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the lockdown log 5

Another week gone and the weather has broken. It is cold and wet out there, but I have plenty to do indoors, not least a little blogging. Looking at the rain outside my window here reminds me of the least pleasurable lock down that I have had to endure so far. It was a bid bunker and, like so many of those events, the schedule was blown.

It was pretty routine as birds go. Whilst it was worth good money and fitted the profile of work that we were looking to get into the order book well it was not one of those jobs that got the juices flowing so keeping the team’s motivation up was important. The schedule for the bid was tight, but easy by the standards of many such things and all was going well until one of the bidders put in a load of questions to the client.

This was a standard tactic for someone who was struggling and needed to buy time. It was risky, because the client might just have fired back an answer and left the timetable alone, but this client elected to have us all in and make sure that we fully understood the brief. A couple of the other bidders sent lightweight representatives, it was holiday season and key people might have been away, but the substitutes were not well briefed and left the client with the impression that there was confusion so they elected to issue a clarification notice and extend the bid timetable by two weeks so that we could get our proposals sorted.

We were left with two problems; firstly because we were al most ready to submit and the extra time meant we could fiddle with our proposal and the second was that the bid director was going to be on holiday when the final work would be done. I got the short straw to take over.

As a nationally operating company we had people from all over on the team and so the bid bunker venue was at an hotel just off the M1 below its fork with the M6. A typical sixties/seventies built hotel with little charm was to be my home for eleven nights and twelve days and things went wrong from the start when the day before I was due to go up to start things off my car was hit while parked and left unusable. Normally I would have been given a hire car, but as I was to be in the bunker for a weeks and a half the fleet office declined to arrange one. Taxi, train and taxi got me there and I was stuck.

There was nowhere locally to go even on foot other that to watch the traffic on the M1 and it rained for the duration of my stay so I did not leave the hotel other than to get a quick walk around the car park between showers. It was the longest week and a half of my life, but we got the bid in on time and I managed to stave off most of the efforts to tweak it. We won the work and so I should have been happy, but there had been another twist to the tale.

My car had been repaired and I had received an email fro the fleet office to say that it would be delivered on the last day on my Midlands sojourn. As I worked from home I had assumed that they meant they would have not there for me with the keys through my letter box and so I was disappointed to get out of the taxi to an empty drive that Friday evening. Checking my emails there was one sent just before the office closed to say that the car had been delivered to my hotel…


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