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Public sector frameworks focus too much on price

Despite holding the necessary ‘badges’ to be bid ready, many SME contractors find the public sector procurement process lengthy, expensive, whilst remaining price sensitive.

This is particularly the case for SME contractors, such as us, who after securing places on the public sector framework find the subsequent mini competition arena ultra-competitive, encouraging unsustainable tendering among framework contractors; which we feel is counterintuitive for all stakeholders.

“Public sector procurement process can be very prolonged, difficult to navigate and expensive”

Despite delivering public sector projects successfully in the past, our experience is that the public sector procurement process can be very prolonged, difficult to navigate and expensive. 

We are now very selective in our participation and have elected to focus on the Small Works Framework opportunities. Such opportunities tend not to appeal to the larger incumbent national contractors, but are of great significant to SMEs, often yielding low value yet high frequency sustainable work streams.

Whether it be private or public sector, we seek to engage with clients that within their hierarchy of project aspirations, they place quality and ability to deliver over price. 

Growth Strategy

Our growth strategy in recent years has largely been the result of work secured within the private sector via clients who value the service provided by accredited SME contractors. Indeed, most of our private sector clients manage aggressive roll out programmes enabling us to develop a distinct knowledge of their brand and ethos, which results in regular repeat business.

“Visibility of workload is… essential for the supply chain”

This is where SMEs can excel, as we operate short management chains and utilise our in-house resource avoiding layers of ineffective management which can be prevalent in larger organisations. This direct approach allows us to achieve our repeat business clients’ aspirations time after time.

While this visibility of workload is not only important to us as the contractor, it is also essential for the supply chain. In the current market, good subcontractors are in high demand and we recognise that supply chain engagement is key to the successful delivery of any project, private or public sector.

Dave McGoff is executive director at McGoff & Byrne

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