SMEs can seize Defence business opportunities
- Published on Thursday, 20 October 2011 20:58
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is calling on smaller businesses to seize opportunities to get involved with its new National Training Estate Prime, following an industry day held yesterday for potential bidders for the new contract
The contract – which will run from 2014 – is worth up to £950 million, covers approximately 200,000 hectares, and will provide services ranging from managing air weapons ranges to providing laundry services or clearing snow and ice.
Around 100 industry delegates attended the industry event, which was held at the Land Warfare Centre in Warminster, as part of DIO’s Next Generation Estate Contracts (NGEC) programme.
DIO would now like smaller businesses to start networking with the potential prime bidders on supply chain opportunities, as the contract procurement process moves forward.
Lt Col Tim Cherry, the contract project manager, said:
“DIO’s top priority is to support our Armed Forces. The training estate needs excellent suppliers to deliver top-quality training facilities for our military personnel as they prepare for operations.
”Whether it is pest control, tree-felling, dry stone walling, operating small arms ranges, running a helpdesk, landscaping, or rent collection – those services must be provided and we demand the best for our Service personnel.
“Prime contractors are typically national or global companies, but they need innovative smaller businesses to deliver the hard outputs. That might be a national specialist in catering or conservation, a regionally-focussed business, or a local enterprise offering for example waste recycling, plumbing, fencing or tree surgery to military training sites in the locality.”
DIO has now published contact details for businesses with a formal interest in the training estate in the online Potential Bidders Directory. This enables smaller businesses to make early approaches to potential prime contractors and discuss supply chain opportunities. It has also published a full list of 141 UK sites which are likely to be covered by the contract.
David McLaughlan, the NGEC commercial manager, said:
“Early networking is the key to developing healthy and robust supplier relationships. There is no single prescribed timeframe or method, and different prime contractors take different approaches to forming supply chains so there are no guarantees.
“But this is a significant contract and we would urge smaller businesses with innovative ideas to explore potential openings with larger businesses anywhere on the Defence training estate.”
Contract activities that businesses might like to consider include:
• Forestry and conservation: long-term management plans for forestry, conservation and include forestry harvesting, scrub clearance, pest and vermin control
• Catering: provision of a full meals service (food and ingredients are supplied under a separate MOD contract) in training camp dining rooms and canteens, and packed and container meals to troops deployed on training areas
• National helpdesk: setting up and operating a 24-hour service covering maintenance and repairs and range bookings, including development and installation of networked hardware system
• Landscaping: maintenance of soft and hard landscaping on ranges (e.g. grass height to enable target visibility), dry stone walling ,and of existing landscaped areas and fencing in built areas,
• Heritage: development and implementation of long-term maintenance plans for Defence sites and assets of cultural and historical significance, and provision of archaeological services
• Rural estate management: services to the tenanted and hired estate, including rent collection, facility hirings, safeguarding activities such as responding to statutory consultations on town and country planning matters, and snow and ice clearance to maintain access to ranges
• Built estate management: allocation of accommodation, planned maintenance including cleaning, caretaking, waste disposal and recycling, electrical distribution systems,
• Range and training area operations: provision of range warden duties, boundary signage, safety radar and surveillance equipment, advice and guidance on use of targets and targetry, provision of target designators and scoring technologies, provision of range communications facilities, provision of portaloos, and disposal of military debris and explosive ordnance
DIO has recently issued pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) to potential bidders, with a deadline for return of 2 November. Following PQQ evaluation DIO will shortlist between three and five bidders, with whom it will engage in competitive dialogue before the tendering stage. Potential bidders are expected to begin considering supply chain requirements following PQQ issue.