What Collaboration Means to Us

All organisations tendering for a major project or framework will claim to have a collaborative approach. Some may even claim to be passionate about it. But what does it mean?
Clearly, any significant infrastructure project – particularly those that involve multi-tiered supply chains – can’t hope to be delivered successfully without a high degree of collaboration.

Clients are under pressure to deliver value through increased efficiency. Collaboration is essential to generate greater cost savings, service improvement as well as improved innovation and value creation.

But to consistently deliver tangible gains such as budget savings, reduced risk and superior quality, collaboration needs direction and structure.

In simple terms, how does collaboration help if organisations have different understandings of what it means? Is it really collaboration if they are not ‘collaborating’ in the same ways, with a clear open understanding of outcomes and using the same language and methods?

Collaboration has to be a practical reality rather than an aspiration. This philosophy has driven Osborne Infrastructure to achieve accreditation for the formal standard: BS11000 Collaborative Business Relationships – Part 1.

Why BS11000 is so Important

There are sound commercial reasons for gaining accreditation. Applying consistent standards reduces and shares risk between all partners. It defines a process of working together to enable each partner to better understand each other, identify common goals, and agree how value will be generated and measured.

Risk can be placed where it can be best addressed so that multiple partners are not wasting time and cost managing the same risk.

Outcomes and Value

Increasingly, collaboration is seen by public and private sector clients as essential to transform the outcomes and value delivered through the contracts they put out to tender. BS11000 is seen as the tool that will deliver that collaboration.

Clients are becoming more focused on Tier 1 Contractors who can demonstrate commitment, expertise and achievement in relation to collaboration. ITTs routinely ask questions intended to tease out exactly what practicalities lie behind bidding organisations’ claims to be collaborative.

Contractors of all types are also seeking a supply chain that can work collaboratively. They are doing this to fully realise the benefits that they have committed to with their clients.

More opportunities are being linked to BS11000 and collaboration, either formally or ‘in principle’. Consequently, the ‘non-collaborative’ market opportunity available to organisations who cannot work within the BS11000 framework will shrink and become increasingly competitive.

For Osborne, BS11000 certification will deliver significant benefits. It will:

  • Demonstrate to customers, competitors, suppliers, staff and investors that we use industry-respected best practices to promote collaborative working.
  • Help to demonstrate to stakeholders that our business is run effectively and that we are continually improving and refining our activities.
  • Provide greater levels of motivation of people with a greater understanding of each other.
  • Improve overall performance, remove uncertainty and widen market opportunities.

Above all, certification is an independent and public verification of the fact that, when it comes to collaboration, we practice what we preach.

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