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Pushing too Hard?
I can agree in part with the concept of smaller organisations having smaller overheads - though it starts to show as a difference when both organisations are working at capacity. A small contractor having to meet all the business overheads from one job at a time, one after the other is at a financial disadavantage against a large contractor running twenty jobs at a time without twenty times the office overheads. I think the percentage of invoice allocated to business running costs will generally be lower the larger the business gets. It seems to be that way in most industries.

I wrote my original response without reading pages 2 and 3 of the thread (which was enlightened of me) and I should clarify that 'penalty' to a business would be the same as in many industry self-regulating bodies - criteria met = membership = share of the cake because membership is generally specified. Criteria not met = no cake. I was being general.

So your suggestion is that all firms compete on an equal footing? If market muscle doesn't work - then what are those bigger companies doing right that enables them to stay big? Whilst there are plenty of small archaeological organisations doing quite nicely, there are probably a lot more small ones not doing nicely than there are larger ones not doing nicely.

I don't buy the idea that all small businesses deliver the same package and price as the big boys. There's no reason to choose them at all if that's the case.

Re. citing of personel in tenders.

It is possible to cite individual project managers and certain specialists in tenders with a reasonable expectance that they will be involved in the work is the tender is won. In some cases the skills of the named individuals will be key in winning the tender.

However it is not reasonable to cite project officers and supervisors and guarantee their presence on the project. Tenders do not usually stipulate the exact timeframe in which the work is required, and can anyway be subject to delays for any number of reasons. If the named staff are working on other projects when the work is finally agreed and a start date fixed, then it would be unfair and unrealistic to pull them off those other projects.

We would generally say that the Project Officer is the most important person to specify, as they will normally be in charge full-time on site. Far more important than the Project Manager. The PO's role is the key archaeological one, whereas the PM is largely administrative.

We do put these requirements into specs, have done over a period of years, and no one has complained. However, we also generally try to put in specific timescales for when the work is expected to happen.


to let, fully furnished
Thanks am learning a lot about the way archaeology is done outside in the office. Its clearing some clouds, sorry if I come over rude.

May god go with you in all the dark places you must walk.
Well said sniffer.

I will give one example of where small firms have a larger cost being an RAO in the IFA - I have posted on this before.

In many respects the advantages of being small are countered by this and the economy of scale. For example a bit of software I use a few times a month costs £3500. It becomes cheaper to hire things rather than buy.

I would suggest the smaller firms occupy slightly different niches to the bigger ones.


I think you'll find that most, if not all, tenders are won on price and not quality. The tender gets won, then as the work progresses the company having the work done can check the quality. the cheapest tender generally wins the work even if it means they have to try and keep the costs down in order to make a profit, this is the main reason wages in archaeology remain so poor!

Quote:quote: I think you'll find that most, if not all, tenders are won on price and not quality.

There is a strong element of truth in what you say - but it is a very incomplete picture.

We award to the cheapest tenderer - as long as they comply with our quality requirements, expressed either in the Specification or in a separate Pre-Qualification Questionnaire that we also use, which is 100% quality-based.
Also, we only invite tenders from units that we have a degree of faith in. There are several units that we do not invite, either because we have direct experience of poor quality performance, or because a curator has raised concerns about their quality.


to let, fully furnished
Yep, got to agree with that!


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