Where Did It Go Wrong

Not wishing to bang the ‘Carillion Drum’ for too much longer but it’s not going away anytime soon and there are too many lessons to be learnt to step away without searching through the wreckage.

With an organisation of Carillion’s size comes immense responsibility – not only with its workers but the sub-contractors, organisations they serve along with other businesses within the same industry. Whilst opening the letter and seeing a 25% saving on a quote, few people see beyond that. Very rarely is the question “How can this company [ it may be] offer such a dramatically low quotation?” – instead, the recipient is all ready to put pen to paper and commit to that price.

Why wouldn’t you?

Competitive Pricing

Now I know that this isn’t ‘Breaking News’ however it’s the most pertinent lesson in this car crash. Competitive pricing is healthy. It keeps companies on their toes, prevents markets from stagnating, stops companies riding roughshod over customers with unrealistic quotes and ultimately makes us [business owners] sharpen our focus on the competitors.

You can’t win every job. Not unless your Carillion it seems.

With irresponsible pricing, smaller companies suffer vicariously at the hands of Carillion – even if they aren’t working for or with them.

Departments in Government organisations, large corporations and associates of Carillion are all complicit in this saga. Who gets the chance to quote for these large companies? I know that my company, although always happy to talk to any business, wouldn’t get a look in. Laziness and apathy rife and the attitude of ‘We always use Carillion’ echoes through many companies corridors. If someone had taken a step back and instead of seeing pound signs saw what was in front of their faces for years – Carillion outpricing everyone and then subbing out the work. Working on a wafer-thin profit margin means huge risks. Should there be unexpected costs, the profit rapidly turns to a loss and who picks up the pieces – in this case, sadly it’s the contractors and is there any remorse shown?


What Are The Lessons

My ethos and the ethos of my company is that ‘We may not be the cheapest price, but we will be the right price’. We consider ourselves competitive with our quotes but will we do ‘anything’ to win a contract? Obviously not.

I have business sense, in fact, it doesn’t need to be ‘business’ sense, I have common sense. So SRS Facilities isn’t as big as Carillion and we don’t have the multi-million-pound contracts, but I have a team of engineers that work ridiculously hard, a family, they have families and a reputation that I take care in protecting.

Whilst this dismal affair is far from over, I truly hope there’s a new life that emerges and those poor companies that have been let down catastrophically by irresponsible, greedy and moralless fat cats will still be here fighting the good fight.

Just think before you quote, or before you accept that crazy low proposal.

Don’t be afraid to ask the question of ‘Why’.