Hanwha Takes SME Development to the Next Level

Hanwha Defense Australia’s Tim Pickford (left) signs landmark MoU with Deakin University Vice Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin.

Hanwha Defense Australia – a subsidiary of one of the largest business conglomerates in South Korea with more than $US 70 billion revenue annually – draws on a strong global record of engagement with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over more than half a century.

Hanwha’s Director of Strategy and Business Development, Tim Pickford, speaks with the Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong in this month’s AFCG newsletter.

He says the company is understandably proud of its focus on research and development and its investment into SME development.

We also learn a lot from our suppliers – capability that feeds back into our global supply chains benefitting both Hanwha and the SMEs. For example, Australian SMEs have mastered the art of low volume specialised solutions and provide fast turnarounds.

Tim Pickford | Director of Strategy and Business Development at Hanwha

Hanwha has been selected as the sole tenderer to bid for LAND 8116, a $0.9 billion to $1.3 billion project which will see the Commonwealth acquire self-propelled artillery systems to be manufactured in the Greater Geelong area of Victoria.

The Hanwha-built Redback infantry fighting vehicle has also been put forward as an option for the Commonwealth Government’s $18 billion to $27 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program, another potential opportunity for Geelong.

A key challenge for Australian industry has been linking Australian capabilities into global supply chains.  This involves developing the vital connections and reputations needed to penetrate international markets. Foreign direct investment by large multinationals can facilitate those opportunities while enhancing the value of the FDI subsidiaries.

“Some companies have been with us for more than 40 years,” Mr Pickford said. “We’ve had long experience helping to build industry capability, and we want to do that here in Australia – indeed we’ve already started to do that.

“Hanwha operates across a range of activities from finance, hospitality, resources, renewable energy, infrastructure and defence,” he says. “In fact, Hanwha Defence is less than 9% of the company’s overall revenue.”

The company is currently working closely with significant global suppliers and encouraging them to build their work programs in concert with the Australian SME community.

It’s important to grow organically, from the start, so everyone benefits; to have the IP and know-how flow through to SMEs and to link our global partners – like Plasan and Soucy and others – with progressive innovative Australian companies.

Tim Pickford | Director of Strategy and Business Development at Hanwha

Deakin University and Hanwha Group strengthened their partnership last month by signing a landmark MoU (pictured above). The two organisations’ mutual interests include a range of emerging technologies and a focus on growing the local economy through research, education and employment opportunities.

Hanwha Defense Australia also signed a partnership with The Gordon TAFE undertake a thorough analysis of training needs to determine the precise learning and development requirements to build and sustain a skilled local workforce that can manufacture and maintain various capabilities for Australia’s Defence Force.

“Because of our scale and range of sectors, we can look at a market and pull through low-volume high-end capabilities into our expanded supply chains,” Mr Pickford said.

“A great example is Hanwha Defense Corporation’s integrated approach in Norway. Norway has a version of the K9 self-propelled gun which is proposed under Australia’s Land 8116 program. We worked closely with the local companies and the government there to transfer technology, skills and built the industry base to create the training and sustainment capability.”

“We’ve learned how to transfer sustainment and sovereign support capability.”

Jun 2021