BT reviews and creates rosters

BT’s design procurement process is going through a massive overhaul aimed at streamlining operations, and rosters are being set up or reviewed for product, print and multimedia, plus direct marketing and sales promotion.

About 57 product design groups were invited to tender for the product roster and 14 unnamed UK and international groups have been shortlisted. After a proposals pitch BT will choose three core groups with a handful of others to work on concepts, says BT product and service design manager Peter Lee.

“The competition is high and we have had to be quite ruthless,” says Lee. Kinneir Dufort and Random Product Design are known to be on the shortlist.

BT’s one-year-old 12-strong print design roster is being added to as the company’s operational requirements change. BT is approaching about 70 groups and will add an as yet unspecified number of consultancies to the existing list.

With BT’s changes in operations, it may look to include more consultancies based outside London on its print design roster, says BT design manager Richard Troughton. The new line-up should be in place in January.

BT’s first multimedia roster will probably be 10- or 12-strong. “The ‘longlist’ of groups has been compiled,” says Troughton, and these will now be approached directly by BT.

Any interiors roster is a longer term project as interiors procurement is not directly controlled by the design unit.

“It is the design unit’s intention to influence this supply base more than it has done,” Troughton adds.

Exhibition design groups were invited to tender but “operational requirements changed” and the principle of having a roster is under review, says Troughton. For the time being, exhibition work will be commissioned on a pitch by pitch basis.

The 12.5bn merger of BT with MCI Communications has formed a new company called Concert. BT will continue to use its own logo and house style, says BT design manager Philippa Butters.

BT and MCI already operate Concert Communications, a worldwide voice and data network set up in 1994. Logo design was done at the time by a US consultancy. Decisions on the new company’s identity will be taken in about a year’s time when the merger has received clearance.

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