Dale Turner, Director of Procurement & Supply Chain, introduced the session by talking about the importance of support and buy in from senior management which has been instrumental to their success and ensuring the principles behind their supply chain model are not bolted on but core values to the business.
A sustainable supply chain is not just about environmental impact but also considers other issues such as community and social impact, equality, diversity, inclusion and procuring to best value. In designing the procurement policies there was a thorough process of identifying key standards that need to be achieved and then setting a coherent message on what good supply chain practice is. It involved talking to key internal and external stakeholders and exploring what their challenges and aspirations were. When working with the supply chain, it is important to work with them through the process in a collaborative way. This is especially important when working with SMEs who may not currently have the same capabilities and resources as larger business.
When the issue of cost was raised, Dale pointed out that in some instances Skanska incur a minimal immediate cost of taking the ‘sustainable approach’ as opposed to the standard; however the long term value tended to be worth the initial expense with most instance seeing a greater whole life cost.
One of the ways Skanska has further engaged with suppliers to help organisation’s improve their competency has been through the Supply Chain Sustainability School. It is an online learning platform designed to help the construction sector assess and improve their knowledge of sustainability issues facing the construction industry. The School allows suppliers to self assess against a range of trade specific questions about their sustainability knowledge and application. The result is a tailor made action to work on in the next 12 months before doing another self assessment.
The Supply Chain Sustainability School has led to greater engagement with Skanska’s suppliers and Skanska continues to strengthen relationships with customers and suppliers as a result of it. Find out more about Skanska's supply chain programme here.