CDGL once again had a stand at this year’s annual Supportability Engineering Seminar, held at the BAWA Centre, Bristol on the 15th July. The theme, “Keeping the customer satisfied…” was extremely topical, based on the commercial realities of achieving customer satisfaction with less money available from an ever shrinking public purse. Conservative estimates have shown that two thirds of the UK Defence equipment budget is spent on support, driven by obsolescence, poor technical publications, and poor reliability, often with implications for safety as well as higher costs.

The UK Defence Industry has a plethora of commercial challenges within the Supportability Engineering space; Identification of the best way of ensuring through life costs are driven down? How to manage through life support at an affordable cost? How to measure value for money? How to identify and exploit innovation? How to manage support risk? How to maximise capability at a minimum cost?

Keynote speeches from General Dynamics UK, MBDA, BAES and Oshkosh, complemented with the UK MoD perspective, all focused upon the importance of improved commercial relationships as a lever for the achievement of lower through life costs. The event was well attended, with a good blend of MoD and Defence Industry supportability specialists.

“It would be great to have a ‘Rolls Royce’ support solution every time. However, affordability is the key driver, and realistic requirements under the technical and commercial constraints that exist, coupled with a far closer dialogue between the customers who specify the capability they require and the supply base that strive to deliver that capability, is the only future available.” Comments Steve Deacon, CDGL’s Supportability Engineering Manager, “I was encouraged by the honesty and realism projected by the speakers.”

The issues raised at the seminar will be taken forward and worked on in the National Defence Industry Council subgroups such as the joint Information Group and the Through Life Capability Management Groups.