Defence is holding its partners to new standards

Companies are enabling defence leadership to prioritise frontline concerns amid heightened focus on military capabilities, writes Geoff Camp.

July 07, 2023

As Australian Defence capabilities through the Defence Strategic Review are examined to a level not seen for 40 years, Defence partners are doubling down on strategies to support the fresh impetus around frontline concerns.

Industry consultants and contractors tasked with the ongoing modernisation and enhancement of national bases are re-shaping themselves to innovate.

JLL is among such companies. One of Australia’s largest providers of real estate services, our business is answering the call to reduce operating costs and capital expenditure, to lower sustainment costs on Defence programs, and to work smarter and more collaboratively with other contractors to deliver excellence.

The goal is to enable Defence leadership to prioritise frontline issues such as a shifting geopolitical landscape, warfighting capability, asserting power in the Indo-Pacific region, and climate change – all amid budget pressures and the need to move at pace.

For JLL and other Defence partners, maximising budget and delivering on Defence’s immediate priorities through estate and technology-based programs is our main goal.

How are we doing it? Design (enabling safety, sustainability, and better facilities), technology enablement, and supply chain management.

When the design is fit-for-purpose and human-centred, improved operating costs and efficiencies follow. Furthermore, enabling real-time reporting of project design outcomes through technology-based solutions is critical to ensuring program and projects can be benchmarked and reported.

Since 2014, JLL has assisted Defence with the evolution of online systems and technology tools to improve the capability and sustainment of the Defence estate and to enhance value for money for the Commonwealth.

Integrated working

‘Team of teams’ is a concept given new momentum in the current Defence estate enablement landscape. It refers to the way the department of defence, contractors and industry work together to deliver a common service delivery outcome.

The team of teams approach takes time to perfect because it requires a cultural shift – partners not working as individual brands but as a unit to provide services to Defence. JLL has worked extensively with its supply chain to grow a diverse bench of Defence-experienced industry partners to support the estate capital works maintenance programs.

The achievements made in this domain with Australian-owned small-to-medium and Indigenous business enterprises is something we are proud of and will continue to grow.

While Defence is being held to new historic standards, we in the industry, rightly are too.

The capacity for Defence to implement performance management frameworks, and project delivery best practice, is diminishing as leadership puts its focus to bigger issues. So, leaders are looking to us. What is the innovation we’re bringing to the table? How are we pushing the boundaries? How is industry leading business-to-business collaboration?

This has been on the Defence agenda for a decade and now contractors must step up, expanding and diversifying their capabilities to deliver more.

This article was published in The Australian on Thursday, 25 May 2023.