Network Rail predicts to procure £2.2bn over next 10 years as it streamlines process

Network Rail has launched a pioneering technology to ease the procurement process for SMEs and encourage firms to bid for a range of services by eliminating a set of prequalification questions in the competitive race.

The rail organisation has developed its Supplier Qualification System (SQS), designed to improve market engagement, provide greater visibility of business opportunities and reduce the time it takes to award contracts.

The main purpose and benefit on SQS is that once suppliers have registered and qualified on the system, they will no longer be required to complete a set of prequalification questions each time they participate in a competitive process.

It includes IT services and goods across technologies, professional services, solution delivery and support services. The rail operator say SQS has been established following extensive market research, which showed that suppliers wanted a more efficient contracting process.

With Network Rail estimating that £2.2 billion will be procured over the next 10 years, bosses are is encouraging suppliers, especially small and medium sized businesses, to register for the SQS as it will be the primary sourcing platform for many future procurement opportunities.

Commenting on the system, Glen Combe, head of commercial for technology at Network Rail, said: “The feedback from vendors so far has been very positive and we are encouraging organisations to register. The new SQS will streamline the procurement process by removing the need for suppliers to go through a prequalification process each time they are invited to tender. It also provides greater visibility of business opportunities and reduces the time it takes to award contracts.”

Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS), hosted by Capita and Altius, will continue to operate as Network Rail’s qualification system for all auditable and non-technology related categories.

Any suppliers who are interested in the SQS are invited to review the joining instructions on the Qualification System Notice here.

If you would like to contact Ryan Tute about this, or any other story, please email