Black Country firms scoop £3.5m contracts on new Smethwick hospital

MMH artist's impressionSeveral Black Country SMEs are celebrating after collectively winning contracts worth more than £3.5m for works on the new Midlands Metropolitan Hospital.

Joining forces to tender for the work, a group of local firms worked closely with Sandwell Council’s Think Sandwell team to access a range of support and help with early engagement, procurement and supply chain support initiatives.

The group was led by Oldbury-based Glendale Architectural Metalworks Ltd, which specialises in the manufacture and installation of balustrading, bespoke fabrications, staircases and feature metalwork. The company has now won a prestigious contract to supply general internal metalworks and secondary external fabrications for multiple packages of balustrading and hand railing for the hospital.

Other firms involved in the cluster include specialist glass processors MiGlass, Multi Quick Powder Coaters in Smethwick, Speedy Services, CMK Metal Finishings in Oldbury, Metal Supermarket and D Wilson Architectural Metalworks in West Bromwich.

Nick Rose, director of Glendale Architectural Metalworks Ltd, said: “We’ve always found Sandwell Council’s initiatives have given us great impetus. Their efforts in encouraging supply groups to work together at the pre-award stage of the Midland Metropolitan Hospital has proved to be invaluable to small firms like ours. Pivotal to our success has been Sandwell Council’s visionary formation of SME clusters to explore the local economic and environmental benefits achieved through collaborative work.”

The Think Sandwell team worked with the cluster group at the pre-tender stage of the procurement process, including holding procurement efficiency workshops, design meetings with architects and organising site visits for the procurement leads from Carillion to visit manufacturers in the cluster group.

These visits gave them the opportunity to view product designs, engineering capabilities and to discuss methods of manufacture and value-added reverse engineering options. Carillion, the preferred bidder selected by the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust to deliver the new Midlands Metropolitan Hospital, was fully supportive of this unique cluster approach to procurement.

The cluster group also worked with the Think Sandwell team to improve their buying skills and cost-competitiveness, negotiation skills and spend-mapping. This allowed firms to look at areas of possible joint procurement of materials and to gain a better knowledge of how sustainable procurement, localism and collaboration with other SMEs can win work, increase margins and reduce carbon and material mileage.

The group established opportunities to inter-trade and identified potential cost savings that contributed towards a competitive collaborative bid. The effect of the new unified businesses will generate a high demand for materials and sub-contract processes which filter further down the supply chain, which in turn will create training opportunities, generate and sustain jobs.

Sandwell’s unique approach of forming cluster groups of firms to pool their resources and work together on local regeneration projects has been a huge success. “We are stronger when we work together” is the cluster group’s motto, and this certainly seems to have been the case in this initiative.

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