HP announces SME supplier support scheme

26 January 2012

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26 January 2012 | Adam Leach

Technology firm HP is to offer SMEs in its supply chain the opportunity to put their products and ideas through the company’s security and compliance testing infrastructure to help them win government contracts.

Speaking to SM, Susan Bowen, UK & Ireland director of strategy and customer advocacy at HP, explained despite having a great idea that would fit with a government contract, and the skills to create it, an SME might be barred from gaining access to the tender. Public sector tenders often have strict requirements surrounding security or compliance for products, and achieving these standards can often be expensive or complex for small businesses.

Bowen said as part of a package of measures designed to boost SME engagement in the HP supply chain, the company would lend a hand in this area. “What HP wants to do, and it is a part of this programme, is to say ‘we have a facility and we have a process for doing that, so let us help you as an SME to put your application through that process’.”

Other measures announced last week included establishing an approved supplier list of SMEs, increasing the use of small firms in the supply chain - it currently does business with 600 - and expanding an information service that gives interested companies support and information.

Bowen explained to SM a large part of the scheme would be to bring together the work already being done by the company with the SME sector and to help develop existing suppliers.

She said: “By bringing this central programme together and registering SMEs and the value or innovation of the products or services they offer, we will be broadcasting that out to everywhere. Whereas, in the past, while they’ve done a fantastic job and everybody’s loved their work, they’ve been sat inside a particular contract and they couldn’t necessarily stick their head up.”

Asked what benefits the companies get from working with SMEs as opposed to larger businesses, she said: “I think the strengths of an SME are typically flexibility and creativity because often they’re not confined by big processes and they often don’t have a form of governance that restricts their thinking.”

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