It's all about logistics.

Burdens' utilities partnership work delivers savings

Published:  01 October, 2010

BRISTOL: Partnership working between Burdens Utilities and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) helped the water company cut costs by focusing on logistics.

Jamie Major, managing director of the specialist builders' merchant Burden Utilities believes merchants still have a very important role to play in the construction industry, and the civil engineering sector in particular.

"There has been so much focus on buyers battering down the best deal but a buying department is plagued by short-termism. The focus is on negotiating and clamping down a product or service's best price for a project. Once that is done the buyers will move on to the next scheme and start the whole process again; its misses so much," Mr Major said.

He cites as proof the relationship and results Burdens Utilities and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water have developed over the two years they have been working together. When the water company was looking at the way it was going about its business, Burdens Utilities was convinced there were huge operational savings to be made.

"We were an outsourcing organisation. That in itself puts a great deal of power in the hands of our supply chain partners," said Paul Beeslee, DCWW supply chain manager.

"We wanted to have more control and to drive value. We had a pretty standard supply contract before but we thought about whether we could get better value through a different sort of service.

"The key for DCWW was to have a supply partner who shared its vision of driving innovation and value through the whole supply chain."

Burdens can monitor stocking levels and trim them to suit the requirements of the supply chain. It can also maintain the 'churn' of materials – the maximum length of time materials stay in storage before being used, all of which helps to boost performance and save cash.

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