Latest Warwick Briefing rated “a huge success”

The new format Warwick Briefing was given the thumbs up by the delegates who attended the February event – Negotiating in a Partnered Environment.  It was long enough to condense two day’s worth of knowledge and skills into 4 hours and short enough to be able to absorb plenty of ideas and really useful nuggets.

09:00-13:00hrs followed by a networking lunch seems to work and the briefing was a sell out, with some people on a waiting list for the next briefing.  What the briefing lacked by the way of practice exercises and breakout sessions, normally associated with our training workshops, it more than made up for in the quick fire practical tips and hints.  Delegates thought that half a day is relatively easy to fit in and the sharing of ideas with others from different industry sectors was a big advantage.

Regarding the content and style, here are a few delegate comments that seem to summarise why we should continue with this format.

“It is different to competitive tendering procurement processes and it was good to have our customer there”

“I now understand where we went wrong in the past”

“I gained a lot from the step by step process to follow”

“I learned how to set up the commercial principles at the beginning and make the contract fit the programme without getting down in the weeds”

Our next briefing in March will examine how to work with your supply chain to win bids, see Warwick Briefings on this page.

Nuclear Decommissioning – just another project?

The Nuclear decommissioning sector presents some pretty unique challenges.  In the UK, the process of decommissioning, dismantling and making safe our many historic nuclear facilities is managed by the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) which manages an annual budget of approximately £3bn.

A typical decommissioning project presents many challenges.  Projects are complex, risky, are constantly having to deal with uncertain legacy issues and require very specific expertise.  Safety is paramount and so inevitably timescales and costs escalate.  Many private sector companies bring their expertise and commercial focus to improve performance and drive down costs but this in itself presents challenges.  Alliances and partnerships are formed and new commercial approaches have been introduced in an attempt to control costs and provide incentives to drive performance.

All these issues present challenges for the industry, meaning that accepting the norm is no longer acceptable.  Innovation and collaboration are essential for success.

Our experience has shown that taking a collaborative working focus can help to address some of these challenges.  For example:

  • Technical complexity leads to project complexity, which leads to multiple interfaces between organisations.  Where there is an interface there is a risk. Inter-company (and indeed intra-company) collaboration is needed to ensure interface risks are minimised;
  • Partner companies working together often have different drivers.  Proactive relationship management activity can bring alignment, resolve potential conflicts and underpin performance;
  • Collaborative forms of contract, such as the NEC3 family, are designed to help.  But they are only truly effective when the behaviours of the parties are also aligned to bring a collaborative ethos alongside the collaborative form of contract;
  • Innovation often comes from engaging the entire value chain.  Suppliers at all levels need to be engaged earlier in the project lifecycle to influence the requirement and design more effectively and thus take cost out at source.  This engagement and innovation can only be realised if a collaborative approach is embedded from the outset.

So, just another project?  Not really.  Decommissioning projects require innovation, collaboration and often a creative approach so that we can expect the unexpected, foresee the unseen, simplify the complexity and focus on the efficient achievement of collective goals.