The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) plays a crucial role in supporting the UK’s Armed Forces by building, maintaining and servicing the infrastructure needed to support defence and is responsible for enabling defence people to live, work, train and deploy at home and overseas.
DIO’s Commercial Director, Jacqui Rock, spoke with MOD DCB Editor Matt Brown to discuss DIO’s ambitions for improving procurement spend with SMEs and its role at DPRTE 2019.
Appointed Commercial Director at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in December 2017, Jacqui Rock is responsible for putting in place and maintaining the commercial and procurement strategy and management control systems necessary to manage all commercial commitments made by the DIO, as well as personally negotiating and awarding the largest of the agency‘s contracts.
One of her first tasks was to oversee the launch of DIO’s Commercial Strategy, which outlined the steps to be taken to make it easier for the supply chain to do business with the organisation. The initial response to the document was a positive one, but some defence suppliers expressed doubt as to whether this would amount to little more than good intentions.
As the annual Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability procurement showcase brings together buyers and SMEs, Jacqui was able to hear directly from suppliers and listen to their concerns early last year.
She says: “I received lots of feedback on the day and in the following weeks regarding the Commercial Strategy and when the MOD DIO Procurement Plan would be published.
“It was interesting to hear from suppliers that this was not the first time they had heard a ‘transformation’ message and I was questioned on how I would ensure delivery on the intent.”
However, DPRTE 2018 also gave Jacqui the opportunity to allay those fears.
“At my Keynote in 2018 I made the point that the DIO Commercial Strategy was not just a document of intentions and that significant effort would be undertaken to change the five ‘we will ‘objectives into ‘we have achieved’ or ‘we are delivering’.
“We have made significant progress – some key strategy objectives met are:
- We are working more closely with the Front-Line Commands to help plan their infrastructure spending.
- We have improved how we engage and shape the supply market by creating and publishing a DIO Procurement Plan.
- We have implemented Category Management to adopt consistent best practice market approaches, increasing our effort upfront in the pre-sourcing stage and reducing administrative activities.
- We are implementing a Cost and Price Analysis Capability to become a price maker, hold better whole-life cost intelligence and improve our investment decision-making.
- We have developed our Supplier Management capability to manage our supply base, develop supplier relationships, manage supply risks and increase our SME supply base.”
Last year was Jacqui’s first experience of DPRTE and she was pleased with the level of interaction it generated for DIO with suppliers.
She says: “It was encouraging to see so many suppliers at the DIO stand. There was a clear demand for understanding about what the pipeline of work will be across the defence estate and how to access that information.”
Jacqui will once again be delivering a session at the DPRTE 2019 Keynote Arena alongside other key defence industry voices to provide an update on DIO’s activity.
“This year I will be presenting a refreshed look at DIO and the MOD estate. I will highlight progress on implementing the Commercial Strategy along with a focus on how we are engaging with our SME suppliers, and will also showcase the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme and how suppliers can engage.”
DIO will be looking to leverage their appearance at DPRTE to further their ambition to improve supplier engagement.
Jacqui explains: “DPRTE provides a perfect opportunity for us to engage with suppliers of all sizes and service offerings. We will be hosting a stand with senior members of the DIO Commercial Team in attendance who will be available to talk through the Strategy, the published Procurement Plan and guidance on how to do business with DIO and MOD.
“We will have lots of material to share which will enable suppliers to gain a full understanding and plan how they will engage going forward.”
Indeed, with many of the suppliers attending and exhibiting at DPRTE being SMEs, the event provides DIO the perfect opportunity to engage with these businesses.
“One of the commitments in the DIO Commercial Strategy was ‘we will be easier to do business with’. This launched a series of engagement events across our supply base including industry days, blogs, presentations to industry bodies and various collaboration workshops and communications.
“We have put specific focus on our Small and Medium-sized Enterprise suppliers. MOD is about to launch an SME action plan which explains how we will improve our procurement spend with SMEs by working with our major suppliers to remove barriers and improve access to opportunities for doing business with defence. It addresses behavioural, policy and process change. It will include information about DIO’s SME initiatives along with MOD-wide information on what we procure and, most importantly, where to find our opportunities.
“I will be sharing the SME action plans within DIO at DPRTE 2019.”
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