The client organisation for the £14.8bn project has publicly committed to creating a level playing field for SMEs and is now using information from Tier 1 contractors to map out the identity, geography and size of all its suppliers.
The map, which is being complied by programme supply chain manager John Mead -who carried out a similar, but less detailed, study on the 2012 Olympics - and head of procurement Martin Rowark, is likely to cover more firms than the 6,000 suppliers mapped for London 2012 as it will delve much further into contractors’ supply chains.
“We want to understand if we are achieving our commitments on SME engagement and apprentices and where that’s helping the UK economy,” Mead told the magazine. “We want to know why and where suppliers are winning work, how many employees they have, the ethnicity of their ownership, and the number of apprentices they employ.”
To date, Crossrail has advertised more than 1,200 contract opportunities, with more than 400 contracts already awarded. According to Mead, going to the market early and advertising extensively has ensured that smaller contractors have been able to compete for work on their own terms, rather than wait for major contractors to bring work to the market.
“Lots of Tier Two [contractors] have never had to go through an OJEU-compliant process and a lot won’t even know what that means,” he told CN. “They won’t necessarily be monitoring TED [Tenders Electronic Daily] to see the opportunities, so we make sure we show them what we’re buying, where we are in the process and then once we have a shortlist we’ll put that on our website.”