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19 April 2013 | Adam Leach
The participation of SMEs in the supply chain is good business and a “strategic imperative” for Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), its head of procurement has said.
As the bank with the most SME customers - serving 32 per cent of the sector - and the leading financier - lending over 40 per cent of the total lent to small companies - the bank is strongly tied to the fortunes of the so-called “growth makers”.
In his presentation at the ProcureCon Indirect conference yesterday, Jonathan Sutherland, head of procurement at RBS, explained this makes it vital the financial services company also supports the sector through buying from it.
“A healthy SME market is a healthy client base, which is a healthy RBS, so why would we not be [supporting SMEs through our supply chain]? There is a strategic imperative for us in this.” He stressed while it is working offer greater access to small firms, the company is not going to make it easier for them to win contracts. “For us it’s a case of strategy, not philanthropy,” he added.
To drive engagement with the sector, the bank has taken a number of actions, such as establishing an executive steering group with representatives from across the business, and setting up a registration portal for companies to declare an interest and learn more about potential opportunities. They are also holding meet the buyer events to give suppliers the chance to hold face-to-face meetings.
Sutherland also explained in addition to diversifying its own supply chain and the commitment to support small businesses and under-represented businesses, it will make efforts to encourage this strategy through the tiers of its suppliers.