Are you getting the benefits of working with SMEs?

Are you getting the benefits of working with SMEs?

11 November 2020 By Robyn Lamport-Rann - Category Buyer for ICT at YPO

business woman working from home

As a nation we are dependent on technology more than ever, but have you thought about how small or medium sized businesses can help with sourcing this through procurement?

It’s become the norm now to want the latest released gadget as early as  yesterday or at least with next day delivery, (this will have to suffice!).

In the same way, we want flexible service solutions which offer choice, reliability and flexibility, the highest level of customer service, all whilst also achieving the best value for money.

 Our working environment is the same too, especially as we look to the realms of automation, artificial intelligence and connected data/devices which are destined to make our home and working lives easier and more efficient.

As organisations look towards moving away from their legacy technology and procuring large ICT projects such as data and infrastructure services, and begin to transition to the cloud and even move towards a smart city, is it true that the larger companies are always the right choice for delivering these successfully? Not necessarily…

We are already seeing the huge role SME’s (small and medium sized enterprises) can play in the digitisation of the public sector, here are some examples:

  • Delivering a vast array of innovative technology services, through their commitment to research and development, generating new solutions and ideas ahead of the market
  • Adaptable and agile to situations due to their smaller nature, which allows them to respond quickly and flexibly to changing requirements and provide the most suitable solution (ideal for tight timescales)
  • Provide great customer service and accountability, with highly skilled and experienced workforces and smaller chains of command
  • Commitment to the social value agenda, not only creating local jobs, but often a pillar of their community with a great story to tell and deliver commitment to meeting your own initiatives
  • Deliver best value taking into consideration not only cost, but all the points detailed above, creating a competitive market to improve pricing

Throughout 2019-2020, in the ICT category alone we have appointed 65% of SMEs across our 4 new technology framework offerings. It’s fantastic that we are awarding such a high number of quality SME’s via our compliant procurement processes, reflecting our own commitment to promote the positive impact of these organisations. This is alongside the commitment of the central government’s target that 33% of procurement spend reaches SMEs by 2022.

percentage of SME suppliers at YPO graphic

But how can we continue to work and support SME’s in the future?

As the future focus increases on social value and sustainability, it’s important that we all keep pushing the barriers and increasing the opportunities for SME’s within the public sector. Some of the ways this can be achieved are through:

Communication:

Pre engagement communication and dialogue with the supply base allows you to discuss upcoming opportunities and understand their individual business capabilities. It may highlight new solutions not previously considered in your public procurement which are more suitable and provide better value.

You can also provide feedback when appointment is not successful so they understand how to improve.

Streamline documentation:

The best way to attract SME’s is by making your opportunity easily accessible. Although SME’s undergo the same procurement process, there are a number of things you can do to make the opportunity more attractive. Take into consideration a number of your procurement requirements and how restrictive they may appear e.g. not over specifying and adding unnecessary cost, creating suitable lotting structures, incorporating only apt policies and procedures etc.

Considering award weightings:

Social value is incorporated within all our ICT tender evaluations, but you may look to amend the weightings to reflect its importance to your own organisation, just remember to not make your stipulations too onerous, as this can just add cost.

 

View our four latest framework offerings in the ICT category now!

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