A PROGRAMME to help small firms in the aerospace and defence sectors win valuable supply chain work gets under way later this month.
Defence sector membership organisation NDI, which is based in Seaham and operates nationally, is working with London-based aerospace and security company Lockheed Martin UK to develop the Fitter for Purpose initiative.
It will teach SMEs how to best position themselves in the supply chain for multi-national manufacturers and learn what the big firms are seeking in their tendering processes.
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.”
The initiative consists of four modules, which are taught over the course of one day with the aim of helping firms to develop their own action plans to win more work.
A Lockheed Martin spokesman said: “Lockheed Martin spends £1bn 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.”
The first day-long course will be held in Oxford at the end of January.