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What is a contract mobilisation plan?


A supplier contract mobilisation plan refers to the activities that should be carried out by the awarded supplier in the time-period between awarding them the contract and before they commence the implementation work on the project, whether on-site or off-site.

Mobilisation is generally intended for more complex supplier services such as IT Software, Cleaning, Catering, Minor Works contracts, Outsourced ICT, Security Services etc. The details below refer to the preparatory stages during which the majority of activities should be managed by the supplier: 

  • From a supplier’s perspective, this list represents the step-by-step process they may already have in place to guide them through the initial stages of the new relationship 
  • From the member’s perspective, this represents what you would hope to see and experience from the supplier through this process

The most successful projects are those where both supplier and member not only adopt these principles but insist that they should be in place to avoid any misunderstandings at the outset of the project – using Benjamin Franklin’s quote “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” as their mantra. 

Preparation and planning are key to mobilisation

This generic mobilisation list has been developed through years of experience on lots of complex supplier relationships within which patterns could be identified, leading to the formulation of this guidance which in turn has afforded consistent results. 

Preparation and planning are key, but unless the supplier is completely in alignment with you on any project it will be very difficult to achieve the best outcomes. 

Check if a high-level mobilisation plan has been submitted at the framework procurement stage. This is a good start to ascertain if the suppliers have an understanding of the process and how they will work with you. It also gives you a good starting point to request a detailed mobilisation plan in your own procurement process, supported by a Gantt chart highlighting key milestones and interaction of different workstreams. 
If a detailed mobilisation plan has not been asked for at the ITT (Invitation to Tender) stage or the call off stage, it is best practice to ask for this prior to contract signature to support any mobilisation process. This process should be reviewed considering the steps listed below and approved by both parties for mobilisation to proceed. 

Member/Supplier relationships can be complex, but the period between contract signing and implementation can in many cases be broken down into a set of key principles as seen below. 

Members should remember that each relationship will be unique and subject to a whole system of challenges and opportunities, however there are often many similarities that should be considered. Actions taken from these processes allow member institutions to create a checklist which their suppliers should be encouraged to utilise post contract signing. 


The key areas a supplier should address during contract mobilisation 

Whilst many of these areas should be addressed by a supplier during the mobilisation period, it is best practice to ask for this information up front during a call off process, so that they can be relied upon and speed up the time between contract award and implementation. Members are recommended to check mini-competition templates and User Guides for suggestions of elements that could be included within the customer requirements portion of their call off process. It is possible that some of the following elements are not relevant for your requirement, so it may be worth considering pre-market engagement where you are unsure of what the mobilisation period may look like. 

  1. Identify Stakeholders and arrange Stakeholder meetings:

You or the supplier should arrange a pre-implementation meeting with key stakeholders from both sides to discuss the processes and procedures that will be used during the project mobilisation stage. It is critical that all parties are aligned in their efforts and expectations, so the lines of communication can be clear from the outset and improve the chances concluding the project successfully. 

  1. Mobilisation Governance Structure:

The supplier should co-ordinate the preparation and issue of a project handbook/terms of reference setting out responsibilities, procedures, and lines of communication for the implementation stage. Continuing the clarity of communication theme, it is important to ensure that not only has everything been spoken about, but that it is also fully understood and agreed, and a written record of this would be extremely useful. 

  1. Workstream Impact schedule:

The supplier should prepare an impact schedule and risk assessment to identify any potential cost and cause of delay. For instance;, has the supplier assessed whether the key personnel might be ‘reassigned/unavailable’ for/to other projects and how this might impact the supplier’s ability to deliver the project? 

  1. Mobilisation plan – order of play:

Expect the supplier to publish a master programme of works plan which should include a schedule for timings, resources, and costs (where relevant) for the implementation phase of the project. This is generally based on a Gantt chart or MS Project or similar tools. This should be split into a number of sections highlighting risks, milestones/performance targets/KPIs and monitoring and control activities to take you through to a fully implemented business-as-usual state. 

  1. Reconfirm due diligence approach:

The supplier should look to reconfirm the basic principles with you for the due diligence approach they are going to embark upon in order to further define and validate the requirements (in case changes have occurred that you have not made them aware of or you may be unaware of such as new or missing information). As the expert, they should take responsibility to ‘ask the right questions’ of you to ensure that their due diligence process is as complete and accurate as possible. 

  1. Method statements:

A supplier should now prepare method statements to consider and plan for safer working practices. The supplier should already have a collection of method statements for generic works such as testing. The supplier should also obtain method statements from any subcontractors/associates they may be working with, so they can validate that all are aligned to the same outcome as you, the member. 

  1. Update and check the project plan:

During the bid, the supplier might have submitted an appropriate project plan, if this has been asked for. This will need to be updated in case anything has moved on for you which could cause issues with the implementation of the project. Please also refer to point 4 above. 

  1. Mobilise subcontracted services:

The entire supply chain should be clearly aligned with one another. Therefore, the suppliers should ensure that any subcontractors party to the project are provided with a full brief, including its outcomes. This will help to further avoid misunderstandings and ensure the project is delivered to drive maximum value for all concerned. 

  1. Security and compliance:

For those services that have a health and safety component or statutory legal compliance, such as legally required compliance testing of equipment, make sure the supplier has appropriate documentation for the standards that align with the statutory responsibilities and that these are issued and discussed so that opportunities for misunderstanding over the roles and duties involved are minimised. 

  1. Contract register:

Make sure that all elements of the signed contract are stored in a known and accessible location that is appropriately secure and that they are all captured in a contract register (this should preferably be electronic with access for suppliers and member). There are many reasons why rapid access to the contract may be required, but two examples are that a supplier could misunderstand what is expected of them, or a supplier could get into financial difficulty, and you need to know quickly what the escalation process should be. 

  1. Asset register:

The supplier should be creating and maintaining/updating a central repository for the entire contract and licences, or they should be regularly updating the maintenance and compliance information into a central asset register. In terms of key equipment, this should contain the manufacturer, warranty information, purchase date, maintenance schedule, supplier contact details for spare parts and maintenance work, etc. It should also contain a cross-reference to the individual site register. You should ask to see the asset register updating processes, along with how the supplier can evidence that the asset register is being regularly updated. Also, make sure to inspect the supplier’s asset register monthly updates to ensure it is being kept up to date. Ideally members should have their own electronic asset register into which suppliers will enter updated data. 

  1. Site registers:

Again, where Facilities Management services have been contracted for, the supplier should be evidencing to you that it has appropriate site registers containing the relevant location and safety information for specific assets, accident reports and so forth, relevant to that site/asset, along with an appropriate cross reference to the asset register. Again, ideally members should have their own version of this electronically and allow suppliers to update in line with works carried out. 

  1. Statutory conditions register:

Where equipment maintenance is involved, such as some soft FM services (landscaping) and/or hard FM services and in particular, buildings and/or infrastructure maintenance, the supplier should provide you with all details that they are going to use or rely upon to deliver those services. This might include any statutory conditions that must be satisfied prior to the services commencing (such as tree protection orders (TPOs), submission of contaminated soil disposal plans, approval of work adjacent to an operating rail track and so on). And this information should be held by members as well (see above) either as part of the asset register or the site register. 

  1. Workstream updates and quality assurance:

Inherent in any mobilisation is the requirement for the supplier to provide you with information on what its inspection regimes and quality assurance procedures are for service delivery and for maintaining/keeping on top of outcomes both parties expect to achieve. Arrange for regular meetings to update each other to identify and mitigate any delays early. 

We hope this article is useful. If you have any specific questions please contact us for help.

For more information please contact Ekkehard Kugler at [email protected] or on 01619740964.  

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