The international Saab Group (Saab) has been operating in Australia for over 20 years with many Australian suppliers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who contribute to the success of the company’s activities. The proportion of Saab’s Australian operations subcontracted to suppliers has continued to increase and this is considered a major contributor to the future of the company, both in its defence and security business units.
Saab’s Australian company is itself the result of the Swedish company’s open approach to global supply chains. The ANZAC ship project reflects the beginning of Saab in Australia. This project was identified and bid by the company in Sweden but the contract was signed by a subsidiary in Australia which is now called Saab Systems. This company was created in support of the Australian government’s demand for 70% local content and the company did in fact exceed this target.
Due to Saab’s strong appreciation of the importance and value of Australian suppliers, it has established a reputation for supporting companies who also participate in Saab’s Global Supply Chain.
An example of a company that has benefited from this is ATSA Defence Services Pty Ltd, located near Newcastle, NSW. This company has been Saab’s long term partner in servicing the Double Eagle remotely operated underwater vehicles used by the Navy’s mine hunters to locate and dispose of sea mines. ATSA now employs 15 people with an annual turnover of $5 million.
Working with Saab products has not only enabled ATSA to develop expertise in underwater vehicle control and associated technologies but they have since received contracts to provide design improvements to Saab’s products which in turn have been sold on the world market.
ATSA has been contracted for manufacture of components sold to foreign customers and provide other technical services for Saab’s global customers. In return, Saab has given ATSA contracts to supply expertise and management of related Saab activities in Australia.
In another market, Saab and ATSA have cooperated on a significant feasibility study for a leading offshore drilling company. This has involved the application of sophisticated military technologies for the control of a subsea drilling system for a task in an extreme environment. The contract required a collaborative effort between engineers working in Sweden, Australia and Canada and was completed successfully to meet tight deadlines.
Saab currently engages with over 500 local suppliers to achieve its Australian operations. Saab has embraced Defence’s commitment to ensure Australian industry remains commercially sustainable and has devised a number of supply chain based initiatives from within its Strategic Procurement functional area. These are focussed on creating an environment to simplify access and to promote participation of SMEs within Saab’s global supply chain to maximise the opportunities for Australian companies to compete for work.
These initiatives will commence with the establishment of mechanisms to both increase awareness of Saab’s tenders in Australian industry and also promote local capability to supply Saab globally. In practice, this will involve an online portal to list tenders available and a database of companies and capabilities to compete for business opportunities globally.
Saab has also been seeking to strengthen its relationships with government support agencies to facilitate opportunities for Australian industry to participate in global supply chains. For instance Saab has been involved in workshops with the Defence Teaming Centre to assist in mentoring and facilitating SMEs to better understand strategies to operate in local and global supply chains.
Saab’s Australian Managing Director, Lindsay Pears summarised the company’s position, “Saab has an important place in global business and has a sustained record of employing companies around the world to fulfil its design and production processes.”
For more information, please contact:
Business Development Manager
21 Third Avenue
Mawson Lakes SA 5095
Phone: +61 8 8343 3800