Finmeccanica SpA is one of the ten largest defence prime contractors in the world, encompassing in its group such well-known operating companies as Alenia Aermacchi (aeronautics); Augusta Westland (helicopters); Selex ES and DRS Technologies (defence and security electronics); Oto Melara, WASS, and joint venture companies such as MBDA (defence systems); as well as space, transportation, and energy companies.
On 27 February 2013, Finmeccanica signed a cooperation agreement with the Australian Department of Defence (through the Defence Material Organisation) to join the Global Supply Chain program. This agreement represents the operational contract to implement activities, under the overarching agreement signed on 31 October 2012. This Australian Government initiative has the objective of identifying potential opportunities for Australian small- and medium-sized enterprises to compete within the supply chain of Finmeccanica, which is a commercial approach rather than the traditional off-set prescriptive obligations. The firm has created their Finmeccanica Global Sourcing Cell-Australia (FGSC-A).
GSC implementation in Finmeccanica was initiated by a letter from Dr Alessandro Pansa, CEO Finmeccanica, to each of their Operating Company CEOs. FGSC-A has continued action to link Australian SMEs and the Operating Companies to work on identifying potential opportunities and the appropriate strategy to effect these. A number of senior executives from Finmeccanica, Finmeccanica Group Services, Alenia Aermacchi, AgustaWestland and Selex ES have been introduced to Australian SMEs.
Tony Fraser, Head of Regional Unit-Australasia for Finmeccanica, told APDR “Finmeccanica has been impressed with the high quality of Australian SMEs it has engaged with so far under the GSC program. Finmeccanica is a high technology company with a broad range of products and services that are well suited to the capabilities of the Australian SMEs under this commercially competitive program. Finmeccanica will continue to expand the engagement with Australian companies and we consider that there are a range of mutually beneficial opportunities that would not have been identified without the facilitation and support provided by the GSC program.”
Although previously not well known in Australia, the Finmeccanica family of companies has been operating in Australia for decades with its diverse range of products.
Finmeccanica companies have provided equipment to Australia including some for Counter IED for Australian soldiers in Afghanistan; soldier personal radios; night vision systems on route clearance vehicles; radios and communication systems on ships; air traffic radars; helicopters to Navy and the civil sector; and through partnerships MU90 torpedoes; ATR aircraft; and satellite imagery during the recent tragic Queensland and Victorian floods.
By mid-2013 Australia’s first four C27-J aeroplanes were already in mature stages on the production line, following the May 2012 Government decision to purchase ten of these Battlefield Airlifter aircraft.
Some GSC work was initiated by Finmeccanica during the early engagement process with DMO prior to formally entering the program, and it is now an implemented program within extant Finmeccanica baseline procurement procedures and processes.
They have wasted no time in getting started. When APDR caught up with Tony Fraser in June 2013, he was on a business trip to Europe leading a group of Australian defence SMEs and GSC personnel to visit potential customers.
In addition to the 15 company visits conducted by Finmeccanica since joining the program, each of the Australian SMEs that attended the June 2013 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget were formally introduced to Finmeccanica procurement executives and staff to discuss capabilities and engagement strategies for potential opportunities.
The corporate strategy adopted by Finmeccanica in the various sectors are the expression of a strategic plan to support the business segments where Finmeccanica has achieved a leading position acknowledged at an international level; develop the business areas with a high potential and a positive outlook; identify the diversification opportunities that enable the exploitation of its own distinctive skills; continue to invest in innovation and development, by relying on ‘frontier technologies’ through selective investments, whilst preserving intellectual property rights; and extend the target market, even to connected business sectors, by exploiting the dual potential of proprietary technologies and an increasingly greater internationalisation through targeted partnerships.
With major facilities in Italy, the UK and USA, and representative offices in most developed countries, Finmeccanica’s GSC program, as implemented by their Finmeccanica Global Sourcing Cell-Australia (FGSC-A), offers an attractive growth potential option for Australian SMEs.