DSEi Show Review - DEFENCE MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, Issue 31
MODíS DESO support to DSEi 2005
The Ministry of Defence's Head of Defence Export Services Organisation, Alan Garwood, highlights where his team helped to make DSEi 2005 a world leading exhibition.
DSEi is one of the world's biggest and most important defence exhibitions, and the support that Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) provides in key areas proves how DESO can work with the defence industry to ensure its continued success. The three areas I would highlight are: how DESO invites and hosts the Overseas Defence Delegations; the role of DESO's military Export Support Team; and finally, how DSEi proved the most successful event to date for our Small Business Unit.
DSEi is a trade exhibition aimed at the international markets and defence industries. Spearhead Exhibitions own and organise the event; it is run in association with the MOD and is a good example of how DESO working with the defence industry trade associations can really give 'added value' to such an important industry event.
Before providing the background as to how and why DESO decides which overseas delegates to invite, I would just like to step back a little and explain DESO's primary role. DESO is responsible for co-ordinating government support for UK defence exporters. In the last five years, the UK defence industry has signed export contracts to a yearly average value of close to £5bn, maintaining the UK's position as the second biggest world defence exporter after the United States.HDES' goals for DESO involvement in DSEI?
Defence exports help to support a strong UK defence industry, and contribute to the security of our friends and allies overseas. Nations have the right legitimately to protect their people and, in order to do so, many will need to purchase defence equipment. Defence exhibitions enable prospective purchasers and manufacturers of equipment to come together at a central point. They provide a very effective facility for UK defence industry to demonstrate its product range to potential overseas customers. They also enable those responsible for providing equipment for our own Armed Forces to see the capabilities and products of other nations' defence industries. Exports also support jobs; the British defence industry employs around 300,000 people, of which some 60,000 are dependent on exports.
One of the most important tasks undertaken by DESO is that of inviting and hosting the Overseas Defence Delegations. The compilation of the list of invitees follows a careful process involving the MOD and other government departments. Thereafter, DESO prepares the list of countries to receive official invitations. This takes account of input from our three Regional Directorates covering current marketing campaigns and longer-term prospects for business. Political issues, arms embargoes and current international relations imperatives are considered in the process, as has the cost involved in hosting the delegations.
For DSEi 05, DESO invited 61 countries and 52 attended; we organised those attending into 86 separate official Delegations. DESO, with its carefully selected teams of Escort and Accompanying Officers, was then able to facilitate specific company visits and meetings with equipment demonstrations and viewings across the 1,201 companies from 32 countries who exhibited at this year's DSEi. Our Exhibitions Team distributes a questionnaire at the end of all the exhibitions that it supports and, at DSEi 05, the overall response regarding the assessment of DESO's performance for managing overseas delegations was that 90% considered the performance to be good or better. I consider such feedback as hard evidence, proving DESO's valuable contribution to the exhibition.
A good example of DESO introducing a new country and market is Trinidad and Tobago, who attended with a large party, including their Minister for National Security, Chief of Defence Staff and Head of Police. DESO officials were able to introduce the delegates to companies and military personnel involved with supplying equipment used to manage Exclusive Economic Zones. DESO also invited, for the first time, a senior delegation from the United Nations, who showed a significant interest across a wide range of defence and security products.
From our Central Regional Directorate, the presence of the Algerian delegation at DSEi 05 helped to build on our Government-to-Government relationship and helped to open the doors to an Export Support Team (EST) visit to Algeria in support of the Algerian Armed Forces. As well as supporting existing campaigns, DSEi 05 also helped to identify further export prospects. DSEi 2005 was also a landmark event in that DESO hosted the first Iraq delegation since the commencement of Operation TELIC.
The second part of the DESO team I would like to highlight is that of the Export Support Team (EST). The EST is now based at two locations Ė Larkhill and Bovington. The EST comprises serving military personnel with a wide range of expertise. The purpose of the EST is to provide specialist military services and advice to DESO and the UK defence industry in order to support their objectives and help them to succeed.
One of the challenges laid before the EST was to set up and stage the outside water-borne demonstration. This allowed the EST to do something it rarely does Ė to work as a complete team, all 33 of them. The demonstration, which ran three times a day whether rain or shine, gave the team the opportunity to show off a wide variety of products from over 40 companies. Such equipment demonstrated included sniper rifles, chemical agent detectors and helicopter landing lights, quad bikes, combat boats, military bridging and Surface to Air missiles. It was noticed by the team that they were demonstrating such a wide range of products that many of the DSEi visitors saw kit being used that they were unaware of and, in some cases, could fill a capability gap that they had not, until visiting the demonstration, realised existed!
As well as attending exhibitions, and providing demonstrations and presentations, the EST can host visits from overseas delegations, provide impartial military advice, conduct equipment trials and provide post-sales training support. All UK-based companies can seek EST assistance; you can contact the EST's new Military Head Lieutenant Colonel John Wallis on 020 7305 2444.
Finally, the DESO Small Business Unit had a very successful DSEi. The Small Business Unit (SBU) was established in response to increasing demands from industry for a dedicated focal point providing advice and support to UK small businesses that wish to export their products to overseas defence and security customers.
I launched the Small Business Charter in March 2004 at the DESO Symposium. The aim of the Charter is to provide small businesses with support tailored as closely as possible to their specific requirements. To make this service as efficient as possible, the SBU channels its resources into nurturing, advising and assisting companies who are prepared to commit to an open and long-term partnership, based upon a reciprocal exchange of information and ideas.
The Charter sets out the range of advice, information and support available to participating companies in exchange for their commitment to share with DESO, on a confidential basis, their marketing plans and strategies, and to provide statistical and market generic data that would be of wider benefit to other UK companies. Companies signing up to the Charter are allocated an Account Manager from the SBU team. The Account Manager will remain the company focal point within DESO throughout the relationship. Charter membership now stands at 238. It was noticeable at DSEi how many small businesses, though not Charter members themselves, had heard about the scheme and were keen to learn more, whilst the SBU did not have a dedicated recruitment drive at DSEi, preferring to focus on the needs of our current members. Despite this, we still managed to sign up eight new members.
The high points for the SBU were the two 'Meet the Delegate' workshops, organised with the Central and West Regional Directorates, who introduced US and Indian Government representatives to Charter members. These workshops have led to a range of opportunities, which are being pursued by the companies concerned. Two of the endorsements I have received from the companies involved were:
"The guidance that the DESO advisers were able to give was invaluable regarding who would be useful to talk to."
And "If this is typical of the events you organise, congratulations. I'm glad we became a Charter member."
Looking ahead to the Farnborough International Air Show 06 next July, we are looking to increase the number of meetings, and we will be contacting the Regional Directorates to agree which delegations would find value in an informal meeting with UK sub-systems and component manufacturers. If you are interested in becoming a Charter Member, or want to find out more about how DESO can help your company, please call Howard Gibbs, who heads the Small Business Unit, on 020 7305 2478 or email him at email@example.com
In conclusion, the last 12 months have been another successful year, and can be attributed to how DESO identifies the areas as I have described and implements them. Whenever we take stock and review our activities, we are always looking for where we, together with the industry support, can do better and I am sure this approach will lead to an even more successful DSEi in 2007.