How do you choose between suppliers who have similar skills and experience? How do you select a partner you will be able to work with for the next 10 years? I’m Ian Arbuckle, Assistant Head of Commercial Services at DIO. When choosing our construction suppliers for the 10 year £1.3bn programme to develop and upgrade infrastructure at HMNB Clyde we wanted to find a solution that would deliver a challenging, varied and complex programme of work while ensuring this critical Naval facility can continue to operate.
This is a very large and incredibly important programme and we wanted to be sure to get it right. DIO Commercial established a dedicated team to develop the Clyde Commercial Framework supported by procurement specialists from Mott MacDonald and Jacobs.
It was clear that any of the five prequalified companies were technically capable of delivering the work. So what would make the difference between success and just getting the job done? The answer was clearly people, relationships and the ability to work collaboratively.
The team’s analysis concluded that, rather than a single contract, a framework of multiple contracts was the best fit for the programme providing the opportunity to build long term relationships whilst still encouraging a level of competition between the chosen companies. Feedback from potential suppliers at our various industry days was supportive of this approach.
The Clyde team worked with behavioural experts to set out the criteria for successful companies. This team of experts then observed and analysed behaviours in order to support the evaluation of each company as they took part in a series of practical exercises with members of the Clyde project teams. This included a series of interviews and workshops where companies worked together with the Clyde team to develop objectives, discuss how they would approach the work and how they would go about implementing their plans. We used this information to choose three suppliers we felt we had build the best relationships with. The companies we chose were VolkerStevin, Kier Graham Defence and Morgan Sindall.
We have been able to select three contractors for our 10 year framework with whom we are confident that we will be able to work together to overcome the inevitable challenges and problems that working on a live operational base will throw at us. We know that because we have already spent quality time working with the individuals committed to the framework working together to produce real useable outputs, we have talked face to face and had open, honest and challenging conversations with them, we have witnessed how they work as a team and work with us and their supply chain and we have jointly learned through the process how to get the best out of working in a collaborative manner, but most importantly we have all enjoyed the process and had fun.
Only time will tell if we have got it right, but we know we have three good partners to work with and we have a team that is better prepared to make the framework a success, we have all grown through the process and are committed to continue to learn from each other and share that learning. The process we have developed aligns with the DIO Commercial Strategy and paves the way for better value delivery of its capital programme which bodes well for the DIO as an intelligent client organisation and for its future industry partners.