Are you aware that 55 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fold within five years of opening?
Research carried out by the British Standards Institution (BSI) uncovered evidence of this apparent five-year curse throughout the UK, with many small suppliers unable to survive over the long term due to contracts drying up and a lack of new business opportunities.
Suppliers have to take action to seek out new supply chain contracts for themselves – which is something that joining an Achilles community can make significantly easier.
Avoid the five-year curse
The BSI’s survey also found that two-thirds of SME owners find it challenging to grow their business, while three-fifths are not confident that their firm can achieve three-year expansion targets.
At Achilles, our community model was designed to bring buyers and suppliers together, to increase opportunities for each. By joining our Achilles UVDB community for the utilities industry, small suppliers in the industry can expose themselves to big-name buyers, who could provide them with lucrative contracts to help them grow and improve their brand reputation, if they are impressed with their pre-qualification results.
Suppliers that join the community who provide high risk profile products or services can also complete an Achilles UVDB Verify Audit to further showcase their credentials, allowing buyers to mitigate risk in their supply chains, as this improved visibility enables them to make more knowledgeable decisions about the SMEs they work with.
What’s more, by signing up to the Achilles NOTiCE contract alerts service, small suppliers can find out about the latest supply chain opportunities in their industry relevant to the products and services they provide. Giving suppliers a chance to put themselves forward for jobs they may not have otherwise learned about.
As both short and long-term supply chain contracts can be tendered via the community model, suppliers can avoid the five-year curse by putting themselves in a better position to win contracts lasting for several years. Small supplier Ast Signs Ltd has recently signed a three-year contract after becoming a member of Achilles.
Ast sales director Stuart Day commented: “We’re looking to do more work in the utilities and rail sectors – they’re our key growth areas.
“You have to provide a lot of information – the questionnaire is robust, but it’s worth it because that’s where the opportunities are. And already, Ast Signs Ltd is seeing dividends from all the hard work.”
He added that without being Achilles UVDB verified, “We wouldn’t have been able to apply for the tender”, highlighting the benefits this process can bring.
So, how else have we helped SME utilities suppliers increase their opportunities and grow at a sustainable pace in the past?
The Achilles UVDB Verify Audit has assisted many suppliers in increasing their opportunities dramatically, with SPIE-ENS winning a framework of contracts worth between £2.5 million and £12 million per year after registering with the community. The supplier is now working on projects for major buyers, including Scottish power, UK Power Networks and Northern Ireland Electricity.
Smart Grids Networks UK has also found joining the community to be hugely beneficial, as it allows the firm to shout about its competence and compliance. In addition, it has experienced savings with regard to both time and paperwork since becoming a member, as all the information buyers need before deciding whether or not to work with them can be found in one place. “Our bid goes in alongside the big names and we can demonstrate that we meet the same requirements as them,” said Martin Anderson, Managing Director at Smart Grid Networks UK.
Subscan Technology has had a similarly positive experience, with Achilles UVDB providing the opportunity to win supply chain contracts from big-name clients.
Mike Page, safety, health, environment and quality officer at Subscan, explained: “Of our clients, 20 per cent are signed up to Achilles. The type of companies that sign up to Achilles are usually the larger ones who want framework agreements so we get a bigger proportion of our turnover from Achilles than from any other source. We just hope more of our clients want to share in the benefits and join Achilles”