15 Tips for Navigating the Supply Chain

  1. Network! Attend industry events; build relationships with the buyers.
  2. Know the industry and learn the industry terminology.
  3. Research the project operators and find out who their contractors are. Most projects will have a construction phase and an operations phase. Purchasing requirements may vary greatly from one phase to the next.
  4. Know the project, its timelines, and its deliverables. Research is critical. Projects are schedule driven. You must be able to supply on time and on budget.
  5. Find out where you fit in the supply chain. Are you a second or third tier supplier? Who should you supply to?
  6. Understand the procurement cycle for the project you are targeting. Talk to procurement personnel; understand how and when they buy.
  7. Attend supplier development sessions; even if you think the project is too big for your business, you may meet someone there that needs your business.
  8. Look for other businesses that you may be able to partner or team with to bid for contracts.
  9. Have a strong capability statement. Don’t ask them what they need; tell them why they need your business.
  10. Know your value proposition: what sets you apart from the competition? Understand their business/project and what they require. Clearly articulate why they need to buy from you.
  11. Have a quality assurance program and health and safety policy in place. Know and understand what is required by the industry generally, and the operator specifically, and how that applies to your business. Some may only require written policies; others may require the development of a full program.
  12. Register on the operators’ vendor registration database. Be sure to complete ALL required information. If you aren’t sure about something, ask for help – don’t leave things blank.
  13. Watch for procurement opportunities. Operators will send out Expressions of Interest (EOI) for bidders. They will also post successful contracts. Take a look: you may be able to supply to the successful bidder.
  14. Understand exactly what gender equity and diversity policies actually require operators to do, or not do. Understand what you need to do to be the successful bidder.
  15. Learn about the role of the Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) and the Environmental Assessment process for major projects. Learn how to use these processes to get additional information on projects. Both agencies seek public consultation and input on upcoming projects.
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