Skanska has been working with surrey firms as it prepares for a number of opportunities in the county, including a multi-million pound council property contract.
In April more than 80 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) attended a Skanska ‘meet the buyer’ event hosted by the Surrey Chambers of Commerce.
Woking Borough Council is looking for companies to supply numerous services for its 65 properties across the county including everything from repairs and maintenance, security, waste management, and window cleaning. Skanska’s facilities services division delivers many service-based contracts across the country covering healthcare, education, defence and municipal services, delivered through both private and public investment.
In Surrey, Skanska employs over 273 local suppliers and subcontractors and in 2012 spent over £48 million in the local economy. It wants to build on its existing relationships with the Surrey business community, so that it can use the best local sub-contractors to deliver services for local people.
Louise Punter Chief Executive of the Surrey Chambers of Commerce said: “ It was a great and informative event. It is good to see a company taking the time and trouble to engage with local businesses.”
Jon Chown, Operations Director for Skanska’s Facilities Services division, explained the reasons behind meeting with SMEs early. He said: "Engaging with potential suppliers early on creates a win-win situation for both parties, ensuring our tender offers the best solutions for our clients and the local economy.
“Although we are a national company we understand the importance of using local suppliers and businesses. Local sourcing provides improved value for money and helps sustain the local economy, employment and environment. I believe we made some genuinely great contacts – with companies that can bring a real difference to our submission.
“It also gives our potential suppliers time to adapt and align with us – they have to demonstrate they are safe, green and ethical. This can be a challenge for some SMEs so we provide practical help to get the right accreditations. One such example is the supply chain sustainability school, a free online resource where companies can get up to speed with sustainability and work through any accreditations they may need.”
At the event Paul Nutton Procurement Manager for Skanska UK, quoted some key facts about its supply chain: “Skanska UK has 5,500 suppliers and subcontractors, and 67% of these are SMEs, so you can see how important they are to our business.”
The event was held at the Holiday Inn, in Woking, next door to Skanska's recently refurbished office, Hollywood House. The office has achieved the highest ever environmental LEED rating for a fit-out of an existing building and has recently received awards for the refurbishment. The building has been fitted out with the latest green technologies and now gets all of its heat and electricity supply from the local Thameswey energy centre. As a result carbon emissions have been reduced by 55%, water usage reduced by 55%, and the overall energy consumption reduced by 44%. As well as the cost saving in utility bills the occupants also benefit from an improved working environment.”