Purchasing accounts for 50% of our revenues, so it’s a key area of focus for Thales — especially considering the many risks involved.

Transparency and respect

Our primary concern is to forge lasting relationships with our suppliers based on transparency and respect. Before they are even selected, all potential suppliers are treated fairly and our selection process is transparent. Once a contract has been signed, we scrupulously adhere to the terms and conditions, including payment deadlines and protection of intellectual property rights.

Recognition for the Thales supplier relations policy

In 2012, and then in 2015, Thales was one of the first companies in France to be awarded the quality label for responsible supplier relations by the minister of Economy, Finance, Public Action and Accounts.

Responsible suppliers

There’s no point in having a corporate responsibility policy if we use disreputable suppliers. When choosing our partners, we assess their level of commitment to ethical issues as well as the quality and cost of their proposals. 

All our suppliers complete an assessment questionnaire and sign our Purchasing & Corporate Responsibility Charter, which follows the principles of the UN Global Compact in the following areas:

  • labour standards
  • corporate governance
  • environmental protection
  • business ethics
  • export control.

Independent purchasers

Our 1,300 purchasers around the world work independently, tailoring their strategies to the needs of their entities — while keeping a cool head at all times!

Gifts from suppliers are strictly controlled and recorded. Purchasers change roles at least once every five years to ensure that their personal interests do not influence the decisions they make at work.

Compliance with regulations

All our purchasing complies strictly with applicable regulations. Components containing minerals such as tin or gold are never purchased directly from producers.

Section 1502 of the US Dodd-Frank Act aims to prevent profits from the minerals trade from being used to fund conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring countries. We are committed to applying the spirit and letter of this law, which came into force in 2010, even though it does not technically apply to us because Thales is not a publicly listed company in the United States. 

Supporting smaller businesses

We don’t discriminate against smaller businesses — quite the contrary, in fact. Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) provide large numbers of jobs, which need to be preserved. And of course they are creative and innovative, which helps us improve the way we work.

Thales is actively involved in some key initiatives that support SMEs:

  • the SME Pact in France, which help SMEs to grow by promoting good purchasing practices
  • the Responsible Supplier Relations Charter, which prompted the Group to appoint an internal mediator for SMEs
  • the Innovative SME Charter in France, aimed at providing support for SMEs in their innovation projects
  • a bilateral agreement to support SMEs in the defence sector.

Proof in the numbers

In France, we work with around 3,000 SMEs. Together, they account for more than one-third of our purchases.