Bringing Innovation to Transport Procurement

Posted on October 25th, 2013 by

Photo of large blue trucks

We have been working with DS Smith PLC since 2012, taking an innovative approach to deliver year-on-year cost reductions worth millions of pounds in their transportation costs: by air, road and sea. Our integrated team are working with the client’s in-house procurement teams and local teams at 300 sites across Europe on over 400 individual projects.

It’s not just the scale of the programme that makes it unique – the results have been driven by the pioneering approach taken.

Strategy development

Fundamental to the programme’s success has been the engagement of all parties from the outset. We’ve worked collaboratively with the Group Procurement Director for Transport & Logistics to define approach and strategy, and to ensure the buy-in of the senior management team.

Together, we’ve developed the strategic direction to best utilise the budget for all transport across Europe: running diagnostics, defining the focus and vision and providing broader recommendations.

Multi-functional team

The team created to deliver the vision includes specialists from SpringTide and DS Smith with a range of different skills: Category experts with deep procurement and supply chain knowledge, with specific expertise including road, deep sea, groupage and warehousing.

Our multilingual analysts support the RFx process, from market intelligence to bid evaluation, with project planning and management to ensure timely execution across a rolling process of tenders that are out to bid in the market across multiple sites and countries.

What makes the approach different is that we essentially ‘own’ the tender funnel, ensuring that tenders are issued, evaluated and then presented back to the category and country level leaders to make informed sourcing decisions.

The ‘us and them’ mentality of client/supplier simply doesn’t exist: the ‘combined’ team meet both monthly and quarterly to standardise processes, to introduce further efficiencies and rationalisation, and to share knowledge. Meetings with hauliers often also involve representatives from both organisations, but, most importantly, the strategy is aligned and the expectations are driven by the overall targets set at regional and corporate level.

Local and Central co-ordination

The size of the programme is such that local knowledge is essential to its success. A key to the ongoing success has been the active involvement of local representatives to ensure that business requirements are understood in depth. DS Smith’s clients’ needs are also addressed and all permutations explored before tenders are issued into the market. Thereafter, the ‘combined’ team works collaboratively to ensure effective and seamless transitioning to new hauliers and that the ongoing relationships are embedded through continuous improvement programmes.

Spectacular results

From the start, we’ve stepped up to the business challenges set, mobilising rapidly to identify opportunities and realise returns on projects of between 5% and 60%, equating to millions of pounds each year.

In addition, we’ve been able to deliver improvements in terms and to improve cashflow.

 “SpringTide have been instrumental in helping us to create a new approach to our haulage expenditure – a spend of hundreds of millions, annually.

Their collaboration with our in-house team, whether senior management or at local sites, has been excellent: The DS Smith/SpringTide teams have formed, matured and work seamlessly with each other to manage exceptionally challenging targets across hundreds of European sites.

The team has brought an attention to detail and a focus on delivery that’s been instrumental in delivering sustainable cost reductions and business continuity that are critical to our business plan.

I’d have no hesitation in recommending SpringTide and believe, by working in such a close collaborative manner, we have developed an approach that is truly unique and market leading.”

Ian Ford, Group Procurement Director – Transport & Logistics, DS Smith Plc

Our integrated team remains in place and continues to deliver, with the support of DS Smith’s stakeholder communities across Europe.

 “Working so closely alongside DS Smith has been both a challenging and rewarding experience. It has been fast and furious since day one, and there have been moments of tension and positioning in a more traditional supplier/client relationship sense, which at times have pushed the boundaries within both organisations. But what makes this different is the parties’ complementary knowledge and expertise, and the removal of protectionist behaviours.

Personally, I have worked with many different outsourcing models; what makes this unique is the blended way in which accountability and responsibility has been tasked across both parties, which essentially means there is a symbiotic nature to the relationship. This in my opinion gets the best of both worlds, with neither side becoming complacent and both pushing the other to achieve and reach the next level.”

Mike Utting, Managing Director, SpringTide Consulting

Find out how SpringTide can help transform your business. Call us now on +44 (0) 1543 466835 or just send us an email.