Page 2: The project
Although each project in which Metro Cammell engages, might have characteristics which are similar to other projects, each project in itself is unique. Metro Cammell’s ability to manage projects is an important ingredient for any project in which it intends to engage. A project has a single definable purpose, end product or result which is usually expressed in terms of cost, schedule and performance requirements.
Large projects, irrespective of the experience of a business like Metro Cammell, require careful management. The Company needs to utilise skills and talents from specialists across a range of fields. For the building of products such as trains which involve high technologies, a project involves many task interdependencies and, with changing technologies, each project presents new and unique issues.
It must also be realised that a project is a temporary activity. The project will involve use of personnel from a range of fields. Once the contribution of each group has been completed, then work will move onto other projects with new goals. Each project has a specific life cycle. The tasks, people and resources change as the project moves from one phase to the next.
The starting point for any new contract is the process of tendering. A tender is made and submitted by an organisation in response to the receipt of an ‘invitation to tender’ for the supply of specified goods or for the execution of specified work. A tender, particularly for business and engineering projects, is not a simple document and will in itself involve the setting up of a project team and considerable research. If the tender is accepted, work commences. The tendering process for the Jubilee Line Extension took place in 1992.
London Underground decided that it required a whole new fleet to cater for the Jubilee Line Extension. It could have asked rolling stock manufacturers to refurbish the existing trains and built fewer trains for the Docklands extension, but if this had been done, it would have caused considerable disruption over a long period as well as problems integrating old and new systems. Metro Cammell views the preparation of a tender as a complete self-contained project in itself. Throughout the tendering process, the project manager holds a series of review meetings where questions and answers are considered. Research for the tender involves:
- technical evaluation and preliminary design specifications
- developing a quality response to the tender
- enquiries with suppliers and subcontractors
- the preparation of estimates
- preparation of documentation
- pricing for the project.
Metro Cammell had previously supplied London Underground with rolling stock for the Jubilee Line so the strengths of the company and its products were well-known to the client. In the face of stiff competition from other suppliers, Metro Cammell were awarded the contract. The award of the contract set in motion a programme which would lead to completion in 1998. The first stage was for Metro Cammell to review the contract documents against the original tender. It was important to identify areas which required clarification as well as the critical areas of the project, key dates and milestones.