May 17, 2020

Air Freight: An integral part in the UK economy

Air-Freight-integral-part-UK-economy_39304
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Air freight services are a key ingredient of the UK economy. Air freight is responsible for a quarter of the value of all goods moved into and out of th...
Air freight services are a key ingredient of the UK economy. Air freight is responsible for a quarter of the value of all goods moved into and out of the UK, but it is still a somewhat forgotten part of the freight network. Without air freight we simply would not be competitive or viable as an international centre of business and there would be no chance of seeing fresh produce, such as green beans from Kenya, on our shelves all year round - and without the business it brings them, developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia would lose a major source of revenue.
Sadly, market access using air freight is threatened by the possible policies of the next Government, and misguided pressure to adopt 'no air freight' sourcing policies.
According to The Times, a recent Africa Research Institute report praises Kenya's fruit, veg and flower industry for its environmentally-friendly carbon footprint. "The vast majority of Kenyan produce exported to Europe is carried in the hold of passenger aircraft carrying Western tourists home from the safari parks and beaches of East Africa," the Institute says. Any move to reduce European markets for produce from developing countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia would deal a heavy blow to their economies.

POLITICAL 'HOT POTATO'
ir transport only accounts for 0.5 percent of the UK's international goods movements by weight, but where it really matters is when one measures goods moved in terms of their value

Share article

Jun 10, 2021

Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?

supplychain
Procurement
budgets
strategies
3 min
Often overlooked, government procurement professionals will play a critical role in helping communities, and local businesses recover from the pandemic

Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less. 

According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”. 

Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge

Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals. 

These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects. 

Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity. 

Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets 

And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns. 

Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.

Share article