During a recent address to the A|D|S Quality Conference at RAF Cosford, Mike Berridge, Director of Business Improvement for AWS Group - one of the UK’s leading independent Electronic Manufacturing Solutions (EMS) providers - gave his views on the SC21 program, highlighting significant challenges for the defence and aerospace sector. AWS is one of only 16 companies out of 7000 suppliers to the aerospace industry to have been accredited with recognition awards to SC21, and this low figure, said Berridge, was an issue in itself, although he believes momentum is now building.
SC21 (Supply Chain for the 21st Century) is a program set up by the former SBAC (Society of British Aerospace Companies) – which now exists within A|D|S, the body which promotes the interests of the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors. SC21 is designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the UK’s Aerospace & Defence industry by raising the performance of its supply chains.
At the conference, Berridge argued that issues of quality, through life cost, structure of the industry and political demands require all stakeholders in the industry – MoD, Primes, Tier Ones and SMEs – to change. He said: “SC21 is the flagship vehicle for change, since it embraces everything we need to address - systems, quality improvement, accreditation, benchmarking, management commitment, waste, lean manufacturing, business excellence through EFQM, customer relationships etc…”
He continued: “SC21 is not just a systems approach but a way of working. It enables companies to maintain a competitive position and should be seen as a benefit not a cost.”
AWS was awarded its original Silver Medal status in the SC21 program back in March 2008, and the re-assessment in August this year has confirmed Silver status again for the company. This not only proves AWS as one of the leaders in the program, but also that this is a sustainable program to adopt.