You must get it right in procurement for successful projects

Many projects fail because of procurement mismanagement. When you get it wrong in procurement the project suffers.

Right away from identification of suppliers, if you get dubious suppliers that is the genesis of your failure.

If you are to engage a main contractor and subcontractors, get credible ones. These are contractors with experience, resources and capacity to deliver your project.

During tender evaluation, look at the type of projects a contractor has delivered and their technical personnel. This will indicate their capacity.

Looking at the financials will also tell you if the contractor has cash flow problems likely to frustrate delivery. Do not ignore any sign of a problem likely to occur. It is almost impossible for a contractor to deliver a project from the interim payment certificates regularly issued during the life of the project.

Many contractors will get paid one certificate and quickly use the money in a different project. This is because they were paid in other projects and used the money for a different purpose not related to the project they were paid for. This means even when payments are on schedule, a project may suffer.

Project management is a science and an art. Where analysis leads to a certain contractor, that is the science. The sixth sense is the art of project management. What are your peers in the industry saying about this contractor? Find out.

Does the contractor complete projects on time and budget? Do they have court cases because of non-performance? Watch out and heed to the signs. The moment you sign a contract, it is a binding covenant and like divorce termination is not easy.

It can be messy and ugly. And the victim is the project. Be safe than sorry. This is a nightmare for project teams. Political shenanigans, wheeler-dealing and horse-trading including bribing sometimes play a role in determining which contractor will win the contract to implement a project.

This is where problems start. When a contractor bribes to get a contract, they will start on negative. This is because if the tendering was competitive, they would want to squeeze their mark up to beat the competition. When the lowest evaluated bidder has already paid good sums in bribes, that is a hole to plug in.

Additionally, that aspect of buying the contract through bribes becomes a headache during project implementation. Such a contractor cannot deliver quality. They will want to cut corners to recover the money they bribed with. The contractor will go for cheap materials and this will compromise on quality. It will be hard to implement the instructions of the project team because they have pocketed the sponsor.

Another key indicator in a contractor is personnel. Right away from tendering let the contractor send engineers to the site visit.

Let them come with their practicing licenses and IDs to make sure you are dealing with bona fide professionals.

The National Construction Authority should ensure only professionals in the construction business register and run construction companies.

Eng Kiteme is a civil structural engineer. [email protected]