16 Jan 2020 - By
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Why early engagement matters in the defence market

Early engagement with buyers is a crucial element in pursuing a successful procurement strategy in the defence sector for all procurement professionals. In the ‘Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Action Plan’ published by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in March 2019, early engagement is highlighted as a key action for organisations seeking to develop procurement strategies that work.

There are many benefits to engaging early, and Defence Contracts International (DCI) provides an array of powerful business intelligence tools that can help your organisation achieve this. This guide examines the reasons why you should start to implement early engagement with defence buyers – and how DCI can help make this happen.

1. Network and build relationships with buyers

Early engagement encourages interaction between buyers and suppliers long before the tender process officially begins. This is the main reason early engagement strategies in procurement are effective – suppliers can establish themselves as potential tenderers for the project early on and put themselves in the driving seat for success. The MOD encourages early engagement implementation by hosting regular ‘Industry Days’ and innovation events, which are ideal opportunities for potential suppliers to attend and increase their profile with MOD buyers.

DCI’s Market Leads tool provides organisations with named contacts for networking across the defence market and its supply chain. These contact details are released before tenders for particular goods, works or services are officially published, establishing a foundation for buyer and supplier interaction to take place.

2. Identify which tenders are worth bidding for – and what is worth your time 

Tendering can eat up a great deal of your precious time and resource, all of which will be wasted if the defence contract in question is not right for your business. Early engagement helps secure maximum returns for your tendering efforts by conducting what is effectively a vetting process – by engaging with potential buyers you can better understand the scope of the contract before official bidding has begun. This will let you know if the contract is within your capabilities and is in the interests of your business. If it is, you have already established a relationship with the buyer and have a clear idea of what they are looking for – a huge advantage over the competition.

DCI’s Spend Analysis tool allows you to investigate defence opportunities further by searching and comparing the spend patterns of defence buyers – where they spend, with whom, on what and in which sectors. This tool is essential for developing your defence procurement strategy going forward.

3. Influence the objectives and requirements of a contract before the official notice is even published

By establishing a relationship before the defence contract has been published, potential suppliers will be aware of just what the buyer wants and have a strong understanding of other key requirements including quantity, quality and the amount of time the goods, works or services will be needed for. This is also a crucial time for discussing environmental factors and social value initiatives which may set your organisation apart at the bid-writing stage. Early engagement allows such discussions to take place and therefore helps you to write an attractive tender bid later down the line – which is key to being awarded the contract.

Market Leads from DCI provides you with advance notification of upcoming framework renewals and recurring projects in the defence industry, creating a space for these discussions to take place.

4. Educate the buyer on your products/services, the current business landscape and trends in the market

Early engagement gives organisations the opportunity to introduce the goods, works or services they offer to potential buyers. This is a valuable time to raise awareness of your brand in the defence market and identify how you can offer a unique solution that other organisations who may be looking to tender cannot match. Showing that you have an in-depth understanding of the current trends in defence and the likely direction of the future business climate will position you as a thought leader standing out among your competitors. It will also demonstrate your flexible approach to innovative procurement practices and an ability to collaborate with suppliers, buyers and other stakeholders.

DCI is supported by a host of professional journalists who research business and government news daily from our comprehensive database of defence sources to provide you with market updates that are relevant to your business interests. DCI’s Market Intelligence tool gives you updates on all market developments, from changes in defence legislation to discovering new suppliers you can work with.

DCI are your defence experts

DCI provides potential defence suppliers with a wide array of business intelligence tools to help you streamline your procurement strategy in the defence market. By focusing on early engagement, DCI can maximise your chances of winning new contracts and working with high-profile buyers such as the MOD. There are a huge number of opportunities within upcoming defence projects across the UK and internationally, and DCI puts you in a powerful position to secure your share of that business success.

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