Saturday 25th Nov 2017 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Winner: Lawrence Christensen

A real innovation in the Awards this year is the Outstanding Contribution Award. Uniquely, this doesn’t involve complex metrics, exhaustive questionnaires, or teams of consultants with clipboards. We asked you to nominate individuals that you felt deserved recognition for their contribution to or achievement in supply chain management; your most popular choices formed a short-list of three, and from these you were again invited to vote. Your three nominees were Berthold Oestermann, Professor Alan Waller, and Lawrence Christensen, so in true ‘Oscar’ fashion, we’ll have some brief career resumes before opening the sealed envelope!

Berthold Oestermann is operations manager for Seiko Optical Europe. He himself trained as an optician in Remscheid but decided he was more interested in logistics and manufacturing rather than prescribing. As Operations Manager, Berthold is based in Willich Dusseldorf and is responsible for all group purchasing, dealing with upstream and downstream customers and ultimately ensuring that all spectacle lens requests for Europe, from Scandinavia to the new accession countries, are met. Reliability and trust are at the forefront of Berthold’s prescription for the supply chain and he practices what he preaches.

Professor Alan Waller is a partner at Solving International, a visiting Professor at Cranfield School of Management, President of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and chairman of Elupeg, the European Logistics Users, Providers and Enablers Group which promotes collaborative supply chain practices. After some years in production line management Alan moved into consultancy where he has spent over 25 years on logistics and supply chain assignments with a variety of manufacturers, retailers and service providers from North America to the Far East. He has always been active in educational development, in 1980 establishing and directing the world’s first Masters programme in Logistics. He also uses his logistics knowledge for the wider good, being a director and trustee of Transaid, the charity for ‘transport for life’ in Africa, and serves on the advisory board of IN-Kind Direct, which seeks to divert surplus and imperfect goods otherwise destined to landfill to good use by other charities.

Lawrence Christensen can claim to be one of the pioneers of Supply Chain Management in British food retailing, having been at senior management or board level in this role for over 30 years. He is best known for the world-class supply chain he created at Safeway; and latterly for his work in resolving supply chain issues at Sainsburys. He was for four years president of the Freight Transport Association, spent ten years as chairman of the CIES international forum for food-related supply chain management, and also spent four years as a member of the Commission for Integrated Transport. And the winner is? By popular acclaim, Lawrence Christensen. Logistics Europe spoke to Christensen after the Award had sunk in, and he told us ‘This is a terrific honour for me, but also for the Sainsburys team. I’m very proud to have helped in the part that Sainsburys supply chain team have played, their major role in sorting out the problems and helping the company back to continue their great heritage.

‘I was thirty years with Safeway, and as group operating director helped create a world class supply chain and a world class team. I thought I’d retired – but Justin King asked me to come back to ‘fix’ Sainsburys, and that has meant so much. Even as a competitor, I had always admired the brand and so being able to help has been very satisfying.

‘I couldn’t have done it without the team around me, and the Awards this year have reflected that – it’s been an excellent night for Sainsburys and the wins for the team in the Retail, and Project Management categories are well justified. What they have built, compared with two and a half years ago, is like chalk and cheese. Marketing, trading and others have been important – but all their efforts would have been wasted without great supply chain processes that deliver great availability: availability is the first and most important point in retail. ‘But the road to excellence never ends: part of my job was to find my successor [Roger Burnley, who we hope to interview in the January issue]. My job never ends either: I thought I was going to retire again, but Justin King asked me to be MD of the convenience stores business, so here I am!’.

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