Procurement made easy for defence and maritime projects


Efficiency of purchasing processes is essential for any manufacturer. RS Components explains how it helps improve procurement departments while expanding on a huge range of products. 

For nearly 40 years, RS Components has been working with manufacturers in the defence industry around the world, providing a wide range of certified electronic, maintenance products from trusted global brands. Anthony O’Callaghan, contracts delivery manager ANZ   said the company has been heavily involved in Australian defence projects over the past 15 years. 

“RS deals with a lot of prime contractors as well as working with defence direct,” he said. “Working with some of the major companies around the world as our core product ranges gives us a great starting point for OEM requirements.”

COVID-19 has only increased pressure on manufacturers to reduce downtime, which is why RS places a focus on helping businesses overcome disrupted supply chains and rising cost pressures. O’Callaghan explained how RS contributes to improved purchasing processes by breaking it into two fundamentals: an e-procurement strategy and outsourcing side of the company. 


The power of eProcurement

As well as empowering engineers and speeding up delivery, eProcurement ensures compliance with procurement policies and reduces the need for ad hoc purchases. The overall result is improved efficiency and adherence to cost controls, according to O’Callaghan. 

“Even though a big part of the overall spend is on special equipment or services and bigger tenders are managed via public quote procedures, there is a lot of small and irregular demand for standard parts and components which are sometimes managed very manually often with a lot of effort and resources,” he said. “Meeting strict performance criteria is part of the DNA of the defence sector. A high-quality MRO supply chain helps defence and maritime companies to guarantee the operational availability of products.”

It’s no secret that Internet of Things and industry 4.0 has stepped up the need for production technology, but with new technology must come agile and knowledgeable MRO partners to support the transition to high-tech manufacturing. 

“The MRO function in OEM, automotive, transport and defence is becoming as technologically advanced as some of the products its companies are making,” O’Callaghan added. “We’ve worked heavily with defence companies – which are attracted by being able to simply log into our catalogue, see the live pricing and worldwide stock holdings available to them. Seeing the stock availability provides confidence to make key purchasing decisions quickly.” 

Technology is making the MRO function more efficient, with aProcurement tools such as RS Purchasing Manager allowing decisions to be placed in the hands of individual engineers, working within pre-set spending limits.

“A number of customers use Purchasing Manager because it makes the process so transparent and easy,” he explained. “Customers log-in to the website, where they can immediately access net prices and the live-level elements. As soon as particular items are chosen, the stock from the website is pulled directly into the procurement order process.”

The removal of human contact from the purchasing process eradicates human error and a waste of time and resources for engineers, procurement professionals and others involved in the source-to-pay process. RS Purchasing Manager is a free order-management tool to streamline the buying process without having to invest in upgraded IT systems or software. 

“The demand continues to shift because of supply chain challenges we’re seeing around the world,” he said. “Businesses aren’t able to fulfil their requirements without a digital offering.”

RS ScanStock is a managed inventory service, taking responsibility for controlling and replenishing products for a business, further freeing up the customer’s employees to concentrate on more important work. It’s complimented by another of RS’ eProcurement tools, RS ConnectPoint, which is a a touchscreen terminal that allows users to quickly connect to the RS PurchasingManager platform, where they can find the exact parts they have to order.

As well as sourcing parts and placing orders, customers can track an existing order, get safety information, request data sheets, or find answers to specific questions.

Product plus 

RS’ new outsourcing service works to alleviate the need for sourcing products from multiple vendors. Reducing the amount of orders saves time and money, so RS Product Plus service allows customers to find products which aren’t on the RS website. 

“We have a team dedicated to pulling products with vital specifications which are difficult to access for prime contractors and the Australian defence industry,” O’Callaghan said. “They come to us and explain this is what we need and we can find it for them. Having the outsourcing capability on top of already having 60,000 product lines is proving to be a huge advantage.”

Indo Pacific 2022

At this year’s Indo Pacific International Maritime exposition, RS Components will be exhibiting its vast catalogue of products and services for the maritime and naval sectors.  The company has the stock locally and via one of its 14 distribution centres around the world to quickly take action. 

“We want people to understand the depth of product we carry,” he said. “Maintenance and repair is another important element of RS. This could be an actual asset or maintenance and manufacturing facilities, but Australian defence requires ongoing support to connect everything together.”