One of the challenges for small to mid-tier consulting practices in the infrastructure space is gaining the opportunity to be a part of major projects. The opportunities are great though the challenge lies with the ability for these large jobs to be broken up in to smaller packages by Government to give small and medium companies the chance to be involved.
A recent Consult Australia Report has some terrific practical insights for small and medium consulting firms in the infrastructure industry around what Government needs to do to break up larger projects in order to open up opportunities.
In my perspective the key insights from the report are as follows:
- The importance of collaboration and partnering when working with other providers to bid for and deliver projects. We have written many blogs on this topic and cannot overstate the importance of building strong relationships within industries and partners. This requires an investment of time, energy and commitment to long term relationships built on trust. Of course, technical skills are important though not any more relevant than people skills;
- The report highlights how risk allocation is not something always understood by Government when procuring large projects. It is important that service providers are aligned on identifying the best person for managing risks to drive value for money. This is important for both the supply chain and government to ensure that unnecessary costs are not expended; and
- The other challenge that is highlighted in the report is around the importance of government procurement in driving more local employment and participation from small to large providers of services. I challenge whether government leaders truly understand the critical nature of this role given that procurement models largely drive these opportunities.
I would encourage all consultants in the infrastructure sector to read this report. It is well written and provides an opportunity for real engagement with Government about how we continue to ensure that our industry is strong and sustainable long term through large projects and their ability to provide opportunities for all consulting service providers.