Heathrow call to action for SMEs across the north west

Thu, May 18th, 2017

Summits gives business opportunity to meet airport's suppliers

Heathrow is seeking to bolster its supply chain with small and medium-sized businesses to help deliver its plans for a third runway.

Working with local Chambers of Commerce, the UK's biggest airport will host six business summits starting this month, in a move to appeal to smaller firms and ensure they are aware of procurement opportunities.

The events aim to give those smaller firms an insight into Heathrow's major suppliers. It is hoped that even if firms attending do not find opportunities with the airport directly, it may at least provide anecdotal experience and help win new contracts in the future.

Innovation and smart pricing could be the recipe for success

The airport currently spends more than £1.5bn annually with more than 1,200 suppliers from around the UK – and there is potential for new contractors to have a piece of that pie in light of announced expansion plans.

Bosses at Heathrow say they are looking for new thinking and fresh ideas to realise their next phase of development. They add that their objective is to engage a supply chain that delivers the world’s best connected, most efficient and sustainable hub airport affordably and on time.

Construction of the new runway is set to cost around £16bn and will be one of the UK's largest ever infrastructure projects. Heathrow says small and medium-sized businesses will be "critical" to its delivery.

Heathrow expansion programme director, Phil Wilbraham, said: “We’re keen to sustain a diverse supply chain and embrace innovation to help achieve new standards of delivery which includes our commitment to Heathrow 2.0. We will work with the supply chain for innovative and affordable solutions.”

A breadth of opportunities

There are three distinct procurement phases in the programme, which of each entail opportunities for a range of businesses and suppliers.

The first phase is the planning and development of an additional runway and new terminals, the second phase is the delivery and the third phase will be the operation of the new facilities.

Manifesto for Britain

Alongside the full programme of Summits, Heathrow unveiled the Heathrow Expansion Procurement Approach. It describes how the project will engage with the supply chain and business partners to provide Britain with a world class, next generation airport.

Heathrow have made 5 pledges, which they will ensure that Britain benefits from its expansion plans. In line with those pledges, the airport have made 5 delivery promises and say they expect their supply chain should adhere to each and every one of those promises and be part of their vision to take Britain further.

Those promises are:

• Doubling the number of apprenticeships to 10,000 and extend programmes to champion employability skills training in schools
• Creating up to 180,000 new jobs with a focus on youth unemployment in the local boroughs
• Connecting every economic centre in the UK to growth
• Enable a significant increase in UK exports to close the gap between the UK and European competitors
• Delivering a cleaner, quieter Heathrow

Also, in its new sustainability strategy unveiled last week, Heathrow 2.0, the airport includes a pledge to make expansion growth carbon neutral, and states it is committed to establishing business summits in all 12 regions of the UK by 2025.

Six stops

The proposed Business Summits will be series of ‘speed-dating’ sessions, which will give businesses from Cornwall to Scotland access to Heathrow’s largest suppliers.

The face-to-face meetings are designed to give SMEs a chance to cement relationships and forge new connections with some of the UK’s largest suppliers.

Representatives from Heathrow will be working with Chambers around the country in order to engage new businesses, including the North East, South West, Midlands, Scotland and Wales.

Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce will host the Heathrow Business Summit North West on Thursday 15 June. For more information email anelise.siddle@liverpoolchamber.org.uk  or call the Chamber on 0151 227 1234.

Book your place today

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