Government Defence Minister opens door for region’s SMEs

4 February 2016, News

Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defence Procurement at the Ministry of Defence, has announced that the MOD want to do more business in future with small to medium sized businesses.

Talking at a conference in Bristol, organised by JBP and the West of England Aerospace Forum, he told some 100 local business people that the MOD was looking to increase the proportion of spend through SMEs from 19% in the last Parliament to 25% by the end of this Parliament.  The overall Government target is to achieve 33% by 2020. The Minister highlighted that SMEs in particular had a key role to play in helping to innovate the defence sector and ultimately provide battle winning capability.

As part of these plans, Steven Morgan, the MOD’s Director Commercial and Supply Chain Champion,  added: “In future we will be making it easier for SMEs and non-traditional suppliers to bid for defence and security business, incentivising large contractors to work with smaller companies and encouraging SMEs to partner with other organisations. We will also be appointing a number of supply chain advocates within the MOD who will be responsible for reaching out to SMEs to raise awareness of our defence requirements.

“We will be challenging our policies and practices which make it difficult for SMEs to participate fully in our business. We want to create a level playing field.”

Mark Cook, CEO at Stirling Dynamics, which is based in Bristol and provides aerospace, defence and marine technology consultancy services called upon the Government to be more supportive of consortium bids involving a number of small businesses and to simplify the tender bid process for SMEs.

Barbara Doornink, Managing Director at Team Leidos, which last year secured the MOD contract for the transformation of logistics services and commodities, and is based at Emersons Green, highlighted plans to improve efficiency, visibility, speed and reliability in the delivery of food, clothing, medical and general supplies to the front line. She commented: “SMEs already play a key role on a number of contracts managed by Team Leidos and we are currently looking at ways to simplify the process to make it easier so that more SMEs can become involved in our business.”

Rounding up the conference, Amanda Deeks, Chief Executive at South Gloucestershire Council, commented: “This conference has emphasised the key role that SMEs have to play in the defence sector, presenting significant opportunities here in the West of England where we have a large number of innovative small businesses and an established reputation in the sector.”

 

The event was sponsored by PwC.

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