Supply chain ‘wish list’ for better procurement led by Vattenfall

TMS Media

A ‘wish list’ for closer and earlier working between the smallest and the biggest businesses in the offshore wind supply chain will be shared across the industry by Swedish energy group Vattenfall.

To meet the challenge to deliver 40-50GW, the industry and supply chain must change how it operates and “do different”, Rob Lilly, Vattenfall’s procurement and supply chain manager, told almost 50 businesses hoping to work on its two Norfolk developments.

“We need to be bold. We need to think not about each project but look at the longer-term pipeline and engage earlier.”

Vattenfall brought together nearly 100 people to explore how procurement could work better for all levels of the supply chain at the new £11.7m Energy Skills Centre at Lowestoft.

Turbine manufacturers Siemens Gamesa, MHI Vestas and GE Renewable Energy, Swiss-Swedish technology multinational ABB and global ship repair, conversion and marine specialist A&P Group were among the largest companies in the supply chain - known as Tier Ones - at the event.

They worked on solutions with many small and medium sized companies, including BAR Technologies, a company set up by Martin Whitmarsh, author of the independent review into the UK supply chain.

Ideas to remove barriers in procurement, opening engagement and ensuring transparency were in the ‘wish list’ to be compiled by Vattenfall to share with all levels in the supply chain and parties in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal.
It wants as many Norfolk and Suffolk companies as possible to benefit from its planned multi-billion-pound Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects.

Businesses described the approach as “ground-breaking” and removing the “gatekeepers” of procurement.
Steve Cox, Business Development Manager at Blaze Manufacturing Solutions, said: “Vattenfall played a blinder in facilitating an opportunity for someone like myself from a small Tier Two company to interact with Tier Ones such as Aibel/ABB.”

“Vattenfall are making that process radically different and this was a great way of fostering new relationships.”
John Cooper, CEO of BAR Technologies, said the meeting was an opportunity to present the company’s latest innovation to the industry - a newly patented and world-first Crew Transfer Vessel, using design and technology it developed from its learnings on an America’s Cup boat from the 2017 campaign.

“There was never a more timely occasion as we enter into the contracting period to meet with potential supporters.”

Mr Lilly said he had been meeting with the supply chain for more than two years to have full understanding of its services and capabilities.

“We want as many East of England companies to be involved in our projects, as are able to, so we gave them a chance to tell Tier Ones and Twos about their capabilities and expertise, and to explore potential collaborations.”

“Our purpose in bringing Tier Ones and Tier Twos and SMEs together is that they work out a way to work together for the benefit of our projects, the UK offshore wind industry and of course, the local economy and local people”

Ray Thompson, head of business development at Siemens Gamesa, said: “It’s vital for the supply chain that they have the opportunity for early engagement, well ahead of the projects being delivered, in order for them to be successful.”

The event is aligned with the aims of the Offshore Wind Sector Deal, which seeks to create tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs, invest £250m to develop the UK supply chain and attract billions of pounds of investment to the UK.

The company hopes to win consent next month for its 1.8 GW
Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm, more than 47km from the Norfolk Coast adjacent to its proposed Norfolk Boreas, which also 1.8GW. this 3.6GW will be enough capacity to power 3.9million UK homes.