TP: introducing a supplier colleague programme.

Travis Perkins shares office with key suppliers

Published:  17 January, 2012

NORTHAMPTON: National merchant Travis Perkins has launched what it claims is a unique 'supplier colleague programme' as part of a four-year plan to improve supply chain at the company.

The plan has representatives from key suppliers transferred to work full time in Travis Perkins' HQ to look for efficiencies and ways to improve the working relationship between their companies.

Alastair Charatan, director of supply chain programme, Travis Perkins, said: "What we've done is to say 'we want a colleague, someone from the supplier, working full-time in our head office'. We know that person has got an absolute focus on that supplier's business and performance with us."

"The programme hasn't drastically reshaped how the supply chain is managed, it was never intended to, but it has had a marked impact," said Mr Charatan.

He sees the move as having changed the dynamic between buyer and supplier. "You're going to respond a lot more to someone you're literally looking at across the office, than someone who's a remote figure on email."

Mr Charatan said the idea has been used elsewhere, but not in the merchant sector. "I don't know whether we took the idea from retail or whether we just thought we needed to get closer to our suppliers, but it's something that Tesco and Wal-Mart have done for quite a while. It's definitely unprecedented in a builders' merchant."

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