Collaboration is a muscle, it requires training and exercise. Is defence industry match fit?

Never before has Australian Defence Industry been so publicly front of mind for government.

With $195B of new capital investment by government in Defence and with Christopher Pyne, the new Defence Industry Minister arguing strongly to spend Defence dollars in Australia, times have never been better for defence small business. Time to deploy a strategy that makes the most of this favourable environment.

The ~3,000 companies we describe as Defence Industry are leading the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Agenda. An incredible situation for a group who usually work quietly in the background to ensure Australia’s Defence Forces have the equipment and services required to win.

But this new bold national agenda is impossible without improved collaboration from defence and industry.

We often hear about the need for collaboration but seldom the specifics of what ‘good’ really looks like. How you measure it and how to bed it into process and culture. Collaboration is a muscle, it requires training and exercise to improve.

 

Air Force avionics technician Leading Aircraftman Chris Giles (right), from No. 33 Squadron, and Mr John Daley, a Field Service Rep from Northrop Gunman Integrated Defence Services, inspect the air to air refuelling system of a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley.
Air Force avionics technician Leading Aircraftman Chris Giles (right), from No. 33 Squadron, and Mr John Daley, a Field Service Rep from Northrop Gunman Integrated Defence Services, inspect the air to air refuelling system of a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley.

Measuring collaboration

As with any training, you need to know how you’re performing today and some guidance so that you can improve and measure success. To help get us all match fit KPMG undertook an Australian first survey of Defence Industry and Defence’s Capability and Sustainment Group to baseline their collaboration capabilities.

It was interesting to find 87 percent of Defence and Defence Industry respondents intended to implement a collaboration model in 12 or 24 months.  Clearly, better collaboration is front of mind in the Defence Sector.  However, 74 percent rated Leadership and Culture as key barriers to achieving their collaboration aims – both in their organisation and their partners.

So we want to improve our approach to collaboration – but we’re concerned about our organisation’s ability to deliver.

This checklist offers seven points to consider for better collaboration.

  • Is there a shared vison and purpose?
  • What about the end user: how is customer centricity embedded in the partnership
  • What form of collaboration will best achieve the desired goals?
  • How well do you know each other: what research and planning needs to be done before entering the partnership?
  • Is the organisational culture ready to make the collaboration successful
  • What are the ground rules: what governance, knowledge, intellectual property sharing and learning frameworks need to be set up?
  • What’s the exit strategy to end the collaboration when needed?

We now know what exercises for collaboration are required – time for 87 percent of you to hit the gym.

The Building defence capability: The vital role of collaboration  is based on insights and interviews from leaders including Kim Gillis, Raydon Gates, AVM Warren McDonald and MAJGEN Andrew Mathewson. Also included are case studies from other countries and sectors and a review of the available tools including the ISO 11000 Collaborative Business Relationship framework.

Feature Image

Photographer:CPL Ben Dempster © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

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