RIYADH: Five years after Saudi Arabia announced its target to localize 50 percent of its military industries by 2030, companies in the Kingdom are now ready to export their supply chain capabilities.
The Riyadh-based Saudi Maintenance and Supply Chain Management Co. is working on expanding its network with companies around the world.
It is currently in talks with Gulf countries to discuss “the scope of work they can deliver and sign agreements,” Ali Alshehri, head of PR and communication at SMSCMC, told Arab News.
“We have made good progress with some of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. We can’t disclose anything right now, but we have already established some contact and relationships. Hopefully, in the future, we can announce something specific,” he said due to the sensitivity of the talks and government restrictions.
This move comes after the state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries disclosed to Arab News that it is looking at opportunities with allied nations to export Saudi capabilities outside the Kingdom.
SMSCMC has been handling supply chain and logistics for some of BAE Systems’ defense platforms in the Kingdom, including the Typhoon, Hawk and Tornado aircraft.
Aside from the capital, SMSCMC operates in Dhahran, Taif and Tabuk with the same aircraft services.
“We would like to expand our operations to support any technology or land services with big companies in Saudi Arabia, the UK and Europe in general,” Alshehri said.
“We are in a very good position right now to support Vision 2030. SMSCMC has been growing rapidly, and the Saudization of our staff is now 72 percent working in the supply chain, which is a very critical yet relatively new sector in Saudi Arabia,” he added.
Alshehri said they have also worked closely with national partners and bodies specialized in realizing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to increase local procurement, including the General Authority for Military Industries — the Kingdom’s defense regulator, and SAMI.
Alshehri also said that SMSCMC, which has over 300 employees and processes more than 12,000 supply chain requests per year, has acquired several high governance standards, including licenses from the International Organization for Standardization and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
Alshehri said SMSCMC has also received an “establishment permit” from GAMI, which will give them the approval to go beyond the contracts of BAE Systems after previously being under the umbrella of the Saudi British Defense Cooperation Program.
With the Kingdom’s vision at its core, Alshehri said the company had been awarded “golden certificates” in supporting women and youth empowerment and people with disabilities in their working environment and has set up a diversity and inclusion committee to maintain these targets. Among these targets is having women in executive positions within five years.
“We now have females working in our offices in Riyadh in the supply chain operations. We also have some females working in our operations in Dhahran. So we are supporting Vision 2030 not only in numbers but also the culture we are trying to create within our organization and empowering people,” he said.
“We have some targets to increase the number of Saudi nationals in the organization, especially in critical roles like, for example, delivering simulator devices,” he added.
There are 60 executive employees at SMSCMC, including 26 Saudi nationals and 34 expatriates. The target will be to increase the number of Saudi citizens to 40 by 2025 and reduce the number of expatriates to 30. Moreover, 72 percent of the company’s workforce are Saudi nationals and there are plans to increase the number to 75 percent by 2025.
SMSCMC last month signed a defense agreement with General Electric Aviation in Riyadh to further opportunities in Saudi Arabia and beyond, which will include training and technology transfer in supply chain operations in the region and creating jobs for Saudi nationals in the Kingdom.
“Since we have established capabilities at SMSCMC’s supply chain and defense, General Electric would like to sign this agreement with us to utilize our capabilities to support them and increase their operations’ efficiency in Saudi Arabia,” Alshehri said.
SMSCMC provides a wide range of training programs, some long term, and has also signed agreements with major global training companies to transfer technologies and know-how.
Alshehri added: “Training will be done through SMSCMC and BAE Systems because BAE Systems has a big legacy in the supply chain.
“Some of our employees serve time in BAE Systems’ operations in the UK. They spend a few months there and then return to Saudi Arabia with this knowledge.”
SMSCMC has a bureau in the UK, a registered company with about 80 employees supporting the company’s operations in the Kingdom. It facilitates a lot of the procurement in Britain and Europe in general and can transport the goods to the Kingdom faster.
The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on supply chains and logistics worldwide, Alshehri said, only affected SMSCMC in terms of operations. However, the company managed to deliver all its key performance indicators on time and fulfill its contractual agreements without any issues from 2020 to this year, which was very difficult for many major companies to meet.
“Of course, there were some challenges in the global economy in terms of new business opportunities, but in terms of delivering and continuity and sustainability, SMSCMC delivered the key performance indicators in a very challenging time, which is something we are proud of.”