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Royal New Zealand Air Force hosts MBIE procurement graduates at Whenuapai Air Base

Graduates at whenuapai air base
Royal New Zealand Air Force host MBIE procurement graduates at Whenuapai air base

In April, the Auckland-based Procurement graduates visited the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base in Whenuapai - to learn about their challenging procurement operations.

Maintaining global supply relationships proves central to keeping aircraft in the air

Each fleet maintained at Whenuapai has its own supply chain team and a purchaser who work together, and the graduates learnt about their daily operations. Having these positions in the same team provide further efficiencies which are used to source increasingly rare maintenance parts worldwide. Given the sourcing issues that come with an ageing fleet, having and maintaining relationships with suppliers are at the forefront of their daily roles.

These relationships have been proven valuable in sourcing those items that are very challenging for the RNZAF, or anyone, to find.

Reagan Bourgeois, Procurement graduate

The difficulties of maintenance for an ageing Royal New Zealand Air Force fleet - with zero economies of scale

The Maintenance Support Squadron (MSS) provides aeronautical component repair and contributes to maintaining air operations for their well-used fleet. Each unit within MSS works together to ensure alignment to the overall operational goal. The graduates heard first-hand what it takes to keep Air Force operations running in New Zealand.

We talked about their difficulty in maintaining and procuring specialised equipment to keep their older planes flying, when there is very little bargaining power, and absolutely no economies of scale.

Reagan Bourgeois, Procurement graduate

Minimal production of the aircraft used in the Royal New Zealand Air Force fleet means there is a reduction in replacement parts and equipment, which are becoming much harder to get hold of globally. This makes innovation-based solutions produced internally much more important.

Wing Commander shares insights from 31-year logisitics and procurement career with the RNZAF

The last port of call for the team was the Officer’s Mess where they dined with RNZAF officers and discussed careers in procurement. Wing Commander and MBIE Host Manager Tracy Collins spoke of her 31 years with the RNZAF, and where her career as a supply officer has taken her.

The day was a clear reminder that procurement has a big role in all organisations.

Reagan Bourgeois, Procurement graduate

Auckland and Wellington-based agencies who are interested in hosting procurement graduates next year should contact us at procurement@mbie.govt.nz.

Read more about the graduate programme.