Stowmarket-based precast concrete specialist Poundfield Products has already won two contracts to supply its patented retaining wall product Alfabloc to EDF Energy for the Hinkley Point C new-build nuclear project in Somerset.
This represents an early success for Suffolk Chamber of Commerce’s partnership with EDF to promote opportunities for local companies within the energy group’s supply chain ahead of the proposed Sizewell C project which is planned to follow on from Hinkley Point C.
In addition, Poundfield has now also won a contract to supply the Alfabloc system to ID Corcoran which is currently working on the decommissioning of the Sizewell A plant, owned by Magnox.
Matt Moss, commercial director at Poundfield, which employs more than 70 people, said: “To win contracts of this scale meant we had to have every part of our production process just right.
“We have proven that we are fit for the particularly high standards required of any nuclear-related contract and that we have the right commercial relationships in place in each of the respective supply chains.
“Poundfield is a growing company with a very strong presence in delivering great products and solutions to the sea defence, waste and agricultural sectors. These three nuclear wins mean that we have an increasingly diverse and successful business model.”
Mr Moss added: “As part of our long-term business plan we have been looking to enter into new markets, and the nuclear industry, which looks set to grow both because of the construction of new stations and the decommissioning of older ones, is a key element in that diversification.
“The key challenge for us was to invest the time and expertise in getting Poundfield on to the supply chains established by station owners to manage their various complex engineering projects.
“Something as complicated as building Hinkley Point C in Somerset or the decommissioning of Sizewell A here in Suffolk, where we have recently won contracts, can only be managed via supply chains rather than hundreds of individual contracts with the owners,” said Mr Moss.
“These chains are constructed in such a way that they are headed by ‘Tier 1’ companies – large corporate contractors who are charged by the station owners to in turn source other suppliers to help deliver their part of the project.
“The downsides of trying to get on to a supply chain are that the regulations behind the approval processes can be onerous and time-consuming to comply with.
“We were immensely grateful to Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, of which we are members, for their direct help and signposting to the right people in Somerset to ensure that we got onto the Hinkley point C supply chain and understood the best ways of updating our credentials and keeping an eye out for newly advertised work packages.
“In fact, Suffolk Chamber’s supply chain website for the prospective Sizewell C project – www.sizewellcsupplychain.co.uk –is up and running and any company interested in standing a chance to bid for work on this project needs to sign up sooner rather than later.
“So, any short term pain is more than made up for by the long term gains. We have learnt as a company to tackle supply chains head on as a way of ensuring our business has the best opportunity to gain vital opportunities for the growth and prosperity of our company.”
Source: Ipswich Star – 03 April 2017 – Duncan Brodie