Awards: Rewriting the book

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An innovative supply chain strategy has rejuvenated Waterstones in the face of challenges from online and e-books – and made it the overall winner in the European Supply Chain Awards 2015.

Traditional booksellers have struggled in recent years with challenges coming from the growth of online retailers and e-books. But Waterstones has been leading the fight back, The way it has used its supply chain to boost its competitiveness in collaboration with its logistics partner UTL has made it the winner of the Overall Award in the 2015 European Supply Chain Excellence Awards.

This article was published in the December 2015 issue of Logistics Manager.

This article was published in the December 2015 issue of Logistics Manager.

Nick Hudson, head of supply chain, was delighted. “It’s fantastic to get the recognition. It shows we can turn it around in the supply chain.”

Waterstones and UTL also won the Retail and e-tail category. The Awards judges highlighted the strong collaboration saying they had transformed the business and were able to demonstrate strong metrics with substantial improvements in forecast accuracy and cost to serve.

“It was great having a collaborative approach and working on a personal level,” said Hudson.

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, was at the awards dinner to celebrate the success with his supply chain team.

More than 600 guests attended the Awards which were hosted by Nick Hewer, who revealed some of the secrets of working with Lord Sugar and gave a peak behind the scenes of the television series “The Apprentice”.

The Awards are organised by Logistics & Supply Chain in association with PwC. They are unique in the depth of analysis involved in the judging process, and that makes them uniquely worth winning. A total of 72 organisations made it to the final stage of the Awards this year.

Supply chain and logistics plays a critical role in supporting humanitarian projects, and that was demonstrated strongly this year by the response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

84 Medical Supply Squadron, 9 Regiment RLC, British Army, took the Extreme Logistics Award for its work in Sierra Leone. Both 10 The Queen’s Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment, and Vanguard Enabling Group (HQ 104 Brigade) were highly commended for their work in this crisis.

The winners of this category got a tremendous reception at the Awards, but they were modest about the achievement. “We’re military, it’s our job anyway. We weren’t there for gains. It was for the greater good – helping people,” said Warrant Officer Michael Poland of 84 Medical Supply Squadron.

The Department for International Development with Crown Agents and International Procurement Agency won the Public & Third Sectors category for its work on the Ebola crisis. This involved setting up supply chains to ensure that six DFID funded Ebola treatment centres could provide effective emergency treatment and containment.

The winner in the Hi Tech, Communications & Electronics category was German electronics manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz. The judges said the company truly recognised the strategic importance of a supply chain that is able to react quickly, flexibly and with great agility – something that requires the mastery of complexity. Collecting the award, Klaus Buchwald, vice president of corporate supply chain management, was jubilant. “Pleasure, especially with these people,” he said.

The Training and Professional Development Award went to Novus, an innovative graduate scheme with broad industry support, which is now well-established and addressing a critical industry need.

“Over the moon – it’s a reward for the hard work of 28 companies,” said David Leach, programme director for the NOVUS undergraduate scheme at the University of Huddersfield.



Individual Contribution Award: Birgitte Stalder-Olsen

The winner of the Individual Contribution Award has for many years played a key role in ensuring that humanitarian aid gets to where it is needed in some of the most remote and dangerous locations in the world.

As head of logistics at the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies, Birgitte Stalder-Olsen also led her organisation to win the Overall Award in the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards in 2006.

Birgitte’s professional background includes some three decades of logistics experience in supply chain management, international procurement and the development of logistics tools and standards. Her previous employment record includes logistics positions in ICRC, the Danish Red Cross and the International Federation. She has concluded field delegate missions in Thailand, Poland, Lebanon, Cyprus and Uganda.

One of the key features of the IFRC’s logistics activity is that it not only supports the core work of the IFRC’s national societies, but is also available on a non-profit basis to others with shared humanitarian goals.

Birgitte has for a number of years played an important role as a judge in the Awards.

The judges were unanimous that Birgitte is a worthy winner of the Individual Contribution Award 2015.

Although she was unable to attend the dinner, she said: “I feel much honoured to receive this award.”



What does it take to win?

Winning a European Supply Chain Excellence Award can be a gruelling experience. Entrants are asked to provide us with a lot of information. In some cases, where the judges feel they don’t have enough information, they go back and ask for more.

Those entrants that make it through to the shortlist are invited to make a presentation to the judges and answer questions. We have a team of more than 40 judges made up of specialists from PwC, the team at Logistics & Supply Chain, and leading supply chain professionals.

In the process the judges look for five common characteristics of high performing supply chains – the five core disciplines. These are:

  1. Does your supply chain help to deliver competitive advantage to your company – or is it a cost of doing business?
  2. Are your processes and systems streamlined and integrated across the end-to-end supply chain – or are they complex and fragmented?
  3. Is the supply chain organisation structured and staffed for success – or is it an admin function staffed with the dead weights?
  4. Have you built a collaborative operating model with a clear understanding of your core competencies – or are you a jack of all trades and a master of none?
  5. Have you a clear understanding of how to measure success, and is the organisation incentivised to deliver it – or do you measure everything and do nothing with it?

If the entry was for a special category – for example Sourcing and Procurement, or Customer Service there is less emphasis given to the core disciplines and more emphasis to the relative performance and achievement of each of the finalists. In addition, the judges give special attention to the demonstration of innovation and the commitment, passion and enthusiasm of entrants.


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