UK’s leading Defence Procurement event will be 50% bigger in 2020

Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE), due to be held on April 1, 2020 in the Farnborough International Exhibition Centre, is establishing itself as the most prominent defence procurement and supply chain event in the UK. The one-day event offers an unrivalled opportunity for defence sector personnel to engage with organisations of all sizes across industry.

We ask DPRTE Managing Director Simon Burges what delegates and exhibitors can expect at the next event.

What is the purpose of DPRTE?

This event is all about bringing buyers and suppliers together across the whole defence acquisition supply chain, dealing with anything from uniforms to education services provision, enhancing knowledge, sharing best practice and showcasing innovation. DPRTE is officially supported by key procurement organisations including DE&S and DIO and some of the world’s largest prime contractors including GE Aviation, Bae Systems and Airbus, are expected to have a presence at the exhibition.

How important is the Defence sector to the UK?

Defence Procurement represents a £20 billion industry in the UK annually. Reflecting this, DPRTE grows bigger and better each year and in 2020 it will be the largest gathering of key people from across the defence acquisition and supply chain marketplace in the UK. How is DPRTE evolving? From modest beginnings seven years ago, DPRTE 2020 is expected to be 50% bigger than last year. This growth is being driven by an increase both in visitor numbers and in the number of exhibitors’ stands and in the exhibition footprint. We’re expecting more than 1500 delegates representing industry, academia and top UK MOD decision makers in the Defence sector.

We hear there will be a new exhibition zone at DPRTE this year?

That’s correct. The exhibition hall will host six zones: Equipment and supplies; Prime Contractor and Supply Chain; Technology and Innovation; Export and Business Growth, Procurement Skills and Infrastructure and Estates. In fact, this will be the first year we feature an Infrastructure and Estates pavilion at DPRTE, which is being hosted by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). The space offers both buyers and suppliers the chance to connect with key DIO personnel and gain an insight into the latest initiatives, developments and opportunities within defence infrastructure. DIO represents an annual spend of approximately £3 billion on construction and infrastructure services. The new zone offers an important opportunity for current and potential suppliers to support the commissioning, building and maintenance of infrastructure for the men and women who serve our country in the Armed Forces.

DPRTE attracts high profile speakers from the Defence Sector. Who can we expect to hear in 2020?

We’ve attracted a great many experts who will be speaking in each zone throughout the day. We have too many to name check here, but I can confirm some of the speaker programme highlights. We’re delighted that James Heappey, the UK Government’s newly-appointed minister responsible for Defence Procurement will be giving a keynote speech at DPRTE 2020.

Mr Heappey has served as MP for Wells since 2015 and was appointed Minister for Defence Procurement in December 2019. Before entering parliament, he served for 10 years in the British Army, reaching the rank of Major. He deployed on operations in Northern Ireland, Basra, Helmand and Kabul. Ruth Todd, Commercial Director of the UK’s Submarine Delivery Agency will talk at DPRTE. The SDA is an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence.

Its primary purpose is to deliver the UK’s submarine capability safely, securely, and with more cost-efficiency every year. Ruth will be talking about the latest developments, including how the SDA intends to work with Tier One suppliers and SMEs. This will be a unique opportunity to learn more about how the SDA intends to collaborate with supply chain partners in the future. Andrew Forzani, Chief Commercial Officer for the UK Ministry of Defence will address delegates in the Live Keynote Arena at the Exhibition at Farnborough International Exhibition Centre on April 1, 2020.

Mr Forzani moved to Defence in 2017 from the Department for Works and Pensions where he had been chief commercial officer with responsibility for a £3 billion budget. I’m also very excited that Colonel Tim Collins OBE will also be giving us the benefits of his thoughts and experience at what I anticipate will be a fantastic session.

How much support does DPRTE receive from industry?

We’ve always enjoyed fantastic sponsorship and support from industry which, I believe, indicates the ongoing importance of this event in the procurement calendar.

As well as a wide range of exhibitors’ stands ranging from infrastructure to training support, visitors can arrange individual meetings with sponsors including some of the largest names in Defence, including Airbus and QinetiQ, as well as Government organisations in Defence such as DIO and Dstl. Sponsors include: our headline sponsor, Pinnacle, as well as NDI, which champions UK manufacturers; telecommunications conglomerate Vodafone Group plc; software producer Commerce Decisions Ltd; US computer technology giant Dell; Softcat which provides IT infrastructure to the corporate and public sectors; Team Leidos, the global science and technology company which includes Leidos and key partners Kuehne + Nagel and TVS Supply Chain Solutions; Veolia, a leader in optimized resource management; award-winning technical consultancy CDS Defence Services; and SBL which provides technology solutions and services to the public sector.

DPRTE 2020 offers a unique platform for buyers and suppliers of all sizes to engage across a range of interactive and educational features to enhance knowledge, collaboration and develop business opportunities.