If you decide to explore how framework agreements could support your procurement goals, it will be helpful to start with an audit of current contracts to establish review and renewal timescales so that you can plan your requirements well in advance. Procurement strategy should take account of your business objectives so that you can map how suppliers will enable you to achieve goals in terms of social value, net zero carbon, customer satisfaction, safety, and value for money. Fundamentally there is no one-size fits all for framework agreements so you will need to carry out the research to find the right one for your organisation.
Review your existing services and weigh up how these are currently performing, assessing their strengths and weaknesses to check that you are gaining maximum value through the entire supply chain. Decisions based on lowest price alone are rarely likely to foster productive relationships so set realistic budget expectations.
To get started with a framework agreement, conduct some research into the range of providers and compare their offers. The more time you invest in developing a positive working relationship with your supplier, the higher your returns are likely to be in terms of service, quality, and value for money.
While suppliers within frameworks have already been assessed and qualified in advance, it is worth checking that their product ranges specifically meet your requirements. Do you need access to a particular brand to meet the safety or quality standards you have established for your property portfolio?
You may want to deal with local builders’ merchants branches, or you might be looking for help to manage your own stores. You might require suppliers to make deliveries to your sites or offer secure collection points where materials can be picked up. It is advisable to check that suppliers operate data systems that are compatible with your infrastructure, enabling them to act as partners for your organisation, operating as part of your wider team. The data and insights that suppliers can provide may influence future purchasing decisions and forward planning. Such intelligence can lead to far-reaching improvements to your business and its profitability.
Always examine the lotting strategy for each framework as these differ across suppliers and regions. Suppliers, providers, and contracting authorities have already worked to assess a range of products and services and grouped these according to purchasing behaviour and market trends. However, lots differ across frameworks so be sure to select one that meets your purchasing requirements. Examining lots within frameworks might provide you with fresh ideas for accessing materials or services that you had not previously considered. Always check out the level of flexibility that is offered within the agreement to see if there is any scope for variations on the available lots.
Value for money within frameworks is obviously a key consideration and prices can be attractive based on aggregated provision through a single framework. Check the size of the agreement to help you assess the value of its bargaining power and whether there is any fee associated with access to the framework.
Many frameworks offer additional benefits to boost their competitive appeal. Investigate whether you could gain access to additional support such as free consultancy, best practice benchmarking, or data production services. Check the level of account management that you can expect to receive as part of any agreement.
At the start of your relationship with any supplier as part of a framework agreement, it is important to set out your objectives in advance and establish the KPIs against which you will measure your working relationship. As RSLs, you will be focused on the proportion of right first-time deliveries, and on time deliveries, and will be keen to reduce the volume of returns, improve invoicing accuracy and see clear cost and revenue tracking metrics. Ultimately your relationship with suppliers within a framework agreement should enable you to drive improvements in customer satisfaction while enjoying the reassurance that you have left no stone unturned in your effort to spend public resources wisely and to deliver social value as the UK starts on its road to post-pandemic recovery.
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