Collaborative Contracting: Achieving Globally Competitive Project Delivery

Dialogue and collaboration between producers and suppliers is crucial to reduce costs and enable investment and growth.

On June 7, JWN’s next Inspired Conversation brings together multiple players involved in assets and major projects to discuss challenges with existing business models. Exclusive event sponsors are Aecon, Amec FosterWheeler and Waiward.

Click here for more information or to register.

We recently spoke with Wendy Ell, director of strategic partnerships at JWN, about the upcoming event.

1) What conversations with the three major sponsors brought us to the point where they were ready to have this dialogue?

Collaboration isn’t easy. That’s clear. But what we are seeing is producers and suppliers still struggling with the details of how best to collaborate. And this involves collaborative activities both at the FEED stage and later on, in various stages of execution.

The workshop partners are progressive businesses that all want to be part of developing a culture that truly does support Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).

They know that specific processes will need to be put into place that serve to pull together operators and their major suppliers; getting them all working toward a common vision and a set of shared values.

Whether it’s new project management tech tools, formalized models for sharing risk, new ideas around incentives or enhanced measures of performance tracking, it’s clear that processes need to move beyond one company and across the supply chain.

2) How did we get here? Why does Project Delivery need improvement in Alberta in terms of cost and efficiency?

The Canadian oil and gas industry is facing multiple pressures all at once due to many factors. When you combine the low price of oil, higher global supplies, a greater need for enhanced oil recovery, an aging workforce, the introduction to new tech tools, transportation constraints, public scrutiny and new environmental legislation — you have yourself an industry under pressure.

Operating the same way over time isn’t the answer. Our supply chains need to constantly evolve and in doing so, introduce new/innovative tools and processes all geared to reducing the time and overall costs on a project. That may mean taking longer and spending more at some stages of work — but as a means to show dramatic improvements at other stages of work.

3) When it comes to major projects delivery, what do you mean by collaboration?

These partners believe that good supply chain management (SCM) will be key to helping us evolve and navigate the issues. Good SCM coordinates and integrates the flow of materials, information and finances as they move between key suppliers. It is for this reason that all industries have seen models with shared risk, healthy incentives and good business intelligence tools run more smoothly and lead to less cost and time overruns.

It's more than about each tool and each service at each stage of work being done at the lowest possible cost. It's about creating a culture that breeds smart, agile and “end goal” thinking.

4) Why is this the time to talk about new project models?

Our industry knows what dysfunction looks like. We aren’t disputing it. What the energy supply chain needs is support and encouragement and perhaps a healthy dose of examples showing what good collaboration looks like. Best practices are out there, but at times, they fail to provide significant return because they fall off the rails of “good intent.”

Evolving times, tough market conditions and social attentiveness might be exactly what we need to finally step up and do what it takes to build a culture of collaboration — one that breeds continuous innovation, shared learning and a consistent drive toward new action and behavior.

5) What is an IC?

An Inspired Conversations workshop is a working session that invites key stakeholders to come together and work through a key issue. The participants all generally share a common goal and with the guidance of advisors and facilitators, they are able to recognize stumbling blocks and start to identify solution paths. And what makes a JWN workshop unique is that we pool together the learning into a report that is then shared widely among other key channel partners — broadcasting further the drive for change and the key steps toward improvement.

6) Who should come?

Our workshops ask key decision-makers to join in as active participants. If you have a role in shaping process and a passion for healthy project execution, we’d like to invite you to apply to participate. The workshops execute with a healthy ratio of channel partners so that all viewpoints are heard and addressed. Our events operate under Chatham House Rules, such that no one individual is quoted in any way. The intent is always to identify where process is stalling and find realistic, achievable steps that will drive improvement.

This Inspired Conversation event aligns with the vision and mission of the Alberta Projects Improvement Network (APIN), which brings together the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA), GO Productivity, the Supply Chain Management Association of Alberta and JWN. For more information about APIN, visit