Getting Value on UK Govt Procurement

A way to save on the cost of government is to re-think our procurement strategies. This post is an enlargement a comment made on John Redwood’s posting “The Future of Trident”. I therefore start from the aspect of defence procurement.

 1)      Specialist specifications rather than adaptation of exisitng civilian (or foreign military) designs. (Communications technology is a case in point.)

2)      Inadequate specification at the outset, or changes to the specification part way through. (Numerous IT projects provide better examples).

3)      Changing the organisation to suit the equipment, rather than the equipment to suit the organisation. The best example (from personal experience) is of SAP software, where much of the benefits (in both improving the organization and cost savings) are through orientating the organisation to the software. Many of the failures of implementation are through

– Designing front-ends to make it more user-friendly.

– Writing bespoke reports when there are standard reports than can operate just as well (and are more reliable)

– Complex bespoke configuration.

– Have multiple configurations for a various entities or departments within the one organization.

4)      Poor stock control of spare parts leading to over-stocking, or getting rid of items that are required. I am sure that a major supplier of equipment (directly or indirectly) are traders in MOD surplus.

5)      Poor utilisation of existing equipment or assets. The MOD needs to keep huge stores in case of war – particularly of ordinance. But there are many areas where this can be improved. Again the NHS & Education may provide better (or at least more publicly accessible) examples.


The comments have some tie-ins with  the analogy between my shopping and improving expenditure posted on June 28th.

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