CAN to launch intelligent procurement campaign

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Following a recent workshop with its committee, Construction Alliance NorthEast (CAN) is launching a campaign to promote intelligent procurement. CAN wishes to clarify its position on what intelligent procurement means and the benefits it would deliver for the region, if adopted.

CAN was established in 2016 to create more of a level playing field for regional SME contractors when tendering for work. It was formed after the recession because many SME construction companies had been badly affected by the use of single-sourced frameworks, which excluded many from tendering – either because their turnover was too low or because they were unable to demonstrate enough similar projects.

Through intelligent procurement, CAN seeks to create a common-sense approach to tendering.  Its values relate to three aspects of ‘local’:

  • local money being spent with regional companies to ensure regional investment
  • local companies being placed at the heart of supply chain strategies to facilitate more sustainable employment opportunities – particularly for young people
  • local growth, which will follow when regional productivity increases

Local companies need more clarity about future pipelines of work to be confident about taking on more trainees and apprentices who can then develop to become the managers of the future. With the local agenda in clear view, CAN is working relentlessly with regional procurement bodies – recently we reported on its success with NEPO to raise awareness about the talent which can be found within the North East construction industry.

As one of its aims, CAN is promoting the use of selected tender lists featuring local companies, as an alternative to single-sourced frameworks and is looking for strategic support from the leaders of local public and private organisations across the North East, including their formal endorsement of intelligent procurement. The wider regional supply chain must also adopt this approach so that the right company is awarded the right job – a horses for courses approach; the use of local providers of technical skills, services and products needs prioritising, more effective collaboration is to be encouraged, the widespread adoption of digital technologies embraced, the development of processes and people re-evaluated and issues surrounding payment terms, project bank accounts and retentions resolved.

CAN is keen to work with local procurement bodies to better understand their issues and together look at better and fairer ways of procuring construction projects in the North East. While CAN undoubtedly has a massive job on its hands to effect these changes and deliver on its promise of ‘Constructing the Region’ – if successful, the North East construction industry has a bright future ahead of it.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk.