Collaborate to innovate, says leading supplier


Sector-wide collaboration between clients, contractors and trade bodies holds the key to maximising asset management potential in the highways sector, an industry insider has claimed.

Having been invited to present talks to members of the National Joint Utilities Group (NJUG) on the benefits of collaboration, leading supplier of ductile iron access covers and grating solutions PAM Saint-Gobain is already helping lead the way in developing more efficient supply chain working practices.

PAM Saint-Gobain said working with trade and professional bodies such as the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA), and ADEPT was key to spreading best practice and boosting collaboration throughout the sector.

The company is seeking to work even more closely with clients through forums in trade and sector bodies, helping boost stakeholder investment to improve research and development.

Marketing manager, Paul Thompson, argued further collaboration throughout the supply chain holds the key to realising untapped savings and suggested the highways sector could learn from telecoms and other utilities where longer contract deals helped support more innovation.

He added that long-term budgets stretching beyond the typical five-year parliamentary term, as seen in the telecoms sector, would help by providing clients with the security they need to invest more in research and engage more with the clients future needs.

‘Every year we learn more and build on the work we have done before so longer contract arrangements, such as the seven year arrangement we have with BT, would help us understand the client’s needs more,’ he said.

‘We would like to see written into the specification for tenders a greater onus placed on collaboration and the ability to reduce whole life costs,’ he said.

‘We place a great emphasis on right first time. By taking a bit more time and spending a bit more money up front we estimate that we can save a client £1800 to £1900 per access cover every 10 years.’

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