A sustainable approach to the selection of contractors helped Bovis Lend Lease win a £2.4bn contract to build schools in the UK’s second city of Birmingham according to its head of supply chain management, Nigel McKay.
Bovis, one of the world’s largest project management and construction companies, won the contract earlier this month, and McKay, speaking exclusively to SustainableSourcing, claims that the work done on improving the sustainability of suppliers and contractors gave his company the edge.
“We won that bid based on the supply chain management and diversity policies because we had all of this in place and could demonstrate it,” he said.
Mckay said that up to 30% of his working week is now spent on sustainability issues because a huge amount of day-to-day operations now include aspects of it as a matter of force. “In the company, there are five sustainability targets,” he explained. “The first one is carbon reduction, the second one is a reduction of waste, the third one is responsibly-sourced materials, fourth is community which leads into diversity and the other is sustainable design. Elements of all of those are delivered through the procurement process which is why every one of those imperatives is also in my business plan.”
Mckay has defined a new accreditation scheme called Building Confidence, a joint venture managed by Achilles on behalf of Bovis and two partners. “What we’ve done is a two-day audit to assess every one of our top-tier contractors and we have managed to get other main players and their clients involved so they’re pushing their contractors our way as well.
“We’ve got 329 companies going through this process – they’re anybody that at the moment we spend anything in excess of £100,000 a year with.”
Mckay is now in the second year of the audit process, and so far in 2009 seven out of nine contractors who failed the audit last year have now passed and achieved full accreditation. “We’re making headway now. We see this as a continuous improvement tool. We don’t see it as a way of selecting which contractors we’re not going to deal with. This is about saying to the guys, ‘look, you’re long-term partners with us,’” he said.
As part of that continuous improvement, suppliers and contractors have to join in and get involved, he said. “At the end of the day, they [contractors] have to get out of the victim mode and into the opportunity mode,” he said.
Bovis puts his contractors through a rigorous audit process, which includes several questions which are continually updated. Scores are given against each of those questions and a pass, or a fail, awarded.
Article by David Rae
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