New weather radar being installed at High Moorsley and lifted by a crane.

Creating vital links with SMEs

Simon DentonOur project to renew the UK’s weather radar network will bring many benefits.

Simon Denton, Met Office Procurement Category Manager, describes why small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were a crucial part of the project’s success.

“Working in partnership with the supply base was absolutely vital for this upgrade project – from technical input, to coping with geographically dispersed locations, challenging timeframes and weather windows, while all the time maintaining operational delivery to customers.

SMEs were vital in delivery of specialist sub-systems, and localised services in support of the project. Many were involved from start to finish, participating in advance of operational rollout, and in the creation of the proof of concept prototype solution.

Over the last eight years, some 45 key suppliers, out of the 66 engaged in total have been SMEs. A combined spend of over £2.2 million with these SMEs represents over 46% of the overall external investment in radar systems alone. Part of our ethos of sustainability involves payment of invoices in five days and encouraging suppliers to submit electronic to reduce costs to them and us.

Relationships with these suppliers will continue well beyond the rollout phase of these systems, with the extended operational life of these radar systems targeted at a further 25 years.”