How would YOU bring savings in Defence procurement?

Discussion in 'Tanks, planes & ships' started by PartTimePongo, Mar 29, 2010.

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  1. Just watching the boy Osbourne go slithering around the question of Defence Procurement savings twice in the last 30 minutes, as well as darkly hinting the Axe that swings through Defence in the event of a Tory tenure , would be very bloody big and double headed as I understand it.

    So with that in mind, how would YOU bring cost savings to Defence procurement WITHOUT further damaging Britain's ability to mount defensive or expeditionary warfare? God knows with the number of MP's and researchers climbing all over our Arrse , someone might say something good and workable that does streamline procurement and bring positive benefits.

    So, in your own time, crack on :eek:)
  2. Cow

    Cow LE

    Make it illegal for anyone to take up a position in a defence company after working for the procurement agency.

    Edit to add: I hope this would stop contracts going to companies for the wrong reasons (but doubt it), contracts could then be put out and bid for in a more fair manor getting better value for money.
  3. I would use more uniformed folk in Defence Procurement with harsher penalty clauses for suppliers who fail to deliver on time. Quite a bit of our kit nowadays is so late and overbudget. Sadly the higher echelons and civil servants have political agendas. A refreshed "Front line first" philosophy letting Service Chiefs make decisions on what is needed. Fining companies like British WasteofSpace Systems rather than letting them get a contract and then add on an additional 3yrs & £700 Mill. If it means buying direct from the US or other countries then so be it. If 400 folk lose their jobs at Vosper Thorneycroft or Filton or Warton so be it.

    Dare I say it less European Quadri National Projects and more joint UK/US work ?
  4. Buy off the shelve proven equipment from whoever makes it best. If such and such a company makes the best body armour and it is available buy it. If someone makes a helicopter and it is available, buy it. etc etc

    Ok you may pay slightly more for some things but once you have shortened the end to end delivery dates etc there would surely be a cost saving.

    Or is that too simple
  5. 1 Allow companies bidding to benefit exclusively from cost saving ideas rather than passing their good ideas on to their competitiors.

    2 Alow contractors to trade cost for performance, does the user need every thing in the spec, often they don't. The US reduced the cost of JDAM that way.

    3 Get the specs right first time

    4 Get more people from industry into procurement at all levels.

    5 Adopt US style bid assesment where past performance counts.

    and finally find out what Smart Procurement really is and then implement it.
  6. Ensure the company takes the hit if what they delivery is late or over budget.

    Make sure that the procurment people give out the right spec first time and then don't go changing their minds halfway through the project.

    As other people have said, but some uniforms in to the procurement end, idealy not high up staff officers that are looking to get paid up on retirement.

    Generaly try and buy from the more reliable and proven source.
  7. Great idea, but what if the kit you need is not avaiable off the shelf. Do you always want to be using out of date kit. Older designs cost more to support often even if they are available off the shelf.

    Saving real money in procurtement is not always that simple.
  8. One working uniform for all all 3 services ie temperate combats (PECOC?). They're issued to all 3 anyway.

    That was easy. How much is that saved?
  9. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Does anyone really honestly think that the basket case that is defence acquisition is all industry's fault?

    Uniform and civilian need to take a serious look at themselves before blaming industry.
  10. 1) A Defence budget is set at the START of a parliament and runs for 5 years as part of an all party debate and agreement. The Defence of the Realm is too important a matter to be allowed to become an annual political football and source of funds to be taken for vote buying hand outs.

    2) As part of that debate, a review of credible and expected threats to the security of the UK are put together in collaboration with the Joint Chiefs.

    3) Procurement decisions shall be taken on the basis of the most cost effective means of delivering the effects the relevant branch seeks, not which bit of kit protects 10 jobs in MP Jobsworths consituency.

    4) Unless there is a pressing case, preference should be given to buying or improving proven and existing systems from defence contractors both domestic and international. Should a new UK designed solution be sought, the bidding contractor shall guarantee that not only will the project be delivered to the deadline set, but said equipment shall meet all it's stated design goals and be delivered within budget. Any overuns shall incurr financial penalties.

    4) Once the design specification has been issued to said contractor, the MOD cannot change the specification for that order. If they want to make changes, they can be designed into the following batches, but the original order shall be delivered as specified. This will stop the pernicious habit of goalpost moving and gold plating that always occurs.
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  11. Simple. Take the politics out of defence procurement.

    However, I suspect I have also highlighted the main reason why nothing will change.
  12. "4) Once the design specification has been issued to said contractor, the MOD cannot change the specification for that order. If they want to make changes, they can be designed into the following batches, but the original order shall be delivered as specified. This will stop the pernicious habit of goalpost moving and gold plating that always occurs. "

    A laudable aim, but what happens when operational developments occur which mean that new and better kit needs to be incorporated onto the design to save lives. Do we hold off improvements and put people at risk, or do we revise the specs?

    My own view is that what is needed is a credible career plan where people wanting to develop in procurement (both mil and CS) can do so without fear of penalising their careers. Simply by making it an attractive option where you have a shot at promotion means people will stay - too often people go at middle management levels because the money they can make on the outside is far better. Meanwhile the best and brightest do a 2 year tour, never returning and the system creaks on. Make procurement a career stream for all three services and CS - it may help.
  13. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    I think one of the fundamental problems is that, at least with major equipment programmes, we try and leap a decade forward.

    Inevitably, this takes a decade of expensive cutting edge research.

    If we were to instead of making kit to last 40 years and having to spend a fortune on incremental upgrades and maintenance have a shorter planning lifecycle for equipment, renewing earlier and using smaller steps in technology things would become more dynamic, able to use technology more quickly and cheaper.

    Skill is another key problem, we have binned off lots of hard won engineering and systems integration expertise and bought in the PRINCE2 'Cure for Cancer' programme manager. Selling off QinetiQ was a strategic blunder of epic proportion, those skills we used to have in DERA now sit behind a commercial firewall so in order to access them their needs to be a whole load of contract nonsense to wade through.

    Its all about people as they say, build up the right types and get rid of the wrong types

  14. The problem with redesigning kit mid design to meet the latest threat is that quite often, the resultant delay takes so long, instead of having equipment being fielded on time that meets most of the 'new' needs, we end up soldiering on for another 5 years with old equipment that doesn't meet any of the 'new' needs. The Yank system of buying equipment in small 'blocks' over an extended period is eminently sensible IMO, not only does the military get a continous flow of new equipment, but user experience with the previous blocks can de designed into following blocks, and the manufacturer gets a steady drumbeat of orders that allows them to bring savings and efficiencies to the project.
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  15. Nationalise British Aerospace and pay the workforce the same wages as civil servants, and tie them into contracts for six years. If they move onto other Defence Contractors after this time, tax them at 80%. Give lucrative apprenticeships and research allowances for engineering graduates who enter BAE.

    Dispense with the Department for International Development and the Defence Sales Organisation and give the jobs back to the Foreign Office; fund three (minimum) Royal Engineer Construction Regiments from the savings. These units will 'do' the reconstruction bit of any current or future ops. (sorry should have put this in a separate thread really).

    Dispense with Trident and buy Submarine Launched Cruise Missiles to replace.

    Curb further purchases of Typhoon and funding for adapting to a ground support variant and fund expansion of the Apache fleet to support ground ops.

    Ring fence funding for the carriers but choose an alternative aircraft for AD and buy more helicopters to operate from them.