In addition to First Great Western becoming the first train operator to adopt the Achilles Total Supplier Management Solution, companies joining the buyer community include ABB Power Systems, Vital Services Group, Amalgamated Construction Limited, Galldris Construction, Costain and NDS Plant. This brings the total number of buyer organisations to 114, with more than 2800 individual procurement professionals averaging 11,000 searches a month to select suppliers.
The work on key developments within the scheme and industry also continues to build momentum. Working closely with a range of organisations across the sector, key aspects of the scheme have been reviewed and important decisions made that will take Link-up into its next generation.
The members of the Link-up Steering Group
have most notably made an agreement on the technology platform for Link-up v3 after thorough validation of alternatives and user testing. With the decision to continue to use an Achilles solution, the future of Link-up has been secured to become a global platform that is built on the latest technology and opens opportunities for buyers and suppliers to work cross-countries and cross-industries. Equally the Working Groups, set up to support the Steering Group and focus on the specific topics Product Code Structure, the Link-up Audit, Sustainability and the requirements for Link-up v3, have made progress.
Link-up v3 scoping is now proceeding and the Working Group has reviewed and shortened the existing questionnaires (CJQ and SPQ), merged them into one and is now reviewing more than 1200 product code related questions in the questionnaire. Further requirements on the search functionality, the questionnaire handling and reporting are being evaluated and intense work has started on the data analysis to ensure that information available in Link-up’s current version will be migrated to the new platform. Next in the plan for the Working Group will be the preparation of the communication, training and other rollout activities in time to go live at the end of 2012.The Product Code Working Group
has undertaken a thorough review of the current structure. Changes to Level 1 and 2 codes as well as for the Activity Codes have been recommended which include the introduction of a Level 1 code for generic services and supplies and an extension to more in-depth structure for T&RS components that was developed by the RSSB. The Level 3 codes are yet to be reviewed. It is also part of the Working Group’s remit to establish governance for the coding structure and develop guidance and support for both buyers and suppliers in selecting the right product codes.The Link-up Audit Working Group
is working on a clear positioning of the audit programme in regards to CDM, Network Rail’s 302 standard and other assurance schemes. The Technical Question Set is being reviewed with a view to be transferred or removed. Work is also in process to align with the TfL/London Underground audit requirements. This analysis work will form the basis of a complete revision of the Link-up Audit programme.
With a proposal agreed on how to introduce sustainability aspects such as labour standards, community involvement, waste, water and energy consumption into Link-up, the Sustainability Working Group
has reviewed and refined a question set for v3. The process for capturing and reviewing the information has been defined and will be put forward for verification later on in the year. It is yet to be decided how the information can be best made available to the buyers in order to encourage organisations to increase their focus on Sustainability.
Through the work that has taken place to date, it clearly shows the buyer and supplier community within the rail industry is taking the opportunity to get involved and shape both supplier assurance and procurement to bring improved risk management, transparency, efficiencies and collaboration. If you would like to know more information or get involved, please contact any member of the Steering Group or the Achilles Link-up team.Please visit us at Infrarail on Stand GO3
Contact details for the Achilles Link-up team are:
Tel: 01332 856 380