The judges were disappointed that there were fewer worthy entries this time round, especially as in the past this has been a very strongly contested category.
However, there were some excellent things to be seen in the two shortlisted entries.
HSBC’s European network comprises 24 countries ranging from mature, developed operations of considerable size, to smaller but growing emerging markets. The company’s European purchasing function has recently been restructured around lean practices for the procurement process, and a standardised toolkit has been developed to provide continuity and consistency in purchasing services across the European organisation. The judges appreciated that great strides had been made so far, and there were expectations of bigger things to come, but it was a little early in the process.
The entry from Telefonica O2 UK was up with the strongest seen in this category to date. The company’s stock and vendor management strategy for handsets has two main principles at its core, namely collaboration and integration, with an overall goal of reducing working capital outlay while delivering high availability to the customer. Strong collaboration within O2 and with its suppliers has allowed it to develop new commercial models, which have resulted in a significant reduction of days of stock within the warehouse and within retail stores. Moving to a vendor-managed inventory purchasing model created flexibility in the production environment and at the same time reduced inventory risk. Investment in IT has resulted in greater agility, allowing Telefonica O2 to differentiate itself competitively by enabling it to offer innovative customer-centric returns policies, while reducing the overall cost of doing business. The judges were unanimous: “Telefonica O2 UK is a highly deserving winner.”