Winner: NHS Logistics Authority (2)

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The new Award for Team of the Year requires a little explanation. The judges were not primarily looking for evidence of group hugs around the water cooler, valuable though such techniques may be. Rather, they wanted to explore relationships and cultures not only within the supply chain team, but internally with other corporate functions, and externally with suppliers, customers and partners. To help them in this analysis they used the top levels of a Capgemini tool known as the Supply Chain Governance framework, which gives a structure for assessing such factors as the role of Board and Executive in ‘setting’ a suitable business environment; the customer focus; the ‘licence to operate’ in terms of assessing and managing risk; organisational capability in terms of staff mix and motivation; asset life cycle management and flexibility, and the culture and systems for performance management.

From the site assessors, six nominations were received: for Borealis, Lever Fabergé, NHS Logistics, Henkel, Ducati and Rexam, all of whom showed well against these criteria.

In addition, the judges chose to make a special mention of two other organisations: Coca Cola Enterprises for ‘their enthusiasm, passion and commitment’, and Matáv, for ‘the way in which they are working with customers and suppliers for change in their business and their country’.

The choice, however, narrowed down to three, Rexam, Ducati, and NHS Logistics, based on the governance framework. This immediately produced a dichotomy – Ducati scored very well here, but in terms of the business context seemed only to be an average performer. One would have expected the good things Ducati are doing, internally and externally, to have translated more clearly into enhanced business performance, even allowing for the fact that less than ten years ago the firm was nearly bankrupt and that this is a great story of triumph over adversity.

Rexam was the preferred choice of the external assessors, ‘demonstrating excellence across all areas of their business, symptomatic of a strong, well-lead management team’. The thorough self-assessment of operations followed through with comprehensive transformation and operations strategies has created a strong values-based culture, ‘the Rexam way’, a can-do attitude and evident pride in the operation. Their work with customers, their focus on environmental risks, investment in organisational capacity and their management of assets and performance were all exemplary. Rexam was the assessors’ choice, but unusually the judges chose to disagree.

The judges plumped instead for NHS Logistics Authority. The Authority showed up well against the framework and, allowing for the fact that ‘chunks of the supply chain are missing – no sourcing, no manufacturing, which reduces the complexity somewhat’ the judges felt the Authority represented ‘an exceptionally strong performance across the board. Their mastery of the en-to-end order process, and the way  they have successfully and seamlessly introduced technologies, suggests governance capabilities of a high order. The level of performance is particularly surprising to find given the structural complexity of their principal customers, the NHS Trusts, and the very public and politically charged nature of the task’.

It was very close, but NHS Logistics, not Rexam Beverage Can, is the 2004 Team of the Year.

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