Getting to the Heart of Collaboration

Peter Masonbrook
Collaboration is much talked about in the construction industry and is now underpinned by BS 11000, the first national standard for collaborative business relationships.

BS 11000 provides a structured approach to help organisations develop and manage effective ways of working together. This enables an organisation of any size and sector to apply best practice principles to its own way of working and has wide applications for public, private and not for profit organisations on how to manage valuable business relationships within the supply chain.

The BE.CSPL approach to collaborative working means having open and honest relationships with aligned objectives, shared best practice and knowledge that ultimately benefits the client, end user and the community.

Putting BS 11000 into practice takes commitment and planning, as demonstrated when the Built Environment Consultancy Services Partnership Limited (BE.CSPL) partners took the opportunity to review supply chain strategy. We were keen to engage early with our collective supply chain partners in the true spirit of BS 11000, ensuring that the entire supply chain is actively part of our shared understanding of collaboration.

The BE.CSPL approach to collaborative working means having open and honest relationships with aligned objectives, shared best practice and knowledge that ultimately benefits the client, end user and the community. It also recognises that there will be self-interest from all parties, but by enabling alignment to organisational and project requirements there will be a shared benefit.

The benefits of BE.CSPL collaboration

Self interest is a crucial element to collaboration, recognising its existence and defining it plays a huge part in developing successful long term beneficial relationships ultimately leading to greater revenue, increased profitability and demonstrated value for money.

Building long lasting collaborative ways of working as opposed to short term wins has an abundance of mutual benefits, these include increasing the opportunity for being innovative where the best solution and ideas can be presented and delivered to the client. Collaborative working relationships become more intuitive and over time we will have better coordination, tighter processes and streamlined efficiencies.

Our approach is to create an environment where we can engender behaviours that will drive efficiency and build consistent core behaviours across the partnership. Learning from each other and sharing best practice will build our strong customer focussed team that will ensure value for money and continual improvement is always delivered for our clients.

Learning from each other and sharing best practice will build our strong customer focussed team that will ensure value for money and continual improvement is always delivered for our clients.

In addition to our clients benefiting from these outputs, our supply chain will also benefit from further growth that will result from the outputs of more effective communication, improved processes, fairer payment, and greater access to opportunity pipeline. SMEs (small and medium enterprises) can also benefit from the opportunity to share best practice and knowledge without commercial risk.

The joint venture between Faithful+Gould, Arcadis, Bilfinger GVA and Grant Thornton is unique in its field, four world class organisations with a shared ethos and passion to deliver transformational, best value solutions to public sector clients.

Facilitated by the Institute for Collaborative Working we undertook a series of workshops that provided an excellent forum for harnessing the teams' enthusiasm, developing a common understanding of collaboration, and the values and behaviours that enable it to happen. We deliberated ways of measuring the benefits so that we can continually improve together. The day concluded with a draft of our collaborative working charter which everyone contributed to.

The workshop sets the scene for future collaborative events. In the next stage, we'll be exploring client base synergies and developing plans to capture additional value from our relationships – with a focus on improved service delivery and best value for our client.

Written by

Peter Masonbrook National Supply Chain and Performance Framework Manager Contact me View my profile >