We sat down with Kevin Hogwood, Director at Walker Construction (UK) Ltd.
Walker Construction specialises in Civil Engineering, Building and Rail projects with an annual turnover of c.£40million.
Before Contracts Advance how were you sourcing public sector contract/framework notices?
We had a dedicated individual committed 100% of the time to manage 500+ portals. We also used a paid-for service from a well-known supplier which was not meeting our needs.
What was your greatest frustration about working in this way?
The time and effort searching for opportunities, downloading documentation and still missing opportunities. The reactive nature of the exercise was also an issue; it was like treading water. Constantly!
What were the key factors which gave you the confidence to consider Contracts Advance?
Firstly, it was the professionalism of the Business Development Manager who called us, to begin with. It was clear that Contracts Advance had the competence and experience of dealing with businesses in our industry and they had taken the time to properly research us.
Secondly, we felt that we would be in much safer hands compared to our previous paid-for provider. That company was not responsive to our requirements for support, and they asked for payment when we did finally get a response from them!
Thirdly, Contracts Advance’s parent company 7House could clearly bring a level of consultative support to our public sector business strategy which was needed.
How easy did you find the onboarding process and set up?
Chris Williams (Head of Client Care) and his team were fantastic. The process was very straightforward, clear and understandable.
On the consultancy side, CAA were great to deal with. Within the package, we purchased from Contracts Advance we got a day of consultancy. Matt Mitchell (Contracts Advance Consultant) immediately put everyone at ease and clearly and concisely explained how, together, we could look at our business development strategy and drive sales from the public sector market.
What have you found the most valuable aspects of the service?
Saving our team time was key. Now we are only monitoring Contracts Advance and two other private portals. The work effort has been greatly reduced and this allows that resource to be better placed elsewhere within the team.
Having access to a qualified and accurate pipeline of frameworks and contracts, in advance, is extremely valuable to us. This combined with the pre-qualification and pre-bid engagement session, where we were given the rationale and process through Contracts Advance, made a huge difference to the business developers, bid team – the wider business as a whole.
What other Contracts Advance services have you explored?
Through Contracts Advance we have gone on to buy their horizon scanning service (Horizon+) which supports our business planning and allows our bid library to be kept up to date. We have also purchased their spend analysis service (Spend+) which not only allows us to understand how our (public sector) clients are spending, and what on, but also where our competitors are making money so that we can target this – land and expand.
We are also aiming to put in place a sustainable bid training programme and to support this we will draw down modules from the CA Masterclass: Practitioner Training.
Contracts Advance helped me and my team to put together a forward-looking business development strategy, focused on the next 5 years, and take this to the Board. Using the Contracts Advance service, Horizon+, Spend+ and their Bid Management expertise we focused on the profitability of contracts and frameworks (while minimising cost) within our geographical area. Contracts Advance has supported the business to identify which factors delivered the maximum profit (twice the level of other contracts) and how to potentially save over a £1million of business development costs.
How happy are you to recommend Contracts Advance to a colleague or peer?
More than happy. I believe that I have already referred a couple of clients to you!