By Gerry McNulty, Business Development Manager
I pondered this question while looking one morning at the birds attracted to the feeder below my office window. With an abundance of food available, why do these gold finches choose to feed here? Is it the location or time of day/year? Maybe it’s the height of the feeder or the nyjer seeds in the feeder? Perhaps it’s a combination of these factors, or even something we can’t quite see?
Sometimes it’s hard to see the reasons behind a choice, and it’s definitely a challenge we often face beyond the bird feeder, in the business world.
It’s good to talk
To understand why a customer chooses a certain supplier, you need to understand the reasons behind the decision. In today’s fast-paced, multi-channel world, that’s not as simple as it sounds. Time, place and environment change regularly and the only way to keep abreast of what’s really going on, is to maintain regular contact and keep in touch.
This can represent a big investment, particularly for smaller, more nimble operations such as BHR Group when engaging with larger, often complex, organisations. Of course, transparency, honesty and openness are the basis for developing a mutually beneficial customer-supplier relationship. Therefore, in my experience at least, it’s definitely worth the investment, and needs to be a priority.
Is the nuclear industry finally catching up?
The seemingly slow moving world of nuclear decommissioning can be a challenging environment for a smaller business to build a successful track-record. For a supplier to raise its profile, get its message across and build relationships requires not only patience and persistence, but also a real desire to exchange ideas and gain trust. Accordingly, the one-2-one event recently organised for Sellafield Limited was an excellent opportunity to have face to face meetings with representatives of the 15 main business areas.
Well done to Sellafield
Of course there is a great deal of information about the industry readily available nowadays, with extensive strategy documents and guidelines available at the click of a button. But however much reading I’ve done (and I’ll admit, it’s a lot) sitting with key decision makers and influencers was infinitely more valuable. Being able to ask direct questions, and receive open answers on key issues such as what is important to them now, was enlightening. Coupled with the exhibition showcasing the supply chain that ran in parallel with the meeting, this was definitely a good return for the time spent. I therefore applaud Sellafield for enabling the event.
So why did I attend?
I took part in the event both to gain some market intelligence and explore Sellafield’s evolving needs for POCO (Post Operational Clean Out). I’m particularly interested in the issues surrounding surface removal of radioactive materials from internal pipewalls. Our unique DIAJET abrasive-water jet cutting and cleaning equipment can be adapted to decontaminate inside pipes in a more targeted way than current approaches such as chemically pickling the line and so reducing the volume of waste required in the process. I explored with Sellafield personnel what steps we needed to take with them to move from initial concept development to product qualification.
DIAJET: the most powerful water-abrasive jet cutting & cleaning product on the market
BHR Group has developed DIAJET for bulk surface removal from flat surfaces (specifically for possible post-dirty bomb decontamination). For example the picture below shows concrete removed from a vertical wall using an x-y manipulator. We are currently working to adapt the surface removal technology for operation in small bore pipes with tight bend radii. We are also exploring integrating DIAJET technology with our pipeline pigging knowhow to deliver a tool that can remove material engrained in steel pipes.
Working in partnership with our clients, we custom design our solution for their application, from system deigns through factory acceptance to on site proving and operation. Talking with Sellafield’s Innovation team helped me appreciate their motivation and also competitive solutions that our product must surpass.
If you are interested I will be exhibiting this product in a few weeks’ time at the NDA Supply Chain event in Manchester, UK. Watch this space for more details.
Anyway, back to these birds. As the old saying goes, nothing “sucks seeds” like a gold finch with no teeth (although I have to admit, whilst DIAJET is flexible and adaptable, it’s a little too strong for the removal of plaque!)