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A New Approach: how we will work with industry

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Commercial Strategy, Finance, Procurement

Hello, my name is Jacqui Rock and I am the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's (DIO) Commercial Director.  I wanted to give you a quick run-down of the DIO Commercial Strategy which is the focus of a speech I recently delivered at the Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) Conference , the UK’s leading annual defence procurement and supply chain event.

First, a bit about me. I joined the DIO three months ago following a 30-year career in investment banking, where I had a diverse career, with the last 15 years being in Chief Procurement Officer roles. Moving to the public sector, the Civil Service and the Ministry of Defence was therefore quite a big change from a cultural perspective, however delivering best in class commercial and procurement capability remains the same regardless of public or private sector.

Jacqui Rock, DIO Commercial Director [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
Jacqui Rock, DIO Commercial Director [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
I was attracted to the Ministry of Defence due to the complexity of its spend, the nature of the supplier relationships and, fundamentally, what we are all working to achieve, which is defence capability for the United Kingdom.

A key priority in this role is delivering against our new Commercial Strategy both internally and externally.

You might be wondering what the Commercial Strategy actually is. In short, it’s setting out DIO’s vision for future ways of working with suppliers in the soft and hard facilities management, construction and property advisory sectors.

New service family accommodation on Ashdown Estate, Wiltshire [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
New service family accommodation on Ashdown Estate, Wiltshire [Crown Copyright, MOD 2018]
DIO currently spends some £3bn each year buying infrastructure services to enable the men and women of defence to live, work, train and safely deploy across the UK and overseas. The strategy sets out our intent to broaden our supply base, and for our existing and prospective suppliers to have the confidence to work with us. We will work in an open and constructive way to deliver innovative and value for money services that meet the requirements of defence and the Armed Forces.

The strategy aims to transform the way DIO does business. It provides information on the types of opportunities available to prospective suppliers and outlines plans to create and sustain a competitive market.

The new Princess Royal Jetty. [Crown Copyright, MOD]
The publication of the strategy, in anticipation of the updated 2018 DIO Procurement Plan, marks an important moment for us.  We realise that we have not been the easiest organisation to do business with in the past and we are dedicated to changing that.

Our vision is central to DIO’s role as a strategic advisor and commissioning agent, supporting our customers and our suppliers by being more transparent, responsive and easier to do business with in support of the delivery of a better estate, a better service, and a better business.

The Commercial Strategy has five guiding principles, which are intended to make us a key client in the infrastructure and facilities management market and support effective work from our suppliers. These are known as the ‘we will’ principles and are: we will be easier to do business with, we will work faster and smarter for our customers, we will have a broader and more diverse supplier base, We Will engage meaningfully with our suppliers and customers, and finally, we will focus on value not just price.

An RAF F-35B flying over RAF Marham. [Crown Copyright/MOD2016]
An RAF F-35B flying over RAF Marham. [Crown Copyright/MOD2016]
As a result of the Commercial Strategy, we will do much more to engage the market, including sharing information that will drive innovation and encourage fresh ideas from industry. This will allow us to invigorate and sustain a diverse portfolio of suppliers.

We’re going to adopt a regionalised approach, through which we will be able to develop a competitive environment based on continuous comparison. This will enable us to ensure effective supplier performance and that the needs of our customers are met. The new ways of working outlined in the strategy offer greater opportunities for our suppliers, and we will actively engage with small and medium enterprises as well as the larger players, looking for innovative ideas.

Mare Harbour roll on roll off jetty (Crown Copyright, MOD 2018)
Mare Harbour roll on roll off jetty (Crown Copyright, MOD 2018)

There’s another benefit too. Making defence easier to work with will increase the number of suppliers – and therefore have a wider and deeper economic impact both nationally and regionally.

It’s an exciting time of transformation for the DIO commercial team and I am privileged to lead a group of highly qualified and experienced professionals who have such a significant impact on the future success of DIO.


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