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Heathrow sets out SME procurement strategy


Heathrow Airport has set out how it will seek to involve small and medium sized suppliers in its planned expansion programme which includes the third runway.

The first element will be a series of speed dating-style business summits to help SMEs secure work on the programme. There is also going to be a new Innovation Networking Forum to engage SMEs and startups in the innovation and technology sector.

The operator’s Heathrow Expansion Procurement Approach document lays out the strategy, saying there will be advance notice of first and second tier contracts through its ‘future procurement opportunities’ website. It is also calls for interested suppliers pre-register on Heathrow’s eTender site.

Contracts will be standard, such as the New Engineering Contract Version 3. They will include opportunities for SMEs to reach clients in other markets by giving them access to awards of up to £2,000 to spend on travel and trade missions and deals for access to the airport’s retailers, which could potentially introduce the SMEs to millions of international customers.

Heathrow will also try to ensure that suppliers further down the chain are not on less favourable terms than first tier suppliers. It is also keen to use logistics hubs across the UK for prefabrication and off-site manufacturing, so that a geographical spread of SMEs benefits. The first six events will take place across the UK. They will allow SMEs to meet major suppliers and understand what Heathrow is looking for from the supply chain.

“As the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow has a vital role to play in helping the best of Britain’s SMEs grow and thrive – that’s why I’m delighted to announce that this year we’ll be taking our successful Business Summit on the road to six areas across Britain, giving British SMEs a unique chance to meet face-to-face with our biggest suppliers,” said expansion programme director Phil Wilbraham.

Heathrow currently spends more than £1.5bn each year with regional suppliers, but that is set to grow with its expansion. It is getting ready to consult on its expansion plans in the summer.

Last week, Heathrow Ltd publoished its sustainability plan, Heathrow 2.0, which details proposals on how to make the airport carbon neutral.

Business Summits

  • South West - Friday 12 May
  • North West - Thursday 15 June
  • Wales - Tuesday 5 July
  • North East - Friday 8 September
  • Scotland - Wednesday 18 October
  • Midlands - Tuesday 23 November

See Phil Wilbraham live

Phil Wilbraham will be speaking at New Civil Engineer’s Airports Conference in London on 18 May. Quote NCEREADER to claim a 15% discount. Click here for more information.

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