Vodafone Procurement: Our House strategy
Scottish-born Wilson has been with Vodafone in Luxembourg since 2009 and began as a Technology Procurement Director before becoming Group Procurement Director and CEO in April 2016.
During our chat, Wilson took great pride in walking me through a unique strategy called ‘Our House.’ It was developed with a clear intention: to be the best digital supply chain management (SCM) team in a connected world, powered by people and partnering to create value through innovation and ecosystem management. Upon beginning the role, Wilson sat down with Neil Cocker, former Principal Manager, Supply Chain Management Strategy & Governance, and realised that forming a long-term and sustainable strategy was essential. “Neil, we need to have a strategy here. This is our house, how do we want to build it?,” recalls Wilson. “We played around with some ideas and defined the different rooms of the house.”
Eventually, the duo established four key rooms of the house: the kitchen, games room, garage and dining room. “The kitchen is owned by the Chief Operating Officer. The best things happen in the kitchen, so naturally that’s where we run operations from,” explains Wilson. “In the garage, we have our innovation centre where we incubate small companies that can create value, whether that’s increased revenue, profit or taking costs out of Vodafone. The games room allows us to trial new things. For example, we try new technology to use internally in supply chain management. If it works, we scale it. If it doesn’t, then we simply turn it off. Finally, we have the dining room, which represents our supply chain management sales. We work with external clients; not just for Vodafone. We invite those external clients into the dining room to see what we’ve developed and to support them in their procurement activities.”
Having established this strategy, Wilson drew the house on a one page document. He believes that streamlining the message is key. “In today’s world, people are so used to reading 250 characters,” says Wilson. “If you can’t put your whole strategy on one page then you have a problem with communication.”
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EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”