In 2000, joint chief executives Edward Ainsworth and Peter Marson founded 4C Associates as a consultancy that helped companies choose the best suppliers for services such as marketing, IT and human resources. Two years ago the London firm also began buying goods and services direct for clients. Teaming up with the transport giant DHL in 2005, 4C now runs a buying and logistics division that, for example, oversees the purchasing and distribution of promotional items for BP. Its sales have rocketed 246% a year from £1.1m in 2003 to £46.2m in 2006.
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