Pharmaceutical firm to invite 20-25 more contractors to join its “Fusion” procurement initiative on Monday.
GlaxoWellcome is planning to almost double the number of contractors working under its Fusion procurement initiative.

The pharmaceuticals giant will invite 20-25 contractors to join the partnering scheme at a Construction Industry Training Board conference on Monday. Until now, about 25 suppliers have worked on the handful of projects procured under the scheme, which will now be extended to cover all the company’s research and development construction projects.

Bovis, Amec and Schal are already in talks about signing up with GlaxoWellcome, which has an annual construction spend of about £50m.

Fusion offers contractors the opportunity to secure long-term workloads as members of integrated teams. It is the brainchild of GlaxoWellcome’s head of strategic planning UK R&D, Kevin Thomas.

He drew up the details of the initiative with construction firms that GlaxoWellcome has worked with in the past, such as Laing and construction management specialist Woolf, which worked on two projects at Ware and Beckenham.

The £20m refurbishment of a four-storey laboratory and office building at Ware achieved savings of £3m. In addition, the project team calculated that a traditional procurement route would have led to the project costing £3m-4m more in variations and claims.

The £17m Beckenham project – a combination of 20 facility and two infrastructure schemes – finished six months earlier. This saved £4m-5m.

Fusion is based on six guiding principles: fairness, unity, seamlessness, initiative, openness and no blame. In practice, the principles have meant that contracts have included no liquidated damages and no set-off clauses.

Woolf executive director Phil Brumby said: “Fusion has been very successful. In the team of 10 suppliers we assembled, we would pat people on the back if they did well and tell them off if they did badly. However, we wouldn’t castrate them, which is the normal thing to do in the construction industry.”

Construction has become used to working with supply-chain initiatives imported from other industries. By contrast, Fusion is already being used by catering, communications and pool car suppliers on some GlaxoWellcome sites.

Thomas is also going to review the company’s drug discovery process using the Fusion principles.