SMEs urged to shape up for supply chain opportunities

Membership organisation NDI, which works with SMEs to unlock lucrative opportunities in the defence, aerospace, space and security sectors, has teamed up with London-based aerospace and security company Lockheed Martin UK to develop a new programme for SMEs.

The Fitter for Purpose initiative consists of a series of workshops which teach businesses exactly how to position themselves within the supply chains of multinational manufacturers in some of the world’s fastest growing sectors.

While NDI will oversee the programme, Lockheed Martin UK’s involvement in the project will help to give valuable insight into the inner workings of the tendering process at major firms.

The course will consist of four modules entitled Master Plan and Schedule (IMPS), Programme Management, Risk Management and Requirements Management.

The four modules will run over a full -day, with the aim of introducing each area to participating companies, providing them with the opportunity to assess their current position and to develop an action plan for use within their businesses.

The programme will be delivered by industry experts with extensive business experience across a range of sectors, with the first pilot event scheduled to take place in Oxford on 31 January.

Attendees of the course will also have the chance to enrol on a series of master classes intended to help companies optimise the business benefit of improving their capabilities in each of the four areas.

David Townsley, executive director of NDI, said: “The current realities of the National, European and Global economies mean that companies, including SMEs, are generally facing greater competition than ever to break into new supply chains or retain their incumbency.

“Meanwhile, another ever-present challenge facing SMEs operating at the extremities of prime contractor supply networks is that whenever pressure is applied at the centre of the network, the effects inevitably permeate through to them.

“That said, there remain significant opportunities across all of the industries NDI works with, including defence, security, aerospace and space, and we aim to open up these up to UK firms through the Fitter for Purpose programme.”

Chief executive of Lockheed Martin UK added: “Doing business with UK based suppliers and small businesses adds fuel to the engine of the UK economy. Lockheed Martin spends £1 billion a year with its UK suppliers, both large and small, sustaining some 10,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.

“By virtue of their size, SMEs often have unique attributes which make them agile and responsive in progressing innovative thinking and new technologies. As our strategy to expand our UK business develops further, small and medium enterprises figure prominently in our plans. Our team is working to develop mutually beneficial relationships which utilise this agility and innovation.”

By driving change and inspiring debate, NDI is a leading voice for SMEs and works closely with Government and Industry to break down the barriers to accessing supply chain opportunities and promoting such opportunities.

The organisation also provides tailored support to help its members achieve their aspirations and champions innovation through joint venture and collaboration.