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Murray favours smaller firms as partners

LARGE CONSTRUCTION companies make worse partners than smaller rivals because of their poor senior management, Railtrack director of major projects Simon Murray claimed this week.

'Companies are emerging with some really good ideas and their commitment (to continuous improvement) is becoming more evident' he told NCE. 'But it is noticeable that it tends to be the medium sized companies that deliver the goods.'

He added: 'I suspect this is because the standard of senior management is noticeably poorer in large construction companies than in general management in industry at large.

'Medium sized companies are quicker to respond to new ideas - probably because the scale of their operations is more appropriate to the competence of the management,' he said.

Murray recognised that Railtrack itself had to improve its own approach to partnering and said he was re-organising his directorate to create a coherent organisation that everyone understood and that offered consistent deals (see feature, p 21).

He is also working on a series of 'pain share/gain share' incentives for partnering suppliers to encourage them to improve the service they provide. 'Incentive structures need to be appropriate to the service firms are supplying,' he said. 'A company doing construction work needs a different incentive structure to one providing high tech software.'

Jackie Whitelaw

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