Looking beyond the obvious

Market sounding for a better end result

Our client SPT wanted to approach the procurement of the Glasgow Subway system in a different way. They had a vision for a technologically advanced system, and didn’t want to constrain their vision by defining the specification before everyone fully understood what suppliers could achieve.

This made the usual starting point of a 300 page specification redundant.

The details: Our approach was to start with a three page summary of top line requirements and conduct ‘Market Sounding’ across suppliers. All suppliers reacted favourably, from train manufacturers to signalling and systems manufacturers, civil engineering companies and supply chain contractors. This approach enabled them to showcase their abilities early on.

Why did it matter?: It allowed us to get going in a cost-effective manner while quickly ruling out solutions which wouldn’t provide SPT with the required elements. This level of engagement also unearthed valuable market knowledge which defined the realms of possibility as well as hard constraints.

The end result: Working closely with SPTs executive team and key stakeholders we made sure everyone could understand the impact of decisions at each stage, and not just the operational and technical members of the team.

Armed with what could and couldn’t be done, we were then able to develop a robust set of requirements and Racon were then engaged to lead SPT’s team on the procurement of the new system. We not only delivered a unique blend of our own strategic, commercial, technical and operational advice and expertise, but also co-ordinated SPTs legal and other advisers, as well as developing deep partnership working with SPT’s own internal team. The end result was more than the successful procurement of a highly complex, technologically advanced system within the clients budget and time, it also ensured that the Glasgow subway would continue to serve Glasgow and Scotland for another generation.

Want our take on your challenge?

Call one of our senior team for an informal discussion.


Carol Wilson
T: +44 (0)141 248 3038


Frank Sweeney
T: +44 (0)1332 897485