Sustainable sleep for suspects*…

(* well, prisoners really but I like alliteration....)

Just're a dynamic, thrusting young purchasing category manager working for a sexy FMCG, IT or media firm. .  One morning you wake up and in a Kafka-esque transformation you find yourself working for...Her Majesty's Prison Service.  The horror of it!  And your boss tells you that your category is prisoner bedding.  Yes, the stuff - sheets, mattresses, blankets - that the inmates sleep on (and sometimes do other things on as well).

But before you slit your wrists, read this from the Guardian newspaper. The Procurement team at the Prison Service have won another award - not their first - for an outstanding piece of creative and value-adding category work.  They've come up with an approach that has a huge positive impact on the environment, improves the quality of the product provided, and saves money.  All in an area that it would have been very tempting to treat as a low priority for purchasing attention.

What a great example and an inspiration to professionals in less glamorous organisations and managing apparently unexciting categories.  The lessons?  Think creatively; think about total supply chain; look at sustainability in terms of value not just ticking the boxes; and above all challenge the 'way we've always done it'.  Well done Geoff Sykes and the team.

Peter Smith

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