Implementing PRT - Client's Requirements that a Supplier's Organization Must Satisfy

by Jeff Davis, 8/6/2012

Evaluating the capabilities of a Supplier's Organization:

The following discussion is related to Design-Build-Operate-Maintain and Design-Bid-Build transportation projects that will be paid for with public funds, perhaps partially with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) money, and there are multiple proposals to being evaluated.

One consideration when reviewing proposals from suppliers for a given transportation system is the overall organization of the proposer's company or consortium of companies. All transportation projects require a significant amount of managerial and engineering resources to complete. Therefore one of the major parts of a supplier's proposal is a review of their managerial and engineering resources. This review focuses on whether or not a given supplier's organization will be sufficient to manage the project and have the engineering resources to competently perform all of the required design activities. The review also includes the experience and qualifications of key management and engineering personnel.

If the review of the supplier's organization reveals that there may not be enough manpower resources, or the proposed personnel do not have suitable qualifications or experience, they Client may disqualify or reject the proposal since the supplier will not have the resources to properly manage the project, complete the required design activities, oversee the construction activities, or resolve any other design or construction problems that may occur. For example, if a key part of a supplier's design does not work or operate as originally intended does the supplier have enough of the right kind of personnel to competently perform the subsequent investigations, analyses, re-design, implementation, and re-testing until a solution is found?

The review of the supplier's organization includes the Quality Control department. It is expected and typically required that a supplier's organization will contain a Quality Control division that will supervise the work to insure that the implementation will be in conformance with the design and construction documents. Similar to the review of management and engineering parts of the overall organization, if the supplier's Quality Control department or division is not staffed properly, or it appears that it may not be effective enough, there is a risk that the project work might not be implemented properly. This risk can be a cause of concern.

The review of the supplier's organization includes Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Safety (RAMS) department. This department is different than the safety inspectors used during construction. The Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability personnel focus on the various design aspects of the transportation System to minimize System downtime by requiring reliable and easily maintainable subsystems and equipment. The Safety department or division focuses on all safety related aspects of the project, such as those design elements that may pose a risk to human life. It is the Safety department that will go through the process of preparing and submitting all documentation required for the Safety Case. Similar to the review of the other parts of a supplier's organization, if a review of the RAMS department(s) reveals insufficient or under-qualified personnel, this can be a cause of concern and potential risk to the project.
The review of the supplier or consortium's organization includes manufacturing capability and capacity.  The organization should prove the capability to manufacture the various non-standard system and subsystem equipment, such as vehicles, control subsystems, guideway propulsion elements if used, etc.  If a review indicates that a supplier of a particular critical subsystem component, such as the vehicles, does not have the expertise or experience, this may be a cause of concern as it represents a risk to meeting the project schedule.  In close coordination with the project schedule the various subcontractor's may need to show that they have the manufacturing capacity to deliver the finished products on time.  If a review of the manufacturing capacity indicates that a supplier of a critical subsystem component may not be able to meet the delivery schedule, whether due to inadequate facilities to meet the demand or conflicts with production orders from other projects, this can be a cause of concern as it represents a risk to meeting the project schedule.

Last modified: August 06, 2012