Many of our members fall into the government definition of an SME, however RFEM understands that this term covers a vast array of organisations and that a small family run business is very different to a company employing say 250 people. A ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work and so our SME support is flexible and responsive to what individual organisations want and need.
At our November 2015 conference the SME workshop fed back the following:
• more needs to be done to improve relationships between OEMs and SMEs
• the `day-job` often prohibits SME`s attending events. Participants felt that more engagement would follow if events were smaller, specific to a certain area / topic and held early evening rather than during the day.
• there was a real interest in collaborative working with other SMEs and more visibility of the rail supply chain to members would help encourage this further
• Long term infrastructure projects such as HS2 are seen as too high level – SMEs have a shorter term focus
• Barriers to growth include the cost of assurances (ISO / IRIS) and OEM audits. Skills shortages and training of staff with the associated risks of retention once training is completed. General expense of employment in terms or HR / Pension provision etc.
The above feedback is being addressed as part of our 2016 plans.