Clever tendering: rail sector success for Sandwell businesses

Thanks to innovative tendering support from Sandwell Council, a group of Sandwell SMEs has this year secured contracts on some of the UK’s biggest rail projects.

Sandwell Business Ambassadors would like to congratulate several firms who in 2019 won work on major infrastructure rail projects that include the Metro expansion, high-speed rail, and improvements to the West Coast Main Line.

The SMEs’ business wins came as a result of working closely with Sandwell Council’s Business Growth team at the pre-tender stage, to find out how to submit winning bids. Sandwell Council has been supporting ‘cluster groups’ of local businesses to strengthen their chances in the procurement process.

With the rail sector cluster group, Sandwell Council carried out innovative early interventions, including hosting rail-themed ‘meet the buyer’ events and supply chain development workshops. The council facilitated meetings with stakeholders, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and clients to give Sandwell suppliers the best possible insight when tendering.

Firms who won work as a direct result of this support include Oldbury-based Currall Lewis & Martin (CLM), which has secured over a million pounds’ worth of contracts aligned to conservation and preparatory works for HS2.

CLM was among the first contractors to break ground on the prestigious project.

Other successful businesses include Tipton-based Doocey Group and Forkers Limited in West Bromwich. They have been awarded rail contracts for groundworks, piling, water diversions, utilities, traffic management and linear route civil engineering works packages on various infrastructure projects.

Lee Brothers in Wednesbury has won contracts to supply site consumables, traffic management signage, spill management materials, PPE (personal protective equipment) and fire safety equipment to the Midlands Metro Expansion project.

Tipton-based manufacturer RCF Bolt & Nut Ltd has begun supplying high-value manufactured components and metal-based fixings needed for tram stops, rail track fastenings, ferrules and chair screws for the UK’s multi-billion pound rail improvement programme.

Shaun Collinson, sales and development manager at RCF Bolt & Nut said: “We’re delighted to be part of this new supply chain approach to rail industry investment. We’re currently working with clients to establish future business opportunities, potential design and product improvements that can contribute towards cost-savings and competitive business-winning bids.

“The opportunity to meet and spend a formal yet relaxed evening with stakeholders and potential clients involved in flagship rail projects is invaluable to small firms like ours”.

Alan Taylor, chair of Sandwell Business Ambassadors said: “I’m delighted that the client introductions and business-networking support that Sandwell Council offers to SMEs in the borough is proving successful. As Sandwell Business Ambassadors one of our goals is to see more money invested, retained and recycled in the Black Country, for the good of people and communities as well as businesses.

“Sandwell Council is leading the way in ensuring local suppliers put their best feet forward when tendering. Well done to the council, and congratulations to the firms which have won work”.

Sandwell companies interested in working in a cluster group on tendering skills should contact the Business Growth Team via Think Sandwell. Sandwell Business Ambassadors will be back in 2020 with further examples of regional good practice, opportunities for procurement support, and ideas for #doingbusinessbetter.


The Ambassadors are a collective of business people in the Sandwell area with the aim of supporting the Sandwell Business Community.

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