Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a vital source of innovation and buyers should not be put off by fear of financial instability, a conference was told.
Phil Machin, director of Bridge Procurement, said SMEs “help us grow, evolve and innovate” but financial criteria risks ruling them out. “Do not disqualify due to financial stability alone,” he said. “If it’s the right business opportunity you need to make it work."
Speaking at the CIPS Annual Conference in London, Machin said SMEs were responsible for around half of revenues generated in the UK. “SMEs want to work with you. They aspire to be bigger corporates. They want to reward you with the latest and greatest, they want to share their IP. Naturally they want to sell you more,” he said.
Machin said bosses of SMEs - defined as businesses with turnover of up to £40 million and with up to 250 employees - were typically entrepreneurs, but it was necessary to get procurement processes right to make the most of what they had to offer.
“Being a buyer, you get that innovation,” he said. “We thrive on innovation and we can obtain innovation from SMEs. They are agile, they can adapt, they are flexible.”