60 Second Interview with Anne Toone, Category Tower Director
We recently caught up with Anne Toone, Tower Director for NHS Supply Chain: Office Solutions (Category Tower 9).
Anne is a MCIPS qualified procurement professional, with over 20 years procurement experience gained across the public sector and will shortly complete 40 years working in the Civil Service.
She has been with Crown Commercial Service (CCS) for nine years and Category Tower 9 Director since the beginning of the contract (October 2017) having worked closely on the transition of the Office Solutions service from DHL to Supply Chain Coordination Limited (SCCL).
Prior to joining CCS, Anne worked for HMRC across multiple categories and her role in driving the public sector collaboration agenda led to her managing Print and Office Supplies categories across the public sector for CCS. Anne is also a Mental Health First Aider and an Inclusion and Diversity Champion.
CCS manages the Office Solutions categories including stationery and office supplies, printed stationery, batteries and torches, office furniture and Patient IDs.
How have you found your first three years and what challenges did you initially face?
Having been the first Category Tower to go live, we had additional pressure of being the first pathfinder through every new process! With such a wide-ranging portfolio of often low value common goods categories, we accept we are perhaps sometimes lower in the list of priorities for some customers and this can be challenging for the team at times.
Your Category was recently awarded its fourth-year extension, congratulations! What does this mean to you and what can we expect to see during this year?
Thank you! We are absolutely delighted, we feel we have really started to make in-roads into some of the areas we are planning for growth for the Tower, such as managed print, hybrid mail and growing our office furniture and technology offerings for the NHS.
How has your Category had to adapt to Covid-19 and what changes have you seen?
Our focus switched to non-medical PPE and safer working supplies. We did see a general decline in stationery due to home working but are seeing that trend reversing within the health sector. We remain flexible in making sure we can continue to source the products our customers need whether in a home or office setting. We have received many enquiries requesting antimicrobial fabric office furniture – for example Perspex screens and technology peripherals to support the new ways of working.
What have you learned about your team and the business?
Just how resilient we are individually and as a business. I am very proud of the team, never more so than during this pandemic. We were able to flex resources and offer support to other areas of the business, but also maintain BAU (Business As Usual) and support critical Health Programmes.
Looking forwards what are your key priorities over the remainder of this financial year and into the next?
Priorities for Category Tower 9 are to grow our offering to ensure we can provide NHS colleagues with total office solution requirements. We are very much focused on embedding environmental and social value solutions within our commercial agreements and we also have a busy time ahead with plenty of procurement activity in the pipeline for the re-let of our frameworks.
What advice would you give suppliers wanting to work with the NHS Supply Chain?
We know the market is changing and will be impacted for some time and we need to ensure the direction we take aligns with those of both existing and future suppliers to the NHS. We want to hear from you, understand your challenges and learn where you see opportunities and innovation.
In the future, will look to hold supplier briefings and workshops linked to our new procurement activity and encourage you to look out for any invitation. To get in touch please contact:
Is there any message you would like to share with suppliers?
Never has the resilience of our supply chain been tested to this extent, so thank you for your continued support to our NHS.