In pursuit of excellence

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For the finalists of the eighth year of the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards, gathered at The Dorchester Hotel on the evening of the 18th November, there could have been few surprises that the overall winner’s trophy went to Dell. The PC manufacturer’s exemplary supply chain model has virtually become a ‘Holy Grail’ for those seeking supply chain excellence.

For the judges it was a fascinating exploration of an innovative supply chain strategy successfully executed to powerful effect – and with the metrics to back it up. They have taken on and rethought the whole business model, not just the supply chain model, and have been prepared to change everything they and their suppliers do. It’s a completely different mindset reflected in the beautiful simplicity of their processes.

With a focus on creating value for their customers and on constantly improving productivity and velocity Dell has used the supply chain to bring about competitive advantage in one of the fiercest of markets. So, our congratulations go to the team at Dell.

The hi-tech sector may have come up trumps again this year – after a win by the Engineering sector last year – but Engineering put in a good performance with Rexam Beverage Can Europe coming second overall, winning the Engineering & General Manufacturing Award and Sourcing & eProcurement trophy. Retail too had a good representative with Argos running third overall.

This year saw the introduction of two new prizes – Supply Chain Innovation and Team of the Year. Taking the trophies were Marks & Spencer with Gist for their pioneering use of RFID technology, and NHS Logistics Authority for their team skills. These two awards provide much needed recognition for highly focused, and often overlooked, aspects of supply chain management.

Congratulations go also to GlaxoSmithKline, winners of the Process Industries Award, and Coca Cola Enterprises, prize winners for the FMCG/CPG category. Both demonstrated true excellence.

But in many respects, all those finalists present at The Dorchester were winners, for to be chosen for the shortlist of 26 companies was no easy task and required a very high standard of performance and know-how. Many of these companies could well take away trophies next year – it’s happened before and will again, I’m sure.

These Awards should be regarded as a journey to supply chain excellence and that can take time and effort.

Nick Allen, Editor

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