17 Apr 2017

DPRTE 2017: The UK’s No 1 defence procurement event is a resounding success

The UK’s number one defence procurement event, DPRTE 2017, was once again a huge success. Defence writer Mark Lane was there and sums up the main events of the day.

More than 1500 key decision makers from the defence procurement world converged on Cardiff last month.

Representatives from the Ministry of Defence and other public sector bodies, prime contractors, the supply chain and academia were all at the Motorpoint Arena in the Welsh capital on 28 March for DPRTE 2017.

Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability is the UK’s leading defence procurement and supply chain event.

The big players were represented at the one-day conference and exhibition with names such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Dell featuring among the exhibitors and those presenting.

But it was also an event for SMEs, allowing them to display their own goods and services, network and make contact with a number of industry primes.

In the words of keynote chairman Les Mosco, in his welcome address: “This is designed to bring together existing and potential suppliers, MOD procurers and all sorts of people in the supply chain in what I like to think of as a manageable scale event.

“It is not dominated by the big primes and has lots of parallel streams going on, so hopefully there’s plenty of things that will take your interest.’’

These included more than 25 training sessions, two buyer engagement villages, four knowledge transfer zones and five networking and support zones.

The Live Keynote Arena hosted a series of authoritative speakers from the defence procurement community, including key players engaged in both directing and delivering the UK’s defence procurement strategy.

Nick Elliott, Director General Commercial at Defence Equipment and Support, was one speaker in the Keynote Arena.

He told delegates: “We need our industry partners to work jointly with us to deliver better value for our customers.”

He added: “If you take nothing away from today other than three things, then let them be these three things. We need partners in change, we need to be focused on innovation and we need to have a relentless pursuit of value for money and flexibility.’’

Fiona Phillips, Head of Commercial Army, MOD, talked about the Army’s plans to improve its effectiveness, reduce risks and maximise benefits, including those to industry.

Rob Solly, Acting Head of the Defence and Security Accelerator, explained how the Accelerator is engaging and funding innovators to solve defence and security challenges. Other keynote speakers were Joshua Reddaway, Director Cross Government, National Audit Office, and Professor Trevor Taylor of the Royal United Services Institute.

DPRTE’s four Knowledge Transfer Zones on two sides of the main arena each had theme. These were Research & Technology; Supply Chain & Partnering; Buyer Excellence In Procurement; and Export & Business Growth.

They imparted knowledge and new skills to attendees by laying on a range of educational sessions, such as in the R&T zone where sessions included SBRI Account Manager Brendan Vickers showcasing some recent SBRI defence projects and Andy Johnston, Head of Defence Programme at techUK, analysing skills gaps and what the defence industry can do to address them.

The Buyer Excellence zone featured a range of buyer-focused sessions to enhance skills within areas specific to MOD procurers. Supply Chain & Partnering offered presentations and training on the supply chain opportunities across the defence sector; one of the best attended sessions in the arena was Martin Lee, Procurement Manager, Programme Procurement at Airbus, talking about supplier opportunities with the group. In the adjacent Export & Business Growth zone, supported by the Department for International Trade, specialist export advice and practical assistance was provided in a number of presentations.

The central area of the arena was filled with the Product Showcase Exhibition in which some 120 organisations, spanning the public and private sectors and ranging from major primes to battery manufacturers and from universities to cyber experts, were able to showcase their products and services directly to key decision makers in the defence procurement supply chain.

The main body of the arena was also home to the DE&S Procurement Pavilion and DPRTE’s dedicated MOD Buyer Engagement Village and Prime Contractor Engagement Village.

As Les Mosco explained: “The point of this whole event is that you can pop in and out of different streams – that’s why we have all these parallel events.”

The next issue of MOD DCB will feature eight pages of in-depth features on DPRTE 2017 in our special review edition.


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