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David Ward

David Ward

Commercially aware, I am a seasoned and resourceful professional with more than 35 years' international experience in bid & proposal management for the engineering and technical industries.

Location North Tyneside

Achievements

Activity

  • It would be interesting to know if smaller businesses have a greater tendency to treat all suppliers the same, as opposed to larger companies running 'strategic supplier' programmes. This may indicate a lack of knowledge and training on behalf of the smaller companies. My experience suggests this to be true.

  • David Ward made a comment

    I've enjoyed it - thank you!

  • David Ward made a comment

    The 'What's in it for We' approach - a set of tools to drive collaboration - let's get away from adversarial contract management

  • That 30% of companies do not treat their most important suppliers any different to the others!

  • More collaboration. This would improve communication, build trust, help all parties learn from each other and strive for mutual improvement.

  • People are the biggest barriers to change. They have to be taken through a change process that helps them understand the issue causing the change (and how it relates to them) and also what the benefits to them will be they get there.
    There is an accepted change curve that initially causes a loss of productivity before recovering over time to add...

  • Terrific. I like to see a 'Relationship Management' section in any contract that provides a framework for cooperation and communication - into this can be injected discussions about innovation and anything else that might affect the contract.

  • Complexity is a challenge, yet reducing complexity is one of the skills for the future. We need people to focus on the basics of business. If you have a department of 20 people creating metrics to check on everyone else, you're missing the point and becoming horribly unproductive as well. We forget that business is actually quite simple - understand what your...

  • Yves is a wise man. Too many times, my clients create a new function to solve an old problem. They build silos that don't talk or share. There is no trust or respect. Design 'create things we can't make'. Production 'can't make what we design'. Quality 'can't measure what we build'. Finance 'do things no-one else can understand''.
    A contract should sit at...

  • David Ward made a comment

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Vested Way document - some great examples and very engaging

  • Lucky man! You're privileged - it is rare to see this type of flow down. Make the most of it!

  • The 'We' requires a great deal of empathy for the other side - understanding how they perceive value, what is important to them and how they act in business - their culture. If you understand that, it is far easier to see how both sides can achieve a mutually beneficial solution. It no longer becomes a case of beat up the other side to get what you want....

  • Good negotiation takes a lot of training and role playing to learn the skills, then a lot of planning, discussion and preparation before you enter the room with the 'opposition'. Your must haves and 'like to haves' must be carefully understood. I'm a great believer in 'Purple' negotiation, where both sides can collaborate and win. Avoid 'Red' negotiation -...

  • Regular and open communication, at several levels of the organisations involved in the contract; potentially, open book accounting, so costs and profits are clear and apparent; greater sharing of resource, so personnel from both organisations begin to develop a 'sharing' culture - this may take the form of placing part of one company's process into the factory...

  • David Ward made a comment

    The COVID-19 crisis is certainly a 'Black Swan' event that was recognised. However, Governments are unwilling to put very large amounts of money and resource into mitigating the effects of what they see as 'extremely unlikely', even though the impact is immense.

  • I have a tough time thinking about competitors as 'stakeholders'. Using the analysis above, they fall into the 'monitor' category, which tends to be done infrequently. 'Monitor' should refer to the tax authorities, Government policy etc, something that does not move quickly. A competitor needs specific analysis skills applied to them regularly (daily in some...

  • Trust plays a key role in this question, as does the desire to build long term relationships. If a supplier has no desire to work with you long term, then you must veer toward control, via the contract (the 'stick'), rather than influencing them via a trusted relationship. A long term (assumed beneficial) relationship will encourage both parties to work...

  • A good review. Some low value, low attractiveness suppliers are still necessary in supply chains, and it's best to avoid reliance on one supplier for any parts you require. In the past, I've seen a lot of work done to 'second source' these more transactional parts.

  • Where life or death is dependent on the performance against a contract, or the defence of the nation is at risk, then powerful imbalances can exist in contracts (and some would say, rightly so). If a part is needed for a front line aircraft, then, in times of emergency, the Government will impose stringent and wide-reaching contract terms on a supplier. Under...

  • I was working for an aerospace company in Utah that had problems with a bespoke sensor made by a French company. The supplier refused to prioritise warranty repairs over other production. I had to fly to Paris and drive 3 hours to the factory, to have an unpleasant meeting with senior staff at the supplier. I came away with commitments to correct the problem,...

  • That's very true @OsmanDaema-Bangura - but it is an option that you see with larger companies, such as those that team to build an old rig.

  • David Ward made a comment

    Interesting thoughts. I believe that a supplier-customer relationship works best when the power is shared, or balanced, and the value benefits both partners 'equally'. In reality this is difficult to achieve, but striving towards a balanced relationship will only deepen trust and lengthen the term of the relationship. People like doing business with those they...

  • The stages of supply chain development mirror the same stages for integration with customers - we are also part of a supply chain, unless we are the ultimate 'consumer'. Advanced customer relationships aim for interdependency, so that the customer can't do without the partner, or supplier, and vice versa. The two develop a long term beneficial relationship...

  • The ideas around legacy and social value are somewhat alien to the private sector. Until recently, private sector companies were focused on outcomes and profit. Partnership with the public sector in the UK, and especially because of the wonderful legacy of the Games, has re-aligned some private companies to the ideals of legacy, social value, environment and...

  • Hi Siloata - click on the link above and go to the IACCM page for signing up to an account. The box that has the price in it (the default is for $200) - click on the box and a drop down appears - the free trial membership is at the bottom. Select this and sign up. I've just done this and it works OK. The trial costs nothing.

  • I am renowned for asking stupid questions - it's a skill that any interim manager needs to develop! One of my favourites is; "What if we do nothing?" This helps sharpen up the 'need' and really pull out the value of any proposed change. Change means risk means cost. Few people consider the 'do nothing' option but it must always be reviewed to understand the...

  • Any contract must understand 'what good looks like'. What are you aiming to do? What is the outcome? How do we know we've got there and how do we measure it? And more importantly - how do we measure our progress against an agreed timeline during the journey to the end?
    That way, we can see if we are on target - if not, we can review, analyse, revise and put...

  • Absolutely right Nicholas - it should not come as a surprise to named people in the delivery department that they were in the bid and are on the hook to deliver! But I've seen it happen.......

  • Good point Linda - there are a lot more learning points to come from the case study - would be good to get the perspective of the contracts managers from both sides!

  • The joy of a low price disappears long before the pain of poor quality subsides.

    I'll happily pay extra for good or high quality in pretty much everything, especially services. If I need a plumber, I'll spend a goodly amount of time making sure that he/she is reliable, well thought of and produces high quality work.

    Once I've decided on the spec of a...

  • I agree very much with these comments.

    I find that many companies think they understand what the customer perceives as value, when they don't. Many suppliers don't even ask the simple question!

    I see many opportunities for the private sector customer-supplier to work together to reduce cost (and ultimately the 'price' that the customer pays) - there...

  • I can see issues that need to be resolved;
    1. Target savings profile over time, with defined sharing of savings
    2. Agreed downtime of plant to allow upgrades, with no cost to Pilkington
    3. Payment of savings to Siemens, and agreed method of energy savings measurement
    4. Well-defined scope of project, who is responsible for it? What is the starting point...

  • There are many wide-ranging comments here. Value is always key to a contract, and that value has to be recognised by both parties.

    One of the most innovative supplier approaches I have seen involved an aerospace supplier in Ogden, Utah, who supplied major parts to Boeing. They used a lot of small parts - shims, a multitude of fasteners, nuts, etc - all of...

  • In the nuclear engineering and aerospace fields, the issue of counterfeit parts is a huge concern - and has caused deadly accidents. Something as 'simple' as a counterfeit bolt has caused the loss of an aircraft and a leak of nuclear waste.

    Counterfeiting is bad wherever and whenever it happens. If I've paid £20m to develop a perfume, I'm not going to be...

  • I bet! I seem to remember that the cold weather that year was an 'Alberta clipper'. Not nice.

  • Some very good points @Douglas Macbeth. Very often, I've had to be very tenacious about identifying background IP. It can take some time and a real attention to detail to protect it properly. I remember having to tell a draughtsman to draw a coloured box around a technical drawing to protect some 'foreground' IP in a circuit that we designed for a customer. A...

  • As an interim bid manager, I often have to complete the 'Health and Safety' section. Sadly, H&S managers don't seem to see the importance of engaging in a bid. That's sad and frustrating.
    Many see the H&S section as a box ticking exercise. So let's put that into perspective.
    During one of my assignments for a world leading engineering company, one of our...

  • 'Good customers' do not take advantage of their supply chains in any respect - and regarding the more appalling behaviours - child labour, slavery etc - how will its own people think about it when they find out? Any brand loyalty will be utterly destroyed. We need far stronger sentences against anyone directly involved in these appalling...

  • People are behind relationship management, which is at the core of building trust. I'd suggest that changing people out will damage your ability to develop long term relationships and deep trust.

  • Developing trust or developing confidence? Interesting discussion to see which comes first and how do we establish that.

  • Great comments @LindaD - putting two brains from opposite ends of the spectrum into the same contract will have interesting and explosive results! And not good ones, necessarily.

  • The thoughts are running tonight! Another one - in the aerospace/nuclear and advanced engineering industries, I've seen larger customers - such as Rolls-Royce and Parker Aerospace - put 'Industrial Engineers' (who work for the procurement departments) into key suppliers, especially ones that are new to the company. The idea is not to spy on them, but to help...

  • Another quick point - I've seen increasing numbers of contracts (usually quite large ones) require both parties to identify 'key people' for the delivery of that contract. Any changes to that list must be identified and talked through with the other party. If the list changes regularly, that's a bad thing! Instability and too much change adds risk. The other...

  • Relationship Management is at the heart of trust building - people do business with people, not bricks and mortar. So how you deal with people is key to your success. The culture of a company is also important and I know that SCMG has done important work here - if your company is full of 'touchy, feely, sensitive' people who rely on trust and sharing to get a...

  • It's a long time ago and I've been through several new PC's since then - but I will try to find it. I'll probably be embarrassed at how naive it was. But worth a look.
    Risk is one of the factors that limits your ability to grow and survive. I'd caution against always taking large risks - by definition, the numbers will one day work against you. High risks and...

  • ...and you need a process to capture the comments and learning as you go. It needs to be a rigorous and documented process, to force you to do it. When things get busy, it's one of the things forgotten about or sidelined.

  • Great call @LavonneWhitlock . What is often forgotten is that a solid process is needed to capture the data as you go through the contract, which then allows you to develop the lessons. If you don't capture the data at the right time, it's almost impossible to go back and recreate it. And doing lessons learned (or learning by experience - LFE) is a real chore...

  • I'd look for;
    Risk and reward - how do we manage and mitigate risks - and who is responsible (the Senior Risk Owner - SRO).
    Profit margins - how robust are the estimates? How do we measure what our costs and margins are? Is there a cost that we are particularly sensitive to - such as one exchange rate risk, or a supplier with a large percentage of the...

  • Great comment Caitlin. I've previously had to deal with large companies with 'Nett 60 days' or even 90 days terms. This means that they pay 90 days AFTER receipt of your invoice and agreeing that it is valid. That can be many months.
    I've also had to deal with grant programmes which hold back 30% payment of the grant until the project is completed. You really...

  • David Ward made a comment

    Thought provoking! As a bid manager, I've seen some of these issues (but not all) which tells me that the industry is somewhat 'mature.
    1. Handover issues from sales to bids and then bids to production/delivery. Failure is either of these handovers means that you're unprofessional, inefficient and probably arrogant!
    2. Integated teams; for big contracts, if...

  • A fine summary @SteveGrange . You stole my thunder - I was about to write 'what does good look like' as a, sometimes, tough question to ask both sides in the equation. The answers will tell if both sides are 'aligned'.

  • Absolutely right @ReejuKarunakaran - and it takes time, money and patience! But the rewards from such as a 'deep' relationship can be tremendous.

  • Understanding what each party wants from a contract is crucial to its overall success. The smaller the supply company you contract with, the more important cash flow becomes. It was a bugbear for decades, until quite recently, that the public sector were slow payers. That has been recognised and the governance around the payment of suppliers has been improved....

  • Wherever I've worked around the globe, I've found the approach to contracting to be similar and the challenges to be similar. What has caused me massive issues is the local culture of the organisations I was looking to contract with. This came to a head in China some 5 years ago - people there won't consider you 'serious' until you've made 4 or 5 trips to see...

  • Thanks Johanna, really looking forward to it!

  • Hello World! I'm David from Whitley Bay in North East England. I've been a bid manager for 40 years, getting involved with customers' needs and creating bids and contracts, as well as negotiating. It's a fascinating but demanding job and one I love. The current C-19 crisis is a great time to refresh my skills. I'm really impressed at the global reach of this...

  • David Ward made a comment

    The initial thoughts about empire were discussed in Elizabeth's reign, but it was in James's reign that the formal colony of Jamestown was established and survived.

    I should point out that Ralegh's colony was founded at Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina but was originally called Virginia, after the Virgin Queen. Roanoke Island is on the Outer...

  • They were the places where he practised his art, allowing the common folk to enjoy his works. The popularity of his plays would have attracted rich benefactors and even the Queen herself. Without them, he had no 'forum' for people to visit and enter into the world of his plays.

  • The Tudors certainly matter today - their stamp on the country is still visible. The characters are remarkable and the drama that unfolded is unbounded. They thought big and acted bigger.
    The most remarkable subject has been the black Tudors - I need to learn more.

  • It is too easy to consider Elizabeth as a remarkable woman in a man's world. She was a remarkable monarch, full stop. (During this course, I've come to realise that 3 of our most remarkable monarchs are/have been women.) That, really, is all that needs to be said.

  • Absolutely, well said.