Feature, Transport

Tube’s new procurement plan focuses on performance

The Tube is hoping that a new procurement process will improve the travelling experience for commuters across London's rail transport network.

Procuring luminaires for major projects has always been a road fraught with pitfalls. Today, many projects are forced to put cost reduction ahead of performance and reliability. 

Transport for London is approaching the procurement process differently though and is using a plan developed by the EU-funded organisation Procurement of Lighting Innovation and Technology in Europe (Pro-Lite).

Pro-Lite is not the neatest acronym to ever come out of Brussels, nevertheless the organisation hopes to turn lighting specification into a process that is fit for purpose.

TfL will announce the results of this innovative process at Lux’s upcoming Lighting for Rail Conference, but in the mean time here is a more detailed look at how the Pro-Lite process works.

1.  Analysis – The process begins with analysis of customer reviews, in order to establishing where savings and efficiencies can be made. Examples of areas well positioned for trimming include maintenance costs, installation costs, product unit costs, cleaning costs and energy costs.

2. Research – On-going research generates knowledge of the trends that are driving the lighting industry. Technology, market structure and regulations are all considered. It is only by understanding the structure of the lighting market that it becomes possible to develop a strategy for engaging with manufacturers.

3. Engagement – Traditionally procurement is dominated by manufacturers. Pro-Lite aims to engage early with the marketplace in order to foster a pro-active relationship with manufacturers and suppliers.

4. Development – As customer reviews drive the technical development of products, the Pro-Lite process helps manufacturers to create robust business cases.

5.  Procurement  – There are three stages to being approved as a Pro-Lite partner:

•  Pre-qualification gauges the scope of manufacturer interest.

•  Invitation to tender assessments. An evaluation of each manufacturer’s proposition ahead of the final stage.

Invitations to tender go out to a carefully selected group of manufacturers, all of whom have successfully demonstrated their ability to provide products that demonstrate strong performance and affordability.

The procurement of lighting products represents the inaugural  Pro-Lite study. In the future, it is expected that the process will be expanded to cover other project areas such as signage, surface finishes (flooring, walls, ceilings) and other station assets.

Lux is hosting a special Lighting for Rail conference in London on Wednesday 22 June. It’s free for consulting engineers and representatives of network operators and TOCs. To view the details and register for a place, click on the conference logo.