Supporting SMEs

99% of all businesses within the UK are small and medium enterprises (SMEs); those companies which are made up of 250 employees or less. At the end of 2015, this figure stood at 5.4 million. Recently, within public sector procurement, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of contracts awarded to SMEs. Given that SMEs have long since made up the majority figure of all businesses within the UK, it is interesting to see that only now are they being brought to the forefront of the bid and tender process.

A recent study has shown that nearly three quarters of public sector procurement contracts have been awarded to SMEs, in comparison to a few years ago where just over half the number of contracts were awarded to SMEs. Historically, larger businesses have been able to gain competitive advantage on SMEs in the contract bidding wars, as they have been able to provide extensive financial data, as well as time and money, to work through the complex tender processes. The wave of change has arrived. Public sector organisations are helping to make that tender process a lot easier now in a bid to support local businesses. With less red tape, SMEs are able to provide an enhanced USP; local products/services, innovation, ethical trading and overall a more competitive offering.

Leading the way, some organisations have already begun by standardising tender documentation, requiring less financial information about the company and setting up electronic portals to help make the process as efficient as possible. All of this is in aid of simplifying that bid process for SMEs to encourage them to apply and succeed in winning contracts.

For procurement professionals, this simplification of the tender process not only supports local SMEs, but also helps to cut out inefficiencies in day-to-day procurement jobs. Reviewing bids now means: less financial data to wade through, a more comprehensive tender document to look over, and taking advantage of technology is helping save time and money.

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About the Author

Emma Lambert

With over 10 years’ international recruitment experience, 5 of which focused specifically in Procurement Recruitment, Emma will work with our Consultants to partner businesses and provide sourcing solutions for those niche roles. Having previously worked with Rupert Gaster (Director, Procurement Heads), Emma has ‘hit the ground running’ and involved with key campaigns. When not in the office, you’ll find Emma enjoying family time with her husband and young son, walking by the water in Hampshire with pit stops at the local bistro.

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