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What Small Businesses Should Prepare to Become a Defence Supplier

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Small businesses are often overlooked by the defence industry, but this is changing.

The defence sector has been facing some major changes in recent years. The industry focus has shifted away from quantity to quality. Instead of simply buying as many products as possible, governments are now looking for suppliers who can deliver bespoke solutions to match their specific requirements.

This shift has opened the door for smaller companies that can offer more flexible and innovative products at a lower cost than larger manufacturers.

Why should your business become a defence supplier?

There are several reasons why becoming a defence supplier makes sense for small businesses:

1) You'll have access to government contracts that will boost your revenue by an average of 20 per cent per year;

2) You'll be able to compete with larger companies on price because you don't have their overhead costs; and

3) You'll benefit from increased sales volume due to economies of scale.

4) It can help your business grow & expand: As you grow your business and become more efficient, it will allow you to increase production capacity and hire more employees.

What kind of business can become an SME defence supplier?

Any company which manufactures or supplies goods or services used by military forces or which provides services directly related to their use can be considered an SME defence supplier.

The definition is broad enough so that it could include companies from many different sectors such as electronics; aerospace; missiles; telecommunications; transportation; engineering services; marine systems; information technology; and computing.

Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are an important part of the supply chain for the Department of Defence (DOD) and other government contracting agencies. They also play an important role in helping DOD meet its strategic goals, such as increasing innovation, improving efficiency and reducing costs.

SMEs can be large or small, for-profit or not-for-profit, but their common trait is that they're small relative to their industry peers. Moreover, the exact definition of an SME varies by country. In Canada, for example, it's a business with less than $15 million in annual revenue; in South Africa, it's any company that employs fewer than 1,000 people; in Australia, it's any organisation with fewer than 100 full-time employees; while in the UK it's any firm with fewer than 250 employees.

As part of our commitment to helping SMEs grow and thrive, we have developed a range of programmes and initiatives designed to support them in reaching their growth potential in the defence industry. We also offer a wide range of knowledge to help boost innovation, research and development (R&D), productivity, exports and investment.

If you are interested in becoming an SME defence supplier, please read on for more information about this exciting opportunity!

Important elements to prepare

Becoming a defence supplier can

be a challenging process. You need to know what you are getting into, what you will have to do and how much time it will take.

The first step is to learn about defence procurement. This means knowing how the government buys products and services, how they award contracts and which agencies buy what you sell.

You need to know how your business can be more competitive in this market. The most important factors are having the right skills and expertise and having the right processes in place. For example, if you want to sell software solutions for intelligence analysis, then you need someone on your team wh

o knows how these systems work and how they should be developed. This person may be an expert developer or analyst who has experience working with these types of solutions before.

You need processes that make it possible for your company to deliver high-quality products or services quickly without compromising quality standards or safety requirements. For example, if you want to sell medical supplies for military hospitals worldwide, then your company needs a global supply chain management system that ensures that all products are FDA approved and meet all international quality standards before being shipped out from warehouses around the world.

Know your customer. The DoD has multiple customers, including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Each branch has its own procurement regulations and buying processes unique to its mission requirements. For example, the Army typically purchases items through an open bidding process while the Navy uses a sealed proposal process.

Keep alert about what's happening in your industry by reading trade journals or attending conferences and defence expos. Event and trade shows like these also provide opportunities for networking with other companies an

d potential partners who may be able to help you find an entry point into defence contracting.

Get certified as eligible. One way to get started with defence contracts is by becoming certified as eligible to become an approved supplier for example by the Defence Logistics Agency (DLA). This certification requires meeting certain criteria such as having a financial capability statement from your bank verifying that you have sufficient funds available for any purchases required under this contract; and being able to provide documentation showing that you've been in business for at least two years.

The defence sector is a very dynamic and competitive market. Regarding becoming a defence supplier, it is required to meet certain standards and undergo compliance audits.

These audits can be very complex and time-consuming, especially for small businesses that do not have the resources to conduct them internally. It is therefore important to make sure you have the right tools in place before beginning your defence supply journey.

When it comes to preparing your business to enter the defence industry, there is no better expert than us. We have worked with many different companies and organisations over the years, so we know exactly what you need to do to be successful in this field. Contact us at and let's collaborate!


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