Thames Water is to turn to its supply chain to find innovative ways of delivering its requirements under the AMP6 regulatory investment period, which is due to begin in 2015.
Thames capital delivery director Lawrence Gosden said it had invited consultants, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to tell them “how we could be working better” and how to get more innovation into the business.
Gosden said that, although the company “has had some fantastic performances” from its contractors, “we need to keep innovating and getting better and better”.
Thames will continue its consultation with the industry until September, and then use the results to inform its AMP6 delivery strategy.
The decision to look for new solutions was driven in part by changing priorities in the water sector. Gosden said the biggest challenge in AMP6 is to balance affordability of customers’ bills against the cost of maintaining an increasingly large asset base.
“Fundamentally that equation doesn’t quite work, so we really need to work with our contractors and supply chain to get unprecedented levels of innovation into the water sector,” he said, adding that, as the client, Thames Water’s role was to create an environment where innovation can flourish.
Gosden said one message from the industry is that more should be done to integrate the expertise of subcontractors and suppliers earlier in project development.
“The Tier 2 supply chain has a wealth of untapped ideas on how to deliver things more effectively,” he said.