Team of the Year Award Winner 2008: Vodafone

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The Team of the Year category is one of the most difficult to assess. Team work can mean very different things to different people. And of course, it would be hard for any supply chain to develop, transform or improve significantly in an environment where the team is not fully motivated to the task – to a great extent good leadership is a prerequisite to exemplary team work.

This year the judges gave serious consideration to five of the entries as potential winners of the Team of the Year trophy: Belron, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Ekol Logistics, Kimberly-Clark and Vodafone. All five had demonstrated the involvement of a focused and committed team, but only one company could win.

Belron, the emergency windscreen service, has proved itself as a very capable company at delivering change across the organisation. Prior to its supply chain transformation Belron had concerns over breakages, parts availability, delivery and high SKUs. And as highlighted earlier with the company’s win in the Retail & Distribution category, it set up its own internal supply chain development team to drive improvements in the business – the judges saw this as a real commitment to delivering the strategy.

From the FMCG/CPG category, Coca-Cola Enterprises impressed the judges with its massive transformational project of moving from three separate supply chains for Europe to just one. Many innovations undertaken at their North London operation are now being rolled out in Europe and the scale and scope of the human challenge involved clearly demanded a dedicated team approach to delivering those goals.

Ekol Logistics is an integrated logistics services company that is undergoing rapid expansion across the retail, FMCG, textile, health, chemical and automotive sectors in Turkey. The company has invested significantly in technology and automation to improve its operational capabilities and has also made moves to improve its environmental performance by moving more goods by rail. The assessors found strong evidence for a well co-ordinated core team of motivated individuals focused on driving innovation within the company for the benefit of its customers.

A previous winner of the Team of the Year Award, Kimberly-Clark, was again considered for the trophy this year, having won back in 2006. A couple of years ago the company caught the judges’ eye with its “remarkable abilities to bring nationalities, languages and business cultures together on a single site”. Although the judges did not see evidence for the same level of exemplary team work this year, it was still clear that good communications and a passion for the task were very much present.

However, it was Vodafone that impressed the judges the most. The company has made great strides in bringing its environmental policy into effect in its procurement operations. Over the past eight months the company has expanded its catalogues to incorporate environmental performance of products and services based on the greenhouse gas footprint reported by the supplier using the CDP format. This has helped buyers to make environmentally sound decisions where possible. But it was the teams’ engagement and commitment to this project that convinced the judges that the Vodafone team deserved the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards’ Team of the Year trophy. “Vodafone’s people had commitment and were a well-integrated team – there was a clear understanding between the group of their goal and the team spirit was there to see,” say the judges.

“It’s easy to focus people on getting direct results, like cost reduction and lead-time reduction, but it’s a lot more difficult to get people focused on something like CSR. That requires a buy in from people around that really understand the DNA of what you do. What’s important here is getting the whole company working together on a common corporate goal.”

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