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14.04.16

Network Rail looking to build local supply bases as routes devolved

As Network Rail moves towards devolving local accountabilities to its routes it will attempt to make it much easier for local businesses and SMEs to deal with it going forward, Nick Elliott, MD of the organisation’s National Supply Chain, has said.

Responding to an audience question about the difficulty SMEs have in dealing with Network Rail during the supply chain engagement platform at Infrarail, facilitated by RTM, he said that there is already a large proportion of SMEs working with the infrastructure owner.

He added that approximately £7.5bn a year is spent with Network Rail’s major capital project organisations, which contract work to SMEs on Network Rail’s behalf. But the organisation also deals directly with a large number of small businesses, noted Elliott.

“But if you've read the Shaw report, in terms of Network Rail’s future direction of travel, we are very much trying to move towards devolution of local accountabilities to our routes,” he said.

“As part of that, we are looking at how we build local supply bases to cut through national bureaucracy and allow local organisations to buy much more simply.”

He added that on the major capital works project side, Network Rail has had a very effective organisation called the Commercial Directors forum, a joint forum between all the principal contractors and Network Rail. “We are now trying to cascade that down into Tier 2 and Tier 3, and taking that national forum to a regional forum which encompasses a lot more of the supply chain,” said Elliott.

Full coverage from the supply chain engagement platform and Infrarail 2016 will be in the April/May edition of RTM.

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