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"You need to be proactive and start with the needs of the West Link Project"
We in the West Link: Lillian Brunbäck is responsible for the procurements in the West Link Project.
What is a procurement and what does it involve?
A procurement is a purchase of something. In the case of the West Link, it most often involves the purchase of contract works or other consulting services. When you need to buy something within the public sector, you are steered or directed by a law – the Public Procurement Act. Before a procurement takes place, a set of documents known as tender enquiry documents are prepared which have to be answered by the suppliers. In this context it is a matter of describing what the project needs and what the demands are, in order to convert them into a set of specific requirements. After the suppliers have answered our enquiries, their tenders are evaluated and we then award the contract to the supplier who has submitted the most advantageous tender.
How did you come to be involved in the West Link Project and what does your role involve?
I am an economist in the field of international economics, and have worked both as a consultant and as a project manager, which was how I first came in touch with the subject of procurements. I began to work as a procurement engineer at Banverket (the Swedish Rail Administration) in 2004 and have since 2011 been the Procurement Manager for the West Link Project, which means that I am in charge of the procurements made by the West Link project team.
What are the greatest challenges from your point of view?
The difficulties mostly lie in the fact that the project to be constructed is a unique and complex facility. It is therefore an extremely demanding task, which means that it is important to find the right suppliers and business forms. The suppliers shall have the right competence, the right attitude and the right priorities.
How do you solve these challenges?
First and foremost, we must draw up a good set of tender enquiry documents so that the suppliers have something clearly defined to work on. Producing attractive enquiry documents and marketing our procurements in the right way to our suppliers means that we receive more tenders to choose from. By learning from experiences gained in other major projects and studying smart solutions that already have been made, we don't have to re-invent the wheel. It is also important to maintain a dialogue with the market and to start with the specific requirements of the West Link Project. We also have to be proactive and to understand and predict what needs to be done so that we can have suppliers in place at the right time.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
I enjoy working together with other people and constantly learning new things. I work with a lot of intelligent people who know things that I don't, and who I can learn from.
What do you do to relax?
That's easy – I have two children, which means I spend a lot of time with my family. Otherwise, I occasionally go horse-riding, and enjoy being in the forest and working in the garden.
Is there a lot of talking about the West Link Project in your spare time?
That was more the case earlier. By now, most of the people in my surroundings know quite a lot about the project. I am very proud to be working on the West Link Project, and I usually try to explain the real truth about what is to be read in the media.