Why SMEs are integral to the Government’s supply chain – find out from the businesses at the heart of UK Defence logistics
As the war effort in Ukraine rages on, now represents one of the most critical times for the UK’s defence sector in recent memory.
With increasing threats forcing western nations to renew their focus on defence spending, it’s never been more critical to ensure that the processes which help the UK’s defence sector function smoothly are as efficient and effective as possible.
There’s often a misconception that large corporations are responsible for the delivery of these processes. While this is true to an extent, UK Defence stands out as an industry where the role of SMEs is equally as integral.
UK Defence leading the way
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) make up over 52% of the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) supply chain. That is a huge percentage.
To put this into perspective, the British Chambers of Commerce recently published a report which found that just 21% of central government and wider public sector procurement spending went directly to SMEs in 2021.
Clearly, therefore, SMEs play an especially important role in the MoD’s supply chain. Over the last decade, UK Defence has built an incredibly productive relationship with SMEs, recognising where their expertise is best applied to support the objectives of the UK Defence community.
The role of SMEs in the here and now
This relationship is helping deliver critical contracts for the MoD in the here and now. For instance, a range of SMEs across the country support Leidos UK in its stewardship of the Logistic Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) programme.
The LCST programme provides essential services, such as the storage and distribution of MoD’s materiel. Without it, members of the armed forces would not have the equipment they need, when they need it, to do their jobs.
It underlines clearly how the SMEs involved in the LCST programme play an incredibly important role in keeping the UK’s defence efforts moving. The flagship £6.5bn LCST programme has been running since 2015, and in that time has delivered over £1bn worth of products to the UK military. Without the SMEs involved in the programme, none of this would be possible.
The wider work of SMEs in defence supply chains
The work of the LCST programme may not always be seen or understood by the general public. However, many of the SMEs involved in UK Defence’s supply chain have done faultless work that the public will no doubt have recognised.
For instance, SMEs were absolutely integral to the preparation and fulfilment of the HM Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral. While the country turned out in huge numbers to pay their respects or watched the coverage from home, these SMEs were required, at extremely short notice, to provide clothing and dress uniform items to those undertaking an official military role in proceedings.
Without their efforts, some of the splendour and decorum of the State Funeral would have been lost. It shows how SMEs play a hugely important role in our supply chains to help the UK Defence sector in their day-to-day and ceremonial operation.
Celebrating the defence sector’s SMEs
For these reasons, there has never been a more appropriate time to celebrate these SMEs and their contribution to UK Defence. This is why Leidos are delighted to be hosting a reception in the Churchill Room in the House of Commons next Tuesday between 12:45-14:30 as a way of recognising these unsung heroes, and allowing parliamentarians to express their own gratitude.
We will be joined by SMEs from the length and breadth of the country – from Birmingham, Essex, Cardiff, Buckinghamshire, Tottenham and Crewe.
If you’re a parliamentarian and interested in attending, please follow the RSVP instructions in the link below.
Simon Fovargue is Chief Executive at Leidos UK and Europe, the leading IT and logistics company managing the Logistic Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) programme in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence. You can join Leidos and some of the pioneering SMEs at the heart of the UK Defence supply chain at our upcoming parliamentary showcase – ‘Supporting the Government’s Supply Chain’ – on Tuesday 25th October 2022.
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