15 weeks ago the SEC team and I packed up and went ‘agile’

Like many of you reading this – we now recognise we can deliver the same services, support and commitment from our own homes, without affecting our KPIs or strategic plans. 

It’s been fascinating to experience and, thanks to modern technology, achievable for many.  I hope you’ve mastered Teams and Zoom better than I… it feels like these systems will dominate for months and years to come.

It’s fair to say COVID-19 has impacted every single one of us – and largely in different ways.  I’ve been lucky, as many of my colleagues have – because other than the usual ups and downs we’ve remained in good health. 

There are many unknowns, but what is becoming clearer is the impact on our economy and the supply chain.  As March ‘locked-down’, and the markets, construction, and our merchants did too – the domino affect has left us all to take stock and review how we do what we do.

At SEC, the pause in momentum on the ever growing number of tenders we run came at an opportune time.  You’ll know we’d just launched into a new operational plan – it can be summed up simply that we’ll strive to do more for our Members.  To do that we’re growing our team, suite of frameworks and ability to do more bespoke work for the customer.  And, in addition we’ve got the best training plan for Members that we’ve ever had. 

We took the slow down as a chance to plan, to re-write procedure, grow ideas and make ourselves the easiest we possibly can be to work with.  We looked at our project work – each one with you, the customer in mind.

Speaking to many of our customers, we recognise there hasn’t been ‘one size fits all’ in how COVID-19 has impacted on your business and future plans.  But, we do know you’ve all turned focus to your front line services – and rightly so.  On a side note you’ll see we could support you with PPE – that’s still available and will remain so if you need it.

But, without wishing to distract – we’ve been consistent in our message that now is the right time to plan your procurement effectively.  Now, is the time to talk to us about your procurement plans and your considerations.  SEC has always wanted to see itself as an extension to your own teams – so use us to assist.  It’s a simple yet effective Member benefit.

Some examples of how we can help include:

  • Talking about our framework rates and specifications – we build intelligent models that provide oodles of cost information to assist with informed decisions.  We’re confident we can save you money

  • Use us to run expressions of interest for you – we can use these to gauge interest in the market, availability of contractors and resources

  • Use our frameworks to save yourself time!  Our models are OJEU compliant and market tested.  Framework call offs can take 2-3 weeks for a direct award or 8-10 weeks for a mini competition. 

  • We can run you bespoke services.  If you need to start from scratch and a framework isn’t your favored option – talk to us about our ability to write you a specification and deliver a bespoke tender for you

  • Allow us to share intelligence and news from across the sector.  We regularly share knowledge amongst the network.  Tell us what you need to know.

  • Get booked on to our training sessions (they’re mainly Member benefit now) and each one will be delivered with the new-normal in mind

  • Join us for our ‘Not on the Roadshows’ where we’ll talk about some of these items…

… And above all, invite us to your team meetings, executive teams where you want us to talk in greater detail about the above.

On that note, its worth mentioning that SEC framework contractors have largely returned to the ‘new normal’ now and already seen growth in the number of tenders in the market – there remains optimism about what’s achievable. SEC echo that message too.

It’s also worth reminding you that by using SEC frameworks you’ll also benefit from the due diligence we do.  We monitor all 250 contractors across our 17 frameworks to assess that they’re a good match for you and are financially strong.

It’s clear organisations like SEC have a big role to play in helping our customers to pick up the pace of delivery of high quality procurement exercises.

We’re at your service and ready to assist.

Marc Baines, Managing Director, South East Consortium

marc.baines@southeastconsortium.org.uk