Key ways for SMEs to better engage with defence

Northrop Grumman - a company Electrotech has previously worked with - Sector Vice President and General Manager, Land & Avionics C4ISR Division, Ms Mary Petryszyn addresses the guests during the official opening of the Northrop Grumman Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures In-Country Repair Facility at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

Electrotech executive Stephen Renkert has identified some tips for SMEs seeking to better engage primes.

Renkert said there is no sense in expecting things to happen magically just by, for example, hanging up a sign on the front of a building.

"[It might be] a wonderful sign, but it doesn't mean anything," he explained. "What I really believe you have to do as an SME [is] you have to define very closely, and very rigidly, what it is that you're going to try and do, and then physically try and do that as quickly as you can, such that you are dealing with real things," he said.

In addition, Renkert argued that many SMEs initially define their businesses too broadly, in the process risking ending up in a situation where they're a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.

He used the example of a specific customer of Electrotech to illustrate the concept.

"The relationship we have with Northrop [for instance]," he said. "They own a company called Sperry Marine in the UK, which makes commercial radars and commercial gyros and so forth.

"We've worked with them for many years and they have an international service network and work the space pretty well. It's all about having the right capabilities for what you say you can do.

"You can't just start tendering or putting in tender responses, on the principle that if you win something, then you'll [say]: 'We've caught the bus, now we'll have to learn how to drive it'.

"There's quite a few people [who] go about their business that way."

To hear more from Electrotech's Stephen Renkert, listen to the podcast here.

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