Monday, 29 January 2018

IChemE webinar series: Engineering Procurement January 2018 - part 3; Price, Cost and Value

So the next webinar in our series is tomorrow, Tuesday 30th January 2018 at 9am and 4pm.

This time I am going to be talking about Price, Cost and Value.  As well as looking at the Total Cost Iceberg, we shall touch on Volkswagen Group cars, the world's most expensive painting to date (see above) and why bottled water costs so much at Schipol airport.

Hopefully something in there for you.

The previous 2 webinars are available for purchase, and the last one will be next Wednesday 7th February 2018 and will give some (hopefully) useful hints and tips for improving Engineering Procurement.

Details are here.

Friday, 19 January 2018

IChemE webinar series: Engineering Procurement January 2018 - part 2

We have run the first module of four and the next one is on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 at 9am and 4pm.  These are 2 different sessions so that we can pick the best recording and make it available for purchase on line.

So if you missed the first one you can still catch up by buying the course, and then joining in.  I am happy to take questions as we go along, or at the end - which of course you cannot do unless you are joining the live sessions.

The first session was Introduction to Engineering Procurement.
The next one is about Supplier Positioning - how we segment what we spend, and how we get the right relationships with our suppliers.

Full details of the courses (or the recordings) is here.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Carillion - a little extra input

Couple of talking points keep coming up about Carillion. 

Firstly that contracts should not be awarded to the lowest bidder - they usually are not in the Public Sector, but are awarded on the basis of Most Economically Advantageous Tender, i.e. Value for Money.  Obviously price is a factor.

Secondly, sub-contractors accuse companies like Carillion of not paying promptly (Carillion seem to have used factoring of invoices, so that should not be a problem).  Public Contracts require contractors to pay sub-contractors within 30 days.  If they do not then a) the sub-contractor can charge interest at 8% above base rate (i.e. 8.5% at the moment) b) the public sector client can arrange to pay sub-contractors directly and c) late payment may be held against them as a reason for not allowing them to bid for future contracts (in extremis).

I'm not saying these are not problems - they are - but there are existing provisions that could deal with them if applied and enforced.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Carillion - public sector contracts

I am sure that there are going to be a lot of "hot takes" on Carillion going into administration.  It is too early for me to go into it in detail, but a couple of key points to think about.

1. Procurement has to look at Risk as well as price and cost - a consolidation of suppliers may lead to efficiencies but can also increase risk
2. Bigger is not necessarily safer than smaller.  Think also of Connaught and the hard work Serco have had to do to turn themselves round from a big operating loss.
3. Apart from banks no UK business is too big to fail.
4. Contract management is key for the public sector.  It ensures contractors cannot make up for underbidding by changes and variations
5. Buyers need to be very careful about possible underbidding (by SMEs and charities as well as big contractors) - companies need to make enough profit to ensure they survive when things go wrong.  And at some point they will.
6. Split supply may be safer, but less efficient
7. Privately owned companies are not perfect.  I know that is obvious, but it is not what we sometimes hear when we talk about private companies delivering public services.
8. Public sector contracts normally prevent suppliers from assigning contracts to third parties without the buyer's permission.  We hear the government as been ensuring that Carillion contracts can be easily passed on to a new contractor of our choice.  That is good news.
9. I would not expect many of Carillion's contracts to be re-tendered in the near future.  Short term continuity will take precedence over the need for competition.
10. This will look bad on the UK, as overseas contracts will also be thrown into disarray including work on the Qatar world cup which like all such projects is on a tight timetable.
11.Finally, spare a thought for the sub-contractors and suppliers.  They are likely not to be paid anything for a long time, and then be offered pennies on the pound.  It is likely some will go bust.  It is not their fault, nor (most) of Carillion's staff and I hope they manage to get through.

This is another major shock to Britain's construction industry (after the collusion prosecutions, and Connaught).  I hope it can bounce back quickly

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

IChemE webinar series: Engineering Procurement January 2018

I am delighted to be dipping my toes into the webinar waters with a series on Engineering Procurement for IChemE.

These 4 webinars will be first run in January/February 2018, and will then be available to purchase from IChemE.

Details are here. 

We start on Tuesday 16th January 2018 9am and 4pm.  The advantage of joining us then is that you can take part in the live Q&A sessions.

Hope you can join us.
PS (sorry about getting the day wrong - definitely Tuesday 16th - part 2 Tuesday 23rd January 2018)