How do you turn good into excellent?

Listening Your Way to a Great Result

Like most large companies, Vodafone runs a supplier performance programme. Twice a year, Vodafone evaluates its suppliers against these criteria: Corporate responsibility (CR), financial stability, technical capability, delivery and quality of service as well as the strength of the commercial relationship. OK, granted the last one’s a bit…subjective perhaps, but I think this is a good, broad set of criteria. I first became aware of the programme after reading a press release about the CR measure. I was delighted that Vodafone were looking into this area, because I am personally interested in sustainable business and the company I was representing; BT, is a good CR practitioner. When I dug a little deeper, I found that Vodafone scored BT at 71%, 7 out of 10. Not bad, but not great either.

Being a curious person, I called up the Head of Supply Chain and he agreed to meet and talk through their programme. The guys at Vodafone were great. Honest and straightforward, they really conveyed a sense of wanting to work together to improve. This wasn’t a huge surprise to me as I’d previously carried out some very interesting mutually beneficial improvement work with Vodafone, but it’s still great to get that encouraging approach.

We listened actively and worked hard to address Vodafone’s programme requirements. When I say we, this work was delivered in the main by me and a great guy in BT called Mick Bruder. Over a 12 month period we supported Vodafone’s programme and improved the CR score to 90%. Vodafone considers a score of 90% and above to be excellent. In turn, this improvement fed into the wider programme and pushed BT into the top 15 global suppliers to Vodafone for the first time. I’d settle for excellent.

When I was subsequently asked to write the Stakeholder Engagement section of BT’s Sustainability report, I asked Vodafone if they would consider being referenced as a case study. They agreed. This delighted me, made me feel proud of the work we were doing together and really helped to cement this great working relationship.

So the next time someone asks you about the business benefits of sustainability, why not show them this story?

Three Strikes and You're Out!


14.5 miles home to office. 3.5 hours, 2640 calories burned, 4mph average speed, two sore feet. Strike One.

3 miles office to Victoria station. 35 minutes, just ignore the pain. Strike Two.

1 mile train station to home. Uphill all the way, agonisingly slow. Strike Three.

Click here for a 1 minute condensed video version of my Walk to Work

Snoop Walked to work

Tube Strike Action Plan

So there’s a planned tube strike in London starting at 7pm tonight. Mayor Boris Johnson called the planned strike “ludicrous and unnecessary disruption”. It certainly feels like a dumb thing to do to your customers. I have to be in London on Thursday. My bicycle is broken so I’ve decided to walk to work instead. I called into Radio London and told them about my planned adventure. Paul Ross asked me if I would skip at least part of the way. I will do just that and I will call Mr Ross en route just prior to the skipping section. The map shows my route, I plan to divert to take in as much parkland as practically possible. If you know any interesting places along my journey, drop me a line and I’ll try to fit them in.

Tube Bustin' Walk Route