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MOD to increase work with SME manufacturers

The Ministry of Defence has announced plans to spend a quarter of its procurement budget with UK SMEs as part of a new strategy to improve the resilience and security of its supply chain. 

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The MOD has published an updated Defence and Security Industrial Strategy which sets out a more “strategic and nuanced” approach to procurement.

As part of the strategy, a refreshed ‘SME Action Plan’ will be put in place to simplify tender processes and improve access to opportunities for SMEs. The Ministry spent just under a fifth of its procurement budget with SMEs in 2018-19 and hopes to increase spending to 25 per cent by 2025.

In a statement, the Ministry said the plan would “ensure investments in Defence benefit engineers, designers, factory workers [and] scientists” across the UK.

Commenting on the commitment, Lieutenant General Richard Wardlaw, OBE, Chief of Defence Logistics & Support, Strategic Command, Defence Support for the MOD, said:

“It is important that we ensure that supply chains are resilient to shocks and threats and that we can have appropriate confidence in their ability to deliver. 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 on-shoring and/or buying British by design for certain commodities, spares and systems.

“Increasingly, you will also see us include new requirements in contracts to provide more information and visibility on our critical supply chains as well as setting social value outcomes such as environmental considerations through our commercial activities.”

The MOD has also announced a new partnership with manufacturing association Made in Britain to help it seek out prospective SME manufacturers for non-combat products.

John Pearce, CEO of Made in Britain said:

“The MOD’s incredibly diverse needs procuring everything from salt to socks, rope to paving stones – and the diversity of sectors Made in Britain represents across SME manufacturing, meant the association was a natural fit.

“We’re aiming to build a deep and lasting relationship, enabling them to trust the Made in Britain mark in identifying high-quality goods made by exemplary UK manufacturers. It is very encouraging to see their 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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