MoD drawing up action plan to increase SME suppliers

27 April 2021

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is simplifying its tender process and targeting UK SME manufacturers as part of a commitment to boost the economy.

The MoD is in talks with Made in Britain, a non-profit organisation representing more than 1,600 British manufacturers, 95% of which are SMEs, via its procurement partner Leidos.

In its Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, the MoD made a commitment to enhance its contribution to the UK’s economic prosperity, including maximising procurement opportunities for SMEs.

The MoD will include new requirements in contracts to provide more information and visibility on critical supply chains, as well as setting social value criteria and environmental considerations.

Leidos said it was keen for SMEs to become suppliers to the Logistics, Commodities and Services Transformation Programme, in support of the MoD’s target of 25% of all procurement spending going to SMEs by 2025.

“At present, over 50% of our on-contract suppliers are UK based SMEs,” said Huw Jenkins, interim programme director, Logistics, Commodities and Services Transformation Programme, at Leidos.

“The shift towards these enterprises has been a conscious decision on our part, and we’ve widened our pre-tender market engagement, simplified our tender processes and launched a new tendering system.”

Lieutenant general Richard Wardlaw, chief of defence logistics & support for the MoD, said it would publish a fresh SME Action Plan to set out how the department would maximise opportunities for small businesses.

“When it comes to supply chains it is important that we ensure that they are resilient to shocks and threats and that we can have appropriate confidence in their ability to deliver,” he said.

“In doing so, we will defend the areas that are important for our national security and ensure security of supply of the capabilities that we need. Where appropriate that might result in onshoring and/or buying British by design for certain commodities, spares and systems.”

John Pearce, chief executive of Made in Britain, said: “It is very encouraging to see their [the MoD’s] increased focus on social value, which indicates due consideration will be given to sustainability credentials when evaluating potential manufacturers as well as cost.”

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