The recent DSEi provided the perfect opportunity for Lutra to do what it does best: help SMEs create and build their market position in the defence and security sectors.  Three activities at DSEi have involved companies at different stages of their market evolution and illustrate the breadth and depth of our help.

The first involved an unnamed company which is in the process of deciding if it wants to venture into the defence vehicle sector. Using Lutra’s contacts, a series of meetings were arranged to allow the company to examine the breadth and scope of the defence vehicle sector to see if their expertise could be brought to bear. Targeted meetings with different size companies across the whole supply network have enabled them to gather enough information to hold an informed discussion before making a decision.

The second company, Kromek Limited from Sedgefield Co Durham, are already well established as a provider of radiation detection systems across several fields in the UK and abroad including the US. Defence and security being one of the fields. This was their first time as an exhibitor at DSEi. In addition to their world leading, very small, lightweight D5 RIID radiation detection device, Kromek were able to demonstrate a Covid-19 specific real time continuous flow airborne pathogen detector/identifier and show their development of a multi agent continuous airborne pathogen detector/identifier. Both of these benefit from requiring only the minimum of human intervention. The task for Lutra was to get the maximum visibility of this first time exhibitor for the company and its existing products as well as introducing its biodetection capability. The target audiences being the general defence sector as well as Radiation and Biological procurement agencies and specialists. This latter group is not renowned for attending DSEi. Working with Kromek’s own team, Lutra and its associates, especially CMS Strategic, using targeted invitations, worked on show pre-publicity to get the maximum attendance by these specialists onto Kromek’s stand and the maximum coverage in the National and Daily press and media. Given the compressed time frame available, these objectives were met with Kromek’s position on the Make UK stand being consistently busy and well attended.

The third example of Lutra’s versatility was helping 4GD. A technology disrupting company in the training and simulation field, it’s fair to say 4GD have shaken the training and simulation world with their revolutionary approach to urban close quarter battle training and simulation. Owned and run predominantly by ex Royal Marines with the technical competence and operational knowledge to work out what the users actually need, the result has been a number of deserved contract wins and plaudits in the national and specialist press and media. These have included delivery of urban skills facilities to the US Special Forces and 16 Air Assault Brigade in UK. It was particularly rewarding having helped 4GD for the last 5 years after a major press conference at DSEi, managed by CMS Strategic, to see their stand crowded out with Infantry and Special forces of all ranks, senior officers from the Army and Strategic Command and the national press and media wanting to use the kit and congratulate them on their latest hard earned contract award in the UK. 4GD are to provide three state of the art Urban Skills Houses to Landmarc for the UK training estate. The UK MoD has acquired a revolutionary world leading training system. Helping 4GD to this win has been an odyssey through the peculiarities of the UK procurement systems and how it and its favoured primes impact and treat small businesses.

Tim Otter the Chief Executive of Lutra commenting on DSEi said, “Having been in on the conception of DSEi 3 decades ago I was keen to keep up my record of attendance despite COVID. I was not disappointed. Three things became apparent: the shift in defence doctrine away from heavy metal means small, innovative companies are driving what happens in defence. One can see a time soon coming when SMEs as the innovators act as the primes and the large companies will act as the subcontractors providing bulk labour. Being the innovators they are, SMEs have found new ways of working during the COVID pandemic and the drum beat of innovation and delivery has hardly paused. Thirdly, big changes in defence procurement are inevitable which will move defence procurement further towards SMEs being the drivers of defence capability. My thanks to all the associates who helped achieve these really good outcomes, especially CMS Strategic, and our clients for leading the way.”