East Midlands Derby-based Tidyco (UK) Ltd, a supplier of hydraulic and pneumatic products to the rail industry for over 40 years, here discusses the importance that SMEs play within the wider industry and how best to address the needs of OEMs and on-going rolling stock maintenance requirements.

According to the Rail Supply Groups fast track for growth objectives with regards to SMEs; 
“SMEs are the heartbeat of the British economy, accounting for 99% of all UK businesses, 59% of employment and 48% of turnover. They are a vibrant source of innovation, have the capacity for high growth, are versatile and thrive in changing markets. In order to leverage that dynamism, we need to accelerate the growth of incumbent SMEs…”
When considering the importance that SMEs play within an extremely diverse supply chain structure, it is prudent for such organisations to adopt policies, procedures and best working practices so as to comfortably supply larger institutions.
A useful tactic for SMEs to deploy is to spend some considerable time thinking about the needs of their clients, how best to service them whilst eliminating the pain felt by engineers, procurement as well as the Board of a larger company.

Equally important is a consideration for the future of rail coupled with the necessity of continuous improvement. Not an easy task, but… Tidyco is thinking down the line!
When thinking about its OEM client portfolio, Tidyco highlights what it feels is important to them. A typical scenario may include:
• Quality
• Cost Savings in Use and Long Term Cost Saving Benefits
• Supplier Efficiency Gain Plans
• Safety
• End User Experience
• Reliability and Flexibility
• CSR
• Industry Future-Proofing
• Continuous Improvement, Innovation and R&D
• Commercial Sensitivity
Of course, this is very much a flexible strategy created in a bespoke manner so as to cater for individual client needs, goals and objectives. Core pillars are jointly agreed and the appropriate action taken.