Cammell Laird moves to streamline purchasing

14 December 2000
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14 December 2000 | David Arminas

Shipbuilder and repairer Cammell Laird plans to consolidate its group purchasing within the next few months and hire a group purchasing director.

The company has had success over the past year in co-ordinating purchases of gas, steel and pipework for all of its shipyards in the UK, France and Portugal, said Eric Wall, part-time purchasing manager who is in charge of contracts.

Cammell Laird will implement a group-wide procurement policy when a purchasing director is appointed, Wall told SM.

Over the past year, the shipbuilder has raised money through bond issues to finance expansion in Europe and the US. The hiring of a procurement director comes as Laird awaits finalisation of a major construction and refitting contract, worth more than £340 million, for two cruise liners for Luxus, a new UK cruise consortium.

But Luxus and Cammell Laird have said the order is conditional on funding from the Department of Trade and Industry. Funding must comply with European Union directives on state aid.

A DTI spokesman said there was an onus on the two companies, and the industry in general, to ensure their supply chains were in order.

The government is keen to help the ailing shipbuilding industry make itself more competitive internationally, including the adoption of better supply chain practices, he said.

The DTI is spearheading financial aid packages such as last month's Link Research Project, a grant of £2.8 million for a study concentrating on supply chain integration and how well the industry works together.

British marine equipment manufacturers and cruise ship suppliers will be facing stiff competition from overseas companies, according to David Jeffrey, chief executive of the British Marine Equipment Council. But they are already used to competing with foreign companies in overseas markets.

Planning and project management would be the big tests for Cammell Laird, and suppliers needed to know specifications early. "We can only respond to their planning," Jeffrey said.

The shipbuilder and its unions are currently in dispute with an Italian firm over a cancelled £51 million contract to lengthen the cruise ship Costa Classica, which turned back en route to the UK at the end of November.


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