Home / Features / Means of supply

Means of supply

FMs will be faced with a range of procurement issues during the lockdown. David Richards, Chief Customer Officer, Bellrock, offers some advice on reviewing your supply chain, whether you need to identify a secondary supplier and how to source continuity supplies

During this unprecedented time, managing our supply chain is more important than ever. With events changing daily, and the significant impact on all businesses and their employees, maintaining proactive communication with suppliers and our operation is critical.

Bellrock has a vast array of clients from retail to healthcare, offices to pubs, each with their own requirements at this time. This has meant that some parts of our supply chain are not currently required to deliver their services. Whilst this is a difficult message to manage due to the potential impact for those suppliers, proactive communication is key to ensure that suppliers can manage their staff and operations to minimise the impact to their business. Suppliers are being contacted on a regular basis to make them aware of changes in service requirements and to provide as much information to support as possible. Meanwhile, ensuring that records and systems are updated to manage planned works and mandatory compliance works is key to a smooth return to BAU once businesses re-open.

Elsewhere, there are a significant number of clients who still require services. Some require slightly reduced service such as schools that may be shut or partly open to support the children of key workers, while some require an even greater level of service that means maintaining high quality standards, such as hospitals and health centres. In these instances, supply chain management is critical to ensure hospitals are cleaned, and providing reactive support for deep cleaning or maintenance where a fault occurs. In the face of this challenge, many suppliers are closing their doors to minimise the impact on their business, while others are offering a reduced service to maintain the safety of their employees.

Using to the latest government advice and guidelines, and those of the regulatory bodies, we are working with clients and suppliers alike to ensure that all statutory compliance is maintained throughout this period, while ensuring that safety and wellbeing continues to be a priority, and that payments for work done is protected.

We have developed an extensive supply chain network covering the breadth of the UK to support our diverse client portfolio over recent years, which is now providing the right coverage to support clients through these challenging times. Constant communication with these suppliers to understand how their operation is being impacted, and how they might be able to provide additional support will enable you to react quickly to client needs and keep these critical sites operational. Information should be reviewed constantly. We use Bellrock’s Concerto analytics platform to provide important performance, coverage and accreditation information that is used to inform decisions when the team require additional support.

One specific example of the additional supplier engagement implemented is a link (which is shared on all supplier emails) that enables suppliers to provide ‘as it happens’ updates to Bellrock of any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 within their business, and where those employees have worked, enabling us to inform clients and colleagues to try and minimise the risk of infection. This link also enables suppliers to provide updates on its services, including any restrictions. Information is cascaded regularly with stakeholders throughout the business to ensure that everyone is informed and can react quickly.

The Supply Chain team regularly review the risk profile of its supplier base, and this is something that should be done more regularly during the current climate. Where possible to do so, the business is looking to support SMEs by giving them work and ensuring that invoices are paid in a timely manner.

Finally, there is the challenge of sourcing products that are in high-demand for example PPE and hand-sanitiser, which we all know is in short-supply. This is where Bellrock have had to be creative in the way that it procures – not just working with the conventional suppliers, but also with the wider supply chain, to use their supply chains and contacts to source products. By creating mature relationships with our key suppliers, we have been able to continue to source these key products to support our front-line staff during this period.


♦ Financial Stabilty – The COVID-19 crisis will inevitably put significant strain on the cashflow of a large amount. It is critical to assess the financial stability of all of your supply chain and their ability to fulfil contractual requirements.

♦  Furlough Impact – a lot of supply chain will have had to furlough a number of their staff due to a downturn in building PPM, reactive tasks and occupation. The ability to remobilise all of these staff and get them up to speed to meet the demands of reopening buildings will be crucial.

♦  Stock control and critical spares – the ability of the supply chain to obtain critical spares and stock post lockdown will be critical, this needs to be thought of now to ensure re-occupation of business is seamless.

♦  Performance – inevitably performance metrics and KPI performance will suffer through COVID-19 and restrictions on travel and workforce availability. Post lockdown the remobilisation of services will need to be monitored carefully to ensure performance and contractual commitments are met.

♦  Planned and Reactive service backlog – inevitably there will be significant PPM and reactive tasks that will be backlogged. Careful attention must be paid to ensuring the relevant tasks are prioritised and statutory certification is fully compliant.

About Sarah OBeirne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *