A shortlist of six companies battled to take this category, which is sponsored by The Prime Connection, but Laing Homes proved the strongest link in the supply chain.
Laing Homes

E-procurement lies at the heart of Laing Homes' supply chain strategy, and the company is expecting it to produce savings of £2m over the next two years. It has introduced a central website containing all service level and national agreements with suppliers, a trade site for online procurement of building materials, a stock finder which gives online access to builders' merchant stock ranges, and specific online supply routes for the procurement of items such as safety equipment and office stationery. It is also starting trials of online tendering and online working with kitchen supplier Symphony Kitchens. The housebuilder is moving to service-level agreements with suppliers, which include features such as key performance indicators for both contractors and suppliers. The company's central procurement strategy is reckoned to have saved £1.5m by reducing the number of suppliers, and to have generated contingency credits of £1.5m a year by guaranteeing levels of business to key manufacturers and streamlining procurement.

Places for People Group

The Places for People Group, which includes six registered social landlords, a private rental specialist and outright sale developer Emblem Homes, has set itself the target of procuring 80% of its construction through strategic partnering. It has already narrowed its contractor base down to three national players – Mansell, Wates Construction and Willmott Dixon Housing – plus 17 regional firms, and has accelerated a strategic partnership with regional contractor Southdale Homes as a pilot. It is too early to quantify improvements gained by the overall strategy, but the Southdale Homes partnership is already showing impressive benefits, including delivery of all schemes on time, a 30% reduction in total works costs and major savings in staff time and paperwork.

Sentinel Housing

Residents are included in the partnering approach adopted by Sentinel Housing Group. The housing association is applying partnering to transform the Central Oakridge Estate in Basingstoke into a mixed-tenure community of 300 new homes, for which residents helped to select the project team and are able to continue a dialogue with Sentinel via the scheme's website. The partnering project team includes steelwork specialist Forge Llewellyn, which has collaborated on developing designs to allow full advantage to be taken of the steel-frame system. The judges were impressed that Sentinel's partnering approach had led it to adopt and exploit the steel frame solution. The housing association is now looking at extending its approach through the use of e-procurement.

they are demonstrating that their strategy is working, and have made impressive savings with e-procurement

East Dorset Housing Association

Quality improvement and cost savings are the twin benefits East Dorset Housing Association is looking to glean from its strategic partnering approach. It selects its strategic constructor through a two-stage tender process, which recognises not only business acumen but also partnering skills in areas such as team working and supply chain integration.

Lovell Partnerships

Lovell is taking partnering down the supply chain by establishing partnerships with diverse names such as Bosch, Sky Homes, Cox Hire, British Gypsum, Jewson and Travis Perkins. The company seeks to extend the incentivisation element in partnering down the supply chain by establishing a reserve account where cost savings achieved through innovation are banked. The originator of the saving receives a share of the money as an incentive, and the final balance of the reserve account can be either shared between team members or ploughed back into the project.