BAE Systems selects software from AEB to enhance export controls
BAE Systems – one of the leading aerospace, defence, and security companies– has launched a major IT transformation project in its UK Military Air & Information (MAI) division and selected software solution provider AEB as its partner to standardise and optimise global trade management systems.
In 2012, the MAI division of BAE Systems at the Warton and Samlesbury sites in Lancashire, United Kingdom, kicked-off a major project to enhance its existing global trade management system and thus the efficiency of its export controls compliance.
The MAI’s export operation includes shipping of complete aircraft, spare parts, repair parts, and associated technology, and the size, scope, and complexity of the business required the launch of a transformation project – Project Saturn – with a new IT system at its core.
BAE Systems selected solution provider AEB to help drive forward BAE Systems’ objective of implementing a best in class export controls compliance programme, including US ITAR and UK controls. Building on a successful, 10-year business partnership, BAE Systems engaged AEB to enhance its export controls IT systems by implementing the latest functionalities from AEB’s ASSIST4 Compliance & Risk Management software suite.
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Tony Croughan, MAI’s Head of Programme – Business Transformation, said: “When managing controlled material, we have a responsibility to our customers, suppliers, and regulators. Compliance with export control requirements is of the utmost importance for us at BAE Systems. Processes are often subject to frequently changing legislation, and with this transformation project, we are enhancing our global trade management operations through maximising the levels of standardisation and efficient deployment of modern toolsets.
"Following MAI’s COTS (“commercial off the shelf”) strategy, this also involves the elimination of individually tailored workflows and customised IT applications as far as possible to reach the highest levels of process optimisation and process automation.”
“Selecting the right partners for major modernisation projects like Project Saturn is essential and many standard requirements must be met. There were many aspects that made it clear for us that AEB was the right choice going forward, such as mature integration capabilities with our ERP systems and other information management toolsets, and the readiness to develop new standard IT modules in line with emerging requirements.
“And of course it is of continued benefit for us to work with solution experts who are familiar with the BAE Systems business and who have integrated well into our in-house project teams.”
Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?
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”.