Why water could be the holy grail of procurement

Why reviewing alternative providers for your mains water supply, is the missing piece in solving your procurement puzzle.

If you’re involved in procurement, you’ve probably come across the Procurement Triangle, sometimes called the ‘Iron triangle’, ‘Project Management Triangle’ or many other names.

The premise is fairly simple. You have three constraints which affect the overall quality of a project, which in your case is probably procurement of some kind. These are Cost, Time and Scope. With many other procurement projects, you’ll probably have to balance each of the three constraints.

Let’s take installing LED lighting as an example project at a school.

Firstly there’s cost. The lights have to be paid for, albeit with an expected payback. This might present cash-flow issues.

Then there’s time. Although it might be a fairly quick project and therefore savings are realised within a few weeks, it might take time for planning when the school is shut, and dependent on the availability of the installer. There also might be the time for you to meet with various installers to quote for the project and discuss options.

Finally there’s scope. Installing lights at a school might involve DBS checks, safety concerns, evening or weekend opening to prevent class disruption, or having to arrange the installation outside of term time.

So – all these three constraints combine together, to assist you with planning the project and deciding whether it’s right for you.

However, could water procurement be the holy grail that prevents a net benefit for all three procurement triangle constraints? Hear us out.

For this exercise, we’re going to use a multi-site school academy trust as an example.

Currently, due to having multiple property locations, the customer is receiving not only bills from various providers, but also separate bills for fresh water and waste water/sewerage.

Not an ideal situation for any finance manager or bursar. It’s time consuming, confusing and inefficient.

So – here’s where we could argue that securing a water contract might perhaps be the answer.

Firstly, let’s consider cost. Unless the trust is in a contract already, it is highly likely that grouping water supplies together will save money. So that’s not even a constraint – it’s a benefit!

Then let’s consider time. Apart from perhaps gathering a few bills together, there’s really nothing else needed to perform a water supply and contract analysis. There certainly won’t be hours of work required.

Finally let’s look at scope. Although transferring suppliers might fill you with dread, it’s really an absolute doddle. Because you are grouping supplies together, you’re placing them into a neat and tidy, structured agreement. It’s really very simple indeed, and transfers are usually very smooth.

So, with all that in mind, water is perhaps the answer to the procurement trilemma.

Talk to us about your group water contract and let’s see if we can help you. If you would like to discuss your current accounts, or if you have any further questions, please call Daniel Walker on 01246 252788 or send him an e-mail to daniel.walker@costadvice.co.uk whereby he will be happy to help.