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Glaxo markets partners skills to other clients

FEARS THAT shortages of partnering work will force contractors and consultants to break up their teams have led Glaxo Wellcome to try and pool its con- struction work with other pharmaceuticals companies.

It has already spoken to competitors Rhone Poulenc, Zeneca, Pfizer, Roche and Unilever and is due to hold talks with SmithKline Beecham next week.

The aim is to provide framework contractors with a steady stream of work spread between clients that would be unable to provide enough work on their own.

Next month Glaxo research and development site manager Kevin Thomas will meet with SmithKline Beecham to sell the merits of Glaxo's own Fusion partnering strategy. This involves companies like Laing South East, Symonds Woolf, Haden Young and NG Bailey.

The meeting follows a major conference held during the summer when Glaxo Research & Development began its drive to persuade its competitors to follow Glaxo down the partnering road. 'We want to work with an easily identifiable set of suppliers which takes the same set of

values from job to job,' said Thomas.

Glaxo R&D cannot provide enough work to keep the firms which have worked successfully with it under the Fusion regime continuously occupied. But the company does not want to see the knowledge base or the teamwork attitudes dissipated and wasted.

Fusion is specially designed to soak up changes to projects without overrunning timetables or budgets. Incentive savings are shared equally between all the major parties to a project rather than the client taking the lion's share.

Even clients like BAA, with an annual pounds500M construction budget, admit they are having trouble finding enough partnering projects to keep their high powered partners occupied. Glaxo R&D, with an

pounds80M annual spend, has even greater problems.

The Glaxo idea also addresses recommendations in the Egan Taskforce report Rethinking Construction that construction teams create identifiable 'brands' of expertise and share comparative performance data.

Thomas' plan could create a group of companies with a special understanding of the needs of pharmaceutical clients and a forum for them to share learning from each job.

It also answers Egan's demand that clients should take the lead in changing the way the construction industry works.

'We decided to contact our competitors because we all need an efficient, healthy, non-confrontational construction industry to work with. And as a sector pharmaceuticals is used to collaborating - we are currently co- operating on the project to map the human genome.'

Thomas' ambition is to maintain the skills learned by the companies involved in his two projects at Ware and Beckenham and to create a bigger pool of suppliers to draw from for future schemes.

He wants all the clients in the sector to operate the same common construction goals of working in a single team with a no blame, no claim culture.

Suppliers that prove they can work within that system will acquire specialist knowledge of the pharmaceutical business and create a solid base of companies which can be selected for other jobs without the need for wasteful competitive tendering.

Jackie Whitelaw

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