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Multi-£billion savings through transforming Defence Acquisition

The UK MOD established a major change programme – Customer Design – to commercialise its approach to the acquisition and support of military equipment.

Project background

As part of defence reform, the Defence Board had set an objective for the MOD and the military services to radically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of defence acquisition. The aim was to drive stronger commercial acumen, experience and processes into the procurement and support process for the full range of military capability.

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Key problems and challenges

The MOD and military services faced a range of major challenges at the outset of this programme, including:

  • very tight deadlines
  • challenging financial and other performance targets
  • “change fatigue” from several recent rounds of re-organisation and cost reduction.

The MOD and military services needed practical, hands-on experience and skills focusing on organisation, process and people change in order to deliver this transformation programme.

Our solution

Steve Bannister of Monro Consulting was engaged to recruit and lead a team of change agents to support the MOD in designing and implementing this major change to the Defence acquisition system.

The work was carried out in key phases over twelve months, summarised as follows:

  • Establishing basis for change:
    • Initiating relationships with the different organisations
    • Understanding the “as-is”, such as organisation structures and key skills and experience
    • Building a picture of attitudes and resistance to change.
  • Architecting and designing the Command side of the interface.
  • Developing a detailed understanding of the capacity, maturity and readiness of the organisations.
  • Detailed organisation design – carried out in nine-weeks flat
  • Development and implementation of the new SMART Contract – the “service level agreement” (SLA) – that governs the interface between the Commands and the supplier organisation.


The Customer Design programme delivered the first wave of major planned outcomes ready for the start of the new financial year. The SMART Contract documents for all the Commands went live on time.

“I am very grateful to Steve and his team for the crucial role they played in the success of the Customer Design programme. Steve fulfilled a critical challenge role in my Senior Team, often pointing out uncomfortable truths but always standing ready to find pragmatic solutions. I valued his advice immensely.”

Major General Peter Fox CBE, Customer Design Transformation Programme


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