The country’s top buyers attend Constructionline’s busiest networking event to connect with over 1,000 contractors.
As a part of our annual programme of events, we hold a national Showcase Meet the Buyer event to promote industry best practice and facilitate engagement between buyers and local suppliers on a large scale. Our 2015 Showcase Meet the Buyer event, held in June at The Kia Oval Cricket Ground in London, was our most successful event yet!
More than 1,000 sub-contractors attended the event to meet industry professionals from 60 of the UK’s leading public and private sector organisations who exhibited on the day.
Constructionline Managing Director, Gareth Kings* explained, “With updates to the Public Contract Regulations and CDM Regulations paving the way for simplified procurement in 2015, the Showcase event provided a fantastic opportunity for construction businesses to come together to build business relationships and inspire positive growth in the industry.”
Connecting our buyers with small businesses
“One of the biggest challenges contractors face is getting in front of clients. Likewise, busy buyers often find it difficult to engage with local SME businesses,” says Andy Preston, Client Relationship Manager** at Constructionline. “Our Meet the Buyer events provide a fantastic platform, where buyers can meet local contractors to discuss the projects in their pipeline. After the success we had last year, hosting our Showcase event at Wembley, we were keen to create even more opportunities for businesses to connect in 2015.”
Andy continued, “The turnout at this year’s Showcase Meet the Buyer event exceeded all of our expectations. It was fantastic to see so many organisations keen to discuss the year’s biggest contracts with one-another.”
Constructionline registered buyers from the public and private sector, including Logan Construction, The Cabinet Office, London Borough of Hackney and Highways England all exhibited at the event to discuss their pipeline of work opportunities and their adoption of Constructionline to simplify their procurement process.
Main contractors; Hill, Kier Group, Bouygues UK, VINCI Construction, Lakehouse, Mears, Barhale, Wates and McLaughlin & Harvey were keen to provide opportunities for local trades to join their ever-growing supply chain of over 23,000 sub-contractors, combined.
Michael Thomlinson, Head of Strategic Procurement & Supply Chain at Hill explained, “The need to support and supplement our supply chain to ensure its long term sustainability has never been greater. The Showcase event offered the perfect opportunity to do so. As an exhibitor we were able to engage with SME businesses to enhance our supply chain of quality contractors.”
Opening up opportunities for suppliers
At Constructionline, we’re committed to championing the cause of our SME members. So with 88% of attendees classed as an SME, the Showcase Meet the Buyer event provided more opportunities than ever before for small businesses to generate leads with procurement decision makers from the public and private sector.
We talked to Mike Shaw Commercial Director at Evinox about his experience at the event, he told us, “The turnout was really impressive. This was my first Constructionline event and it was great to see top contractors like Kier, Wates and VINCI Construction come along to speak to local businesses like ours. I’ve had the chance to touch base with a number of potential clients who have opportunities relevant to the work we undertake.”
“I made a number of promising leads that I’m confident I can convert into good business. The quality of buyers in attendance was fantastic so it was well worth attending to speak to them,” said Craig Goodburn, Business Development Manager at Sound Control Services.
Penny Cook, Compliance Manager at Bolt & Heeks Construction added, “I was really keen to meet local authorities and government bodies. On the day we gained leads from a number of public sector bodies including The Cabinet Office and The London Borough of Hackney.”
Providing an insight into industry best practice
Alongside the event, we ran a programme of seminar sessions, at which industry leaders and procurement professionals took to the stage to discuss hot topics, offer an insight into their procurement processes and provide suppliers with advice on how to tender for their projects.
Professor Rudi Klein from SEC Group joined us to discuss the benefits of achieving a standardised approach to PQQs within the procurement process. He explained how the use of the industry recognised question set, PAS 91, will simplify the tender process for all tiers of contractors tendering for work. He urged, “PAS 91 must become standard across the board to reduce the burden of unnecessary form-filling, particularly for the smaller firms that suffer horrendous costs.”
Also presenting was Tim Williams from Millstream Associates who spoke to attendees about the recent changes to the Public Contracts Regulations and their implications for the industry, while Martin Mather, Procurement and Supply Chain Director at Bouygues UK discussed the opportunities available for suppliers to work on their big projects in 2015/16.
Helping members maximise their Constructionline profile
On the day, Constructionline registered suppliers were given the chance visit the Profile Workshop, where a member of our team will review the supplier’s Constructionline profile to ensure they’re maximising the opportunities available through their membership.
Tom Jackson, Business Development Manager at Constructionline explains, “We’re keen to help suppliers make the most out of their membership with Constructionline. The Profile Workshop offers a great chance for attending suppliers to receive advice on keeping their information up-to-date and maximising their visibility to the buyers using our system.”
“Attending the Profile Workshop was extremely useful,” says Sameer Munjal, Marketing & Business Development Manager at Structa LLP, “it enabled us to see the value of our Constructionline membership.”
*Position now held by John Edmunds
**Now Buyer Services Sales Manager