Saturday 25th Nov 2017 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Winner: International Federation of the Red Cross (2)

Two of the three finalists in the Public Sector/ Not for Profit category, International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and NHS Supply Chain, were old friends of the Awards.

Organisations in transformation is one of the subtexts running through this year’s Awards, and it certainly applies to the NHS. They entered as the NHS Logistics Authority, under which guise they have won awards in the past, not least for their clever and effective deployment of relatively inexpensive technology. But since October they, and parts of PASA, the NHS Procurement and Supply Agency, have been joined to DHL Exel Supply Chain and healthcare procurement specialists Novation to form the new NHS Supply Chain organisation.

NHS Supply Chain manages delivery (and now procurement as well) for over 600 NHS organisations from six DCs. In 2005/6 they delivered 33 million orders worth £1168 million, achieving their highestever delivered service level of 98.6 per cent and releasing over £8.4 million in cash savings to the ‘front line’. (Over the life of the new DHL contract, incidentally, savings of over £1.5 billion are called for!). The roll-out of demand capture solutions (the Logistics Online catalogue and hand-held e-DC devices, supported by free training, for which NHS Logistics received the Award in this category last year) was virtually completed too.

However, with this fairly controversial change underway, it is perhaps not surprising that the judges didn’t find enough further progress to warrant an Award – but it will be very interesting to see if NHS re-enters under new management in future years, and what they have to report!

Transport for London was a new and welcome entrant this year. As primarily a commissioning and regulatory body it is hardly surprising that their entry did not have, in the judges’ opinion, the breadth or scope to warrant this category Award, but virtue will not be denied and, as you will see, TfL was rewarded in another category. ’Blown away’ is how one judge described the winner in this category, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. IFRC was a close runner up to NHS last year and lost out essentially because, by their own admission, their planning system improvements were still something of a work in progress. There has in fact been a lot of change in IFRC’s supply chain operations and processes in recent years. A number of natural disasters, including the Asian Tsunami and the Pakistan earthquake, have highlighted actual and potential deficiencies in performance, and they have reacted by dramatically changing the way the supply chain is structured, financed and managed – indeed, in less than two years they have restructured the organisation and processes in order to respond to disasters at half the cost, have doubled volumes and reduced lead-times by a factor of six (they can get a global supply chain up and running in three days now). Processes have been standardised globally to ensure interoperability, and process planning has used historical evidence and ‘worst case scenarios’ to predict the likely requirements of future disasters.

IFRC is still engaged in work with bodies such as the UN to create global stock management systems so that IFRC can gain visibility of disaster relief supplies around the world regardless of who owns it. The judges said ‘For scale, responsiveness and performance they are outstanding: all the more so when you realise that they exist to operate in precisely the places where normal supply chains have broken down; that they have only moral, rather than legal, charges over their sources of supply and funding; and that despite being a global brand with relatively little direct control over its local operations, it has successfully transformed its supply chain to meet even better the demands that the world places on it. The outstanding supply chain achievements of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies demand that it is named winner in this category’.

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