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5 hours to explain a 10-fold difference between two quotations

Posted 3/1/2015

International engineering combine that creates safety-critical plant

Background to organisation

This multi-division engineering company designs and supplies equipment for the nuclear, oil and gas, defence and life sciences sectors. The client's business development places increasing emphasis on delivering through-life solutions, developing bespoke hardware and executing EPCm projects. 


Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is increasingly important to the client. The evaluation team were disappointed that their Request for Quotation (RFQ) document to major PLM suppliers attracted a turn-down and quotations with very different cost estimates, varying between six and seven figures. 

Project approach

The client invited us to contribute three days of project assurance, to study the integrity of supplier responses and account for the wide cost difference. The discovery part was desk-based, to study exising documentation from the client and suppliers, with a follow-up briefing. 


We explained the turn-downs and found the explanation for the cost difference in the first 5 hours of analysis - buried on page 99 (literally) of 100 in one of the candidate submissions. We then ran a tailored half-day workshop to brief the team and explain the best way to complete the evaluation, selection and negotiation stages of their project. We joined the negotiation team.

Client comment - Chief Capability Officer, Energy and Infrastructure - John Clark, Assystem UK

"Martin's commercial experience and insight into the thought processes at software suppliers allowed us to understand the problem very quickly. In the workshop, he was able to reassure us that our basic methodology was sound, suggest some simple changes in approach and steer us towards a more collaborative relationship with our vendors. This has paid dividends in terms of acquisition cost, helped us understand our own priorities and ensured that we get the information system that is right for our needs."

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