Engage us to ensure that your project goes well:

As a percentage of a projects total value, the up-front cost of a standby (battery-backed) power system can be relatively small, but when a power system has been delivered defective, non-compliant, or late, there are always extra costs that often end up being absorbed by project managers.

Much time and money is wasted dealing with defects and delays. Defects in standby DC or AC power systems are nearly always perceived as 'hot'.

In our experience, the roots of most defects and non-compliances sprout during a project's tendering stage - when significant clauses and ambiguities within a specification or scope are misunderstood, overlooked, ignored, or perhaps not clarified or captured during early negotiations between project designers, systems integrators and equipment vendors. Sometimes, the root of the a whole host of problems is simply that the wrong vendor was selected; some vendors will 'wreck' your project.

For example, a well-known global engineering corporation hired us because they had just paid millions of dollars more than they and their client should have paid for industrial DC systems. At the eleventh hour their preferred supplier was rejected by their client and the project team lacked the expertise necessary to qualify more cost-effective solutions from other potentially suitable vendors within the remaining time constraints.

Mistakes happen when the responsibility for understanding a project's DC and AC UPS systems requirements is thrust upon an already overloaded project engineer or project manager who may or may not be competent in the area. I have noticed that even the most experienced project engineers and managers often miss the deeper implications of some clauses in a project's specifications: this is where most significant losses stem from and one cannot rely entirely on vendors to provide 100% compliant offers.

Exposure to unnecessary risk at the project tendering stage happens because few companies have the time or in-house expertise to conduct a thorough due diligence on project specifications requiring third party equipment such as DC systems or AC UPS' - let alone complete multiple rounds of clarifications with multiple vendors. Lack of time is a problem often compounded by the fact that many vendor sales people skim project specifications to get the gist of a project's requirements. Sometimes less experienced or more entrepreneurial sales people (even those representing quality-conscious vendors do this) may put forward a partially compliant offer because they are under pressure from lack of time. Worse, vendor sales staff sometimes go out on a limb by putting forward their initial offer without the necessary support or input from their production department. Rightly or wrongly, sales people may assume that there will be another round of clarifications before an order is placed, or that you will check their offer thoroughly and instruct them on how to correct their errors. This is faulty thinking, but getting all vendors to provide a clause-by-clause statement of compliance can be really difficult, as can the process of chasing them up, waiting for their revised offers, checking for omissions, coaxing them along, questioning them, comparing offers, etc... Getting vendors to quote accurately is a difficult and time consuming process that, if not done well, can cost a company dearly. This is what some of our Associates at Ethos Power are good at; we know which vendors to work with and how to work with them.

Few initial offers by sales persons are 100% compliant to a project specifications. Sales is a numbers game and sales people are always under pressure to win new projects, hence sales people can be reluctant to put their time and commitment into providing statements of compliance or list their deviations. Beware of winning a project using a vendor’s offer that has holes in it; vendors sometimes insist that they never promised 100% compliance, that their standard product specifications state 'this or that'. Hence the arguing and losses begin!

Vendors sometimes argue along the lines of 'their quote said this.... or their product specifications say otherwise...' etc.. A good way to avoid such disputes is by being very clear about the contractual hierarchy of documents. A good place time and way to do this in your formal RFQ to equipment vendors, followed up by a verbal run-through, and then again in your letter of award to each vendor.

The documents that carry the least legal weight in a project are usually the vendor's quote and the vendor's standard product specifications.

For clarity's sake, in descending order of importance, the contractual hierarchy of documents in a well managed project would usually be stated as:

  1. The project technical schedules;
  2. The project commercial schedules;
  3. The project specifications;
  4. The equipment purchasers’ terms and conditions;
  5. The vendor’s quotation;
  6. The vendor's standard product specifications.

Luckily there are dependable manufacturers and vendors who have quality systems that they adhere to and have cultures of 'caring' about their customers and their projects; these are the vendors that we work with and ones that we can recommend to you. We do not receive rewards from vendors that we recommend; we recommend vendors on the quality of their support, products, production management, documentation, relevant experience and on-site support.

The above is written based on experience gathered over more than twenty five years of reviewing, developing and responding to literally thousands of power system specifications and assisting on hundreds of projects.

By spending perhaps just a few hours with us during the tending phase of your project we can provide value that will help you deliver a high quality project.

Please contact us about your requirements or register your project online for a free, no obligation, preliminary review and discussion.

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