Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has recently announced his intention to reopen some of the train routes that were removed during the Beeching cuts in the 1960s, severing links between many towns and villages.
Closer to Executive Compass’s home in the north of England, the Metro network, which connects most of Tyne and Wear, will be expanding into the neighbouring counties of County Durham and Northumberland. While we live in a digital age and can order online, work remotely, or simply drive our own cars to work, railway line expansions and changes to existing networks are becoming more prevalent across the UK.
Opportunities for suppliers
Convenience aside, the sheer scale and complexity of railway expansions create a multiplicity of opportunities for local and national businesses, with services including:
- Civil engineering to aid in the design, construction and maintenance of the railways
- Electrical engineering and its various sub-fields, such as computer engineering
- Mechanical engineering to assist in rejuvenating and servicing existing infrastructure
- Industrial engineering to refine and perfect service delivery, eliminating wasted time, money, and materials.
Digging further, they also open opportunities for suppliers of standard items, such as ballast and sleepers, to more intricate specialist items, such as switch gears for catenary lines, or palisade fencing. Further still, opportunities are also available for suppliers of plant and heavy machinery to facilitate the development of new lines. And even with all these requirements, we haven’t mentioned the main workforce delivering the works, and their need for additional training, PPE, and welfare units.
Increased demand means increased opportunity for your business, whether through tendering as the main service provider, applying as a subcontractor to larger organisations, joining a framework, or maintaining your position as a trusted part of a supply chain. Of course, it also means more competition, as multiple organisations vie for positions.
Preparing for the tender stage
From the Latin phrase praemonitus, praemunitus: forewarned, is forearmed. While no business is likely to be following Julius Caesar’s approach to expansion, notification of emerging opportunities should always prompt businesses to re-evaluate their procurement strategy by:
- Revisiting bid libraries to confirm they reflect your current abilities – your 2016 application may not have details of your 2017, bespoke, purpose-built IT system.
- Updating references – you may have some excellent references, but are they the most relevant? Make sure you keep a range of references, and pick and choose them by their relevance to your potential client
- Draft, draft, draft – narrative responses need to be engaging. You can write a perfectly coherent and competent response, but without vigour or persuasion, it will be just another tender.
- Tender to win, not to take part – second place is first to lose. Make sure you are not just saying why you can deliver the service, but how you can deliver it better than anyone else
- Consider certification – your in-house system may be aligned with ISO 9001 principles, but would your client rather have something that is aligned with its standards, or actually certified?
At Executive Compass, we know that the devil is in the detail with procurement; through a combination of accumulated knowledge of procurement, a persuasive in-house style, and focussed, evidence-based narrative, we can help you to secure more contracts and grow your business.
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