CIPS SM awards – I love the sound of breaking glass*…

A week after the CIPS Supply Management Awards event, sordid stories are emerging of wild after-event parties involving "the biggest bottle of vodka I've ever seen", leopard cubs and Rachel Weisz (or did I dream that?)

I understand that BravoSolution and Amex, two of the key sponsors, are still missing a couple of their senior marketing people, presumed still lost in some Grosvenor House basement drinking den....

Anyway, I was reading the awards brochure over the weekend.  The winners all sound great of course; having been a judge I know the problem in most categories is trying to decide between several excellent entries.  The Defence Storage and Distribution Agency story is really inspiring - I can absolutely see why that won.

Then I came to the Jaguar Land-Rover winning entry.  Basically, to summarise, they broke away from a difficult supply situation (an industry cartel was fined by the EU) and moved sourcing of windscreen glass to a supplier in China. Now this isn't a low value commodity product line; heated windscreens are pretty technical and quality is obviously a vital factor.  So when supply for the Freelander 2 was moved to China, JLR had to work very closely with the chosen firm.  But the end result was "every piece of glass was delivered on or ahead of schedule, to budget, with no delivery problems.  Warranty claims on the windows and glass were reduced by 85%".  And of course the price was 30% lower than previously quoted from European suppliers.  So well done to Jaguar Land Rover's procurement team; a worthy winner of the SM Award.

But.... there's another side to this of course. The end result is another blow to the UK trade balance, more jobs lost in the UK and EU, and more technology expertise transferred to China.

Now I don't blame JLR at all - I stress that I would do exactly the same in their position (and many years ago at Mars I aimed to break a European 'cartel' by bringing in Asian suppliers in exactly this manner).  But what an indictment of European suppliers; the whole story is a great case study of why 'the West' faces some of the economic problems it does.  European suppliers acting uncompetitively, taking a short term view; China offering savings and performance and moving up the value curve in terms of what they supply.

So well done JLR procurement team; not so well done 'UK / Europe plc'.

* I could have sworn this was a Bowie track you know until I checked!  Nick Lowe of course and a classic

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Voices (5)

  1. Peter Smith:

    Mr Smith
    You are going to have to accept the job offer as music correspondent for Procurement Excellence you know…. I insist!!

  2. David Smith:

    …one of my (only) claims to fame is that I’ve recorded at the same studio as Hazel O’Connor and she’s very nice – albeit very eighties!

  3. admin:

    Hazel O Connor – there’s a song that hasn’t aged well, but if you want to see where Marina and the Diamonds got her vocal style from…

    For a more appealing female artist, try the Smoke Fairies; they could be big soon. Think you need to book ’em now as your support for next year’s dinner David (not sure you can dance to them like you can to TFC though!)

  4. David Smith:

    …and I forgot Hazel O’Connor!

  5. David Smith:

    Why wasn’t I invited to the aftershow party???? I would have loved to have thrown something out of the window in a Rock God way (except it was in the basement).

    Bowie did a song called Breaking Glass (on ‘Low’ – a good title for an average album from this ‘God’ of music!). However, shame on you for not immediately recognising the 1978 Nick Lowe classic (but you’re probably too young!). Nick Lowe was, I think, a founder member of Brinsley Schwartz, who were really big(-ish) in my 6th form days and did the original (again, I think) of Cruel to be Kind (another Lowe hit). He was also an inspiration, friend, producer and fellow ‘Stiff’ of Elvis (Costello that is). Lesson over!!!!!

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