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UK firms encouraged to make supply chains accessible for SME's

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Posted on 25/04/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

A leading business charity wants small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be given more opportunities to land major contracts through increased transparency.

Business In The Community (BITC) is encouraging companies across the UK to make their supply chains open and fair meaning that small organisations have a better chance of securing these agreements. The charity wants larger firms to sign an 'access pledge' which promises to make their operations fair and simple, transparent, on a level playing field and open for all suppliers to bid for. it is designed at improving communities by allowing local businesses land the big contracts, Supply Management reports.

Speaking at ProcureCon Indirect, Matthew Lill, head of operations at BITC, explained that liability insurance has become a significant stumbling block for smaller companies and that this issue needs to be addressed to ensure that there is a much more level playing field. He noted that extremely high costs of this ilk could price SMEs out of the market and mean that it goes in a full circle where only large companies are securing the top work.

Mr Lill said: "If you have a £25,000 contract, do you need to have £50 million of public liability insurance against it? Often that is not deliberate and has just been copied and pasted from another contract, but it immediately excludes SMEs."

In the UK, there have already been a number of schemes that can help SMEs landsupply chain jobs with the introduction of the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) fund which has been rolled out in both the West Midlands and Liverpool. The move is designed to boost parameters surrounding the supply chains that are present within the automotive and aerospace sectors.

In terms of making the systems more accessible for smaller companies, Goldman Sachs has already been implementing a number of improved measures. The investment bank announced that it has reduced the costs to SMEs when it comes to bidding by paying a large chunk of vendor screening activity itself.

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