The organisation achieved a Top 3 position in their CAT3 assessment, on target in terms of agreed programme goals and meeting stakeholder expectations.


Our client was a major international engineering and construction group involved in the delivery of several major Highways projects with values in the £10’s to £100’s millions for the Highways Agency in the UK.
The Highways Agency had been using the Capability Assessment Toolkit (CAT) for a number of years as a key qualifying step in their procurement process to identify the competence and capability of major suppliers and select those most likely to deliver best value solutions and services. Their CAT3 assessment was to be largely based on the principles set out in the EFQM Excellence Model.
Success in CAT assessments was essential for our client in order to pre-qualify for Highways Agency contracts, and it would also be highly beneficial for pre-qualification and contract award for Local Authority highways contracts. Success would also support brand promotion and tactical support to tenders with all their clients and prospects, as CAT was a highly regarded pre-bid capability assessment for the construction sector. Additionally it was most likely that other Government procurement teams would use the approach as the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) was promoting wider use of the EFQM Excellence Model.

TRIMENTIS were already assisting the client in the introduction of Performance Leadership as a world-class approach to the implementation of Business Excellence, drawing together proven best practices from leading organisations. Consequently, we were invited to assist the client’s senior manager accountable for the Highways Agency CAT3 assessment, contributing our extensive experiences in both business excellence and major infrastructure projects.


TRIMENTIS approached preparation for the assessment as a major project in its own right. This involved use of the core Performance Leadership processes starting with strategy clarification. Stakeholder needs were established together with reviews of past performance, current capability and assessments of best practices and competitor capabilities in relation to CAT3 requirements.

Once the organisation had a shared understanding of the strategic intent underpinned by agreed goals and objectives, detailed programme plans were developed so that all the key functional and line management groups could contribute their expertise in an organisation wide, integrated approach. During the strategic review, the organisation’s senior manager had ruled out the option of using a small dedicated team effort that would ultimately have delivered a lower quality solution with fewer lasting benefits to a more limited group of staff.

Following strategy clarification, the programme was delivered through two streams of activity. Firstly functional and line management teams were supported in the development of their subject matter, and secondly ongoing programme management was directed through Performance Review Meetings as part of the core Performance Management Process.


  • The organisation achieved a Top 3 position in their CAT3 assessment, on target in terms of agreed programme goals and meeting stakeholder expectations.

  • The organisation radically increased their understanding and practical implementation of the principles and practices of business excellence.

  • The organisation moved their proactive but somewhat disjointed improvement efforts into a more integrated, interdependent system of management and leadership, setting them up for ongoing success.

  • The organisation significantly increased the quality of specific areas of subject matter ranging from approaches to the overall strategy and business planning, through supplier relationships and on into employee leadership based on a wider understanding and use of best practice approaches.

  • The organisation aligned their strategic intent to help their customers meet their objectives, improved their understanding of Business Excellence to continually improve the delivery of products and services and established a more robust approach to creating value for their stakeholders, underpinning their success as a leading contractor.


This important result in our CAT3 supplier assessment will not only lead directly to a positive contribution to the bottom line, but will also have a tangible lasting impact on our effectiveness as an organisation.

Senior Manager CAT3 Programme, Major International Engineering and Construction Group

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