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NAA Update: NAA Business Awards 2017 and the SMMT International Automotive Summit

This issue of our newsletter has a focus around the SMMT International Automotive Summit, which covered issues such as how well the UK automotive industry is doing, but also the impact that Brexit will have. There’s also a review of the LowCVP Conference, which provides further evidence of the increasing shift to electric vehicles. Closer to home, you can now enter for the 2017 NAA Awards…

I was fortunate to attend the SMMT International Automotive Summit during June, when the Automotive Council Supply Chain report was published.  One of the report’s key findings was that the parts source by UK car manufacturers from UK first tier suppliers has increased from 36% in 2011 to 44% in 2017 which, combined with passenger car production in the UK growing by 38% in the same period, means that it is a compound growth of 60%.  While there is no global benchmark, it is believed that Germany has around 60% and that this is the maximum that can be achieved.

Unfortunately, figures do not exist for how much the Tier 1s source locally and that is a situation that I would like to see changed as for many of you this is where the opportunity lies to be able to sell your products.  Hopefully with the discussions around our Brexit deal, with local content playing such a large role when looking at tariffs, duties etc, someone will undertake an investigation into the local content at this level, and how to encourage the Tier 1s to source more locally.  I will keep lobbying for this to happen and I would request that those of you who have representation at either the Automotive Council or any of the sub-committees do the same.

I found the presentation from Honda very interesting and it put some of the challenges that we may face into context.  The plant in Swindon produces the Civic which is a global product. Honda has 350 trucks arriving daily, delivering two million components, with 1.5 days’ supply either lineside or in the warehouse.  To be successful this requires free, frictionless trade.  The implications that the outcome of Brexit will have on ports, customs, electronic or manual systems will be significant.  It has also been identified that more than a third of SMEs have no experience of the required documentation and the added costs that export of products and import of components for their value add activity will require.  I am certain that this will be a frequent topic during the next couple of years and there will be opportunities for you to understand more about the implications from us, the SMMT, your local Chamber of Commerce etc.  There was also some interesting debate around trade agreements, but let’s leave that for another time…

As a member of the UK Automotive Council Supply Chain Group, www.automotivecouncil.co.uk/supply-chain-group I can report that a new work stream, focusing on SMEs, is being constructed and the NAA will do its best to promote you.  There is also the launch of a programme from Industry Forum which is New Product Launch Excellence (NPLX); some of you may have already heard about this from your vehicle manufacturers as you will be encouraged to participate to achieve the level that is relevant for you.

Back to the NAA, we are launching the NAA Business Awards this month, please take a look at the article and consider applying for an Award.  The Awards will be presented at our Annual Dinner on Thursday 9 November at The Mere near Knutsford.  As always it will be an excellent evening; but to make it successful, we do need your applications.  So make a commitment to request an Award pack and decide, before you go on holiday, which Award(s) your company will be applying for.  I have visited many of you this year and know that a large number of businesses have something to shout about – take this opportunity to do it, as the Awards are free marketing for you.  We’re happy to discuss the Award with you and how you can maximise your opportunity.  But don’t forget the closing date is 31 August – only seven weeks away.

The NAA has gained four new members over the last month.  I would like to welcome:

  • Erlson Precision Components
  • Keighley Laboratories
  • Leadec
  • TR Fastenings

We look forward to reading more about these companies in future newsletters.

Another subject close to my heart is the Top 50 Young (under 35) Women in Engineering list, which was published on 23 June.  Whilst it was good to see that there was one woman from JLR on the list, it was disappointing that there were not more from the automotive industry, as it is such a significant part of the UK economy.  For me it means that you need to consider your recruiting, training, and general HR policies – what are you doing to encourage more women into your business so that you have a more representative proportion of the population?  Girls are outperforming boys at A-levels and nowadays more entrants into medicine are women than men; but engineering has been left a long way behind.  It is a little better than when I went to university in the mid-70’s when the IMechE rounded the number of women members up to 1%; but I would argue that it hasn’t grown sufficiently in the last 40 years.  In my last company, many senior engineering and other roles were held by women around the world; but in my last seven years in my role at the NAA, I have come across very few.

Don’t forget that as your local Trade Association, we have substantial contacts across a wide range of organisations so please give one of us a call or an email when you think “I wonder who can help me with this…”  I mention it as sometimes when we speak to people at events or during our 1-1 visits their response is “I wish that I had known that” or “you could have helped us with that”.  We can only help you if we know what you want!

If you’re heading off on holidays imminently I hope you have a good break; remember to submit your NAA Awards application before you go, and remember to visit our stand at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event on 6 & 7 September hosted by Millbrook – an organisation which now has a presence in the North West (see article below).

Carol

Investing in England's North West - European Regional Development Fund
Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham