If a business owner were to provide advice to someone thinking about starting their own business, it is likely they would talk about the need to be proactive – you can’t wait for customers to come to you, you have to go out and find them.
The need for businesses to communicate with and attract customers has essentially kept the lights on in the advertising, marketing and public relations sectors for decades.
However, taking the initiative doesn’t always have to mean an expensive campaign, it can be as simple as picking up a phone and letting a key potential customer know who you are and what you can do for them.
In the Canberra Region at the moment, businesses who see opportunities associated with light rail are being asked to do just that.
In late August, Canberra Metro; the consortium engaged to design, build, operate and maintain stage one of the light rail network for 20 years; announced plans to release around 75 work packages.Plans are for most tenders to be issued between August 2016 and April 2017, with the majority of sub-contractors and suppliers to be appointed by early 2017.
Since its appointment, Canberra Metro has always committed to source as much as reasonably possible of its suppliers and labour from the local market.
When it announced the upcoming work packages, Canberra Metro also issued a supplier’s guide, which has been developed in conjunction with the Canberra Business Chamber Light Rail Business Link Program. To download the guide, visit: www.canberrabusiness.com/work-packages/.
The guide outlines the areas where Canberra Metro will be seeking assistance. The types of goods and services that will be required during construction include:
- Facilities support – cleaning, stationery, printing, security, waste
- Professional services – environmental, traffic, testing, training, survey, dilapidation, marketing and communications, accounting and creative work
- Project wide services
- People – labour, staff
- Plant – Hire (wet/dry hire) – earthworks, haulage, pumps, cranes
- Purchase – hand tools, specialist equipment, PPE, signage, barriers, lighting, geofab, conduits/pits, drainage
- Materials – fuel, concrete, reinforcement, aggregates, disposal
- Subcontractors – traffic management, decontamination, welding
- During construction
- Roadworks – kerbing, surfacing, lining, lighting, drainage
- Earthworks – bulk in depot and general groundworks
- Building works, depot and stops
Once construction is complete, Canberra Metro plans to continue to source from local business and this could include:
- Consumable spares – lubricants, cleaning materials, non-specialist tools and hardware items
- Civil engineering maintenance
- LRV accident repairs – e.g. for spray painting and composite panel repairs
- General systems maintenance – such as gardeners, plumber and electricians for
- Office supplies – stationary and furniture.
The supplier’s guide calls on local businesses to make themselves known to Canberra Metro so it can make sure they are informed when relevant work packages are released. Identified businesses will be asked to tender for work as it becomes available. These businesses will have up to four weeks to respond to the tender documents.
Once the tenders have been responded to, Canberra Metro will assess all quotes and then award the contract to the successful business. At this point the unsuccessful tender bids will be contacted as well to let them know the outcome.
When picking a successful tenderer, Canberra Metro will consider technical ability, previous experience and performance, safety and quality, compliance, capacity and cost. The Canberra Metro management are strongly emphasizing specific safety elements for consideration, and sometimes these technical elements will take time to adopt or adapt equipment to, so early investigation of this element is encouraged.
The supplier’s guide makes it very clear that if a business wants to be in the running for light rail projects, then they have to put their hand up. To date, Canberra Metro has made initial contact with over 250 ACT business and suppliers.
If your business isn’t one of them and you think you have something to offer you should put your name on the Canberra Business Chamber Suppliers’ Register (see www.canberrabusiness.com). Canberra Metro will be using this to source local suppliers.
Alternatively, you can visit Canberra Metro at 330 Northbourne Avenue, Dickson or send your company profile to [email protected]
Canberra Metro would also like to hear from you if your business has a product or service you think it can use, but isn’t on the list of goods and services expected to be purchased.
It always pays to talk to potential customers, but in terms of light rail you definitely don’t want to be reticent. In this instance a little bit of direct marketing will go a very long way.
Robyn Hendry, CEO
Canberra Business Chamber