Organised by Logistics Europe in partnership with PRTM, the premiere awards scheme in Europe for supply chain management attracted over 300 top ranking executives from major companies across the continent. Special guests, industry leaders and finalists waited in tense anticipation as nominations for the 14 awards were read out by compere, BBC’s leading sports commentator, John Inverdale.

There was rapturous applause as Brigitte Olsen of this year’s overall winner, International Federation of the Red Cross, came to the stage to receive the top prize on behalf of the international aid organisation.

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