Government package launched to help manufacturers win more orders

14th May 2019
Lanna Cooper

A £10m programme to help make the UK’s advanced aerospace manufacturing supply chain more competitive was launched by new Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson, as he visited aerospace and defence supplier, MEP in Aylesford, Kent. The SMMT Industry Forum - the training and consultancy specialist for manufacturers - will help deliver the new approach, called NMCL (for National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels), which is part of the SC21 Competitiveness & Growth (C&G) programme.

The NMCL initiative is notable because it starts with an in-depth assessment of a company’s competitiveness, based on interviews with its key customers.

This then identifies which business capabilities areas need to boost performance, such as improvements in quality, cost, delivery, flexibility, products/technology and customer experience. SMMT Industry Forum has been involved in piloting the new NMCL model with aerospace companies in the North West of England, including the competitiveness viewpoints by companies such as Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Unilathe is a Staffordshire-based manufacturer of machined and fabricated components for the aerospace and automotive sectors that has participated in the NMCL programme as a test case. "What NMCL brings to the forefront is a set of criteria to benchmark against. As part of that process, you get the opportunity to talk about and address areas that need more focus. It sets a basis for a much more mature relationship with your customers," said Andrew Simms, Managing Director of Unilathe.

SC21 C&G is funded by the government as part of its Industrial Strategy, and Aerospace Sector Deal, with the NMCL approach having been developed by the automotive and aerospace sectors working together. It aims to assess and improve competitiveness, raise workforce capacity and increase productivity of all types of UK manufacturers.

Dr Chris Owen, Chief Executive of SMMT Industry Forum, commented: "We're delighted that SC21 C&G and NMCL have been endorsed by government in this way. We have taken over 25 years of experience operating in automotive and aerospace sectors to develop this approach to help manufacturers understand their current capabilities and competitiveness and quickly work out where and how to invest to make big improvements. NMCL is now very much open for business and we're looking forward to helping aerospace manufacturers achieve their potential."

NMCL projects are tailor-made for each manufacturer and focus on boosting competitiveness, increasing ‘value-add’ and winning more orders. Companies can undertake six month focussed improvement projects through to multi-year company transformations depending on their potential and ambition.

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