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Water companies should ‘go beyond the catalogue' with supply chain

Water companies should be more willing to work with the supply chain on bespoke solutions rather than opting for off-the-shelf products which may not meet their needs, according to a new report.

The report ‘Going Beyond the Catalogue’ from flow control specialists TALIS claims that there is ‘endemic waste’ in the sector caused by incorrect buying decisions for non-standard applications.

The report details the ways in which poor decisions are causing costs to rise, using the example of mechanical joints to help illustrate its case.It highlights a 5-point plan to create more intelligent design, specification and procurement processes.

In particular, it cites a need for water companies, suppliers and manufacturers to work more closely to share expertise and capabilities. Suppliers should show a willingness to be flexible, providing bespoke and innovative solutions which will offer tangible benefits.

Hervé Dumont, product strategy director at Talis, says: “Conversations that end at price and delivery dates are never going to be enough to meet the complex needs that can arise when dealing with water networks.

“There needs to always be the option to put the catalogue aside and talk about better, bespoke solutions where these can reduce costs or increase efficiencies.

“When the partnership between customer and supplier is working perfectly, standard needs should be business as usual, leaving time and focus for non-standard needs to be the areas where customers and suppliers can work closely to explore the ‘art of the possible’, working to co-design solutions that will save time, money and resources.

“This is something we encourage all our customers to do, working with the experts across our group to look at specially engineered solutions where required.”

Within its 5-point plan, TALIS encourages water companies to ask themselves some key questions when they have to look beyond the standard solutions.

Hervé Dumont comments: “One area in particular that water companies should focus on is to invest time in understanding key factors in the manufacture of components, to help customers improve their design and specification processes.

“For example, in the case of mechanical joints for challenging applications, fabricated joints made from steel components are often the only solution. These can be manufactured to operate at large diameters (up to DN 2800) and high pressures up to 100 / 150 bar).

“However, to achieve these standards and still work effectively, it is crucial that components are manufactured using best practice techniques such as cold expansion, flash butt welding and using vulcanized rubber gaskets.

“By developing an understanding of such techniques, water companies can make better-informed decisions that ultimately will save time, money and energy across the running of their networks.”

To access the full report, visit https://www.talis-group.com/talis-group/user_upload/TALIS_FittingsWhitePaperJune18.pdf

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Asset Management
Tags: flow control , Procurement , waste

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