Ian Currie and Sam Kalibbala, from the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Sizewell C supply chain, are this month’s guests on The Compliance Experts Podcast.

With less than a year to the ‘spade in the ground’ at Sizewell C, Miles investigates what SMEs should be doing in advance of sending in their tenders to join the Sizewell C Supply Chain.

Ian recalls meetings 12 years ago when conversations began, and strategies were being laid down for SMEs to apply for contracts. He talks about the difficulty for some smaller companies having to strategise so far into the future and how patience is the key to success as the time closes in for applications.

Sam talks about the temptation for some companies to relax with such distant deadlines whilst others, who had kept up momentum, are in the favourable position to press the green button. He explains it’s all about managing risk and ensuring your business meets all the competency standards that will be required at entry level. He explains further that there were poor results with Hinkley with only 10% of tenders being accepted due to poor competency levels.

Ian says that there will be 8000 people on site at Sizewell C, and 25,000 more across the supply chain – which is well beyond the scale of any one company applying. Ian talks about collaboration, even with your competition. There are many major capital projects taking place in the UK right now, e.g. HS2 and Hinkley, and that means many of the big players are tied up. This means that work is flowing down to smaller companies but, he warns, you cannot do it by yourself unless you unite and collaborate. Ask the question to your peers – are you interested in working on Sizewell C? Can we maximise for Suffolk and build our scale? Ian advises us to cross the divide and unite.

Sam gives a great example of two local East Anglian businesses who have competed for years with similar turnovers of £200m, but recently, with the Sizewell C project on the horizon and both wanting to be a part of it, they have united for this purpose and created a company large enough to handle the work.

Ian and Sam talk about the importance of building the project into company development plans and they stress not to expose your whole business to the project – but apportion part of it – too many eggs in one basket is risky for any long-term strategy.

Sam talks about how things are heating up – there’s more noise on social media now the momentum has begun. Miles adds that people should shout about what they do through their marketing so that it can be noticed and accelerated with this momentum. Sam adds that it’s happening now in the Chamber. Month by month conversations are increasing and more people are getting involved and sharing information. Increase of registrations is beginning to noticeably spike. Ian agrees with Sam and adds that if you’re not signed up on the portal, please register. Make sure your details are up to date. Get in touch with Sam or Ian who are very happy to meet and give you an overview of how and where you might fit in. Once signed up, you will get regular updates too.

Sam also adds that it doesn’t matter how large or small your business is. The operation is about retail and smaller services too. Contact Sam on Samuel@suffolkchamber.co.uk

Sizewell C Supply Chain Portal: https://www.sizewellcsupplychain.co.uk/

If you have any thoughts or opinions on this topic Miles would love to hear from you and discuss some of your points in a later episode.

Disclaimer: At the time of recording the information in this podcast was deemed to be correct BUT please note legislation, deadlines and information can change on a daily basis – so please always check with Vartan Consultancy for up-to-the-minute information.

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