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    Life after Business Excellence and the future of the NAA

    At the NAA Business Excellence meeting at the 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Martina Rodrigues and Carol Holden from the NAA gave presentations about ‘Life after the Business Excellence programme’ and the NAA Vision – here’s a summary of what they said…

    The NAA’s Business Excellence programme, which had 154 businesses signed up, has supported 139 projects, with £435,000 from grants, and £708,000 from private investment; 262 jobs have been created, over 700 jobs safeguarded, and 338 people assisted in skills development. Improved performance has been achieved by 60 SMEs and 16 large companies.

    A number of companies that have benefited from the Business Excellence programme provided testimonials to the NAA and the BE programme.

    Auto Marine Cables

    Peter Hammond, Managing Director, Auto Marine Cables, a manufacturer and distributor of low voltage automotive cables and cable wiring accessories, said that the BE programme was excellent, with his company having carried out three projects, relating to marketing strategy and corporate image, a customer survey, and reduction of downtime. AMC benefited from the expertise supplied by BE providers.


    Scott Tolson, CEO, Sigmatex, a developer and manufacturer of carbon fibre textiles for composite material applications, talked about how the company has been involved with the NAA Business Excellence programme since 2012.

    The programme has supported Sigmatex with two very successful mentoring programmes including coaching and mentoring to the senior management team and working with a Lean practitioner in the training of a team of four supervisors and managers to help support Sigmatex’s Lean Journey. Both programmes have added a huge long-term value to the business.

    More recently Sigmatex received support for a marketing strategy and production of new marketing materials including a new website and brochure. This project encouraged the recruitment of a Marketing Assistant to help further enhance and sustain the company’s marketing activities.

    Finally, in addition to all the support the NAA has given Sigmatex, the company’s hard work has been recognised through the prestigious annual NAA Awards ceremonies, in which Sigmatex has received awards for its Business Excellence and Outreach work.


    Ken Thompson from Hylomar, a UK manufacturer of sealants, adhesives and liquid gaskets, talked about two BE projects that the company has undertaken. The first was a ‘touring exhibition’ to automotive OEMs in Germany. This ‘kick-started’ Hylomar’s exporting initiative and business presence in the country; since this project, the company has employed two sales people in Germany and opened an office there.

    Hylomar has also carried out a project to gain accreditation to TS16949 automotive quality standards. Ken says that both of the BE projects have acted as important catalysts to move the business forward.


    Bill Meeson from Oaktec gave a presentation about how the NAA had provided the company with support in the writing of funding applications and in forming a strategy to enable Oaktec to create a sustainable innovation business. Oaktec has been working on a number of low carbon vehicle projects, most recently the novel Pulse-R engine. Bill said that the NAA and the BE programme had helped Oaktec to transform its business much faster than it would have been able to do by itself.

    Life after Business Excellence: the Future of the NAA – Carol Holden

    Carol explained that there would be no change to the NAA after 30 June 2015 – except that the Business Excellence programme would no longer be running. But everything else would remain, including:

    • Networking
    • Accessing Financial Support
    • Project Management/Consultancy
    • Knowledge Transfer
    • Sharing Best Practice
    • Annual Dinner and Awards
    • Event and Exhibition Support
    • Meet The Buyer Events
    • Regular NAA Events
    • NAA Website
    • Promotion of the Sector
    • Lobbying/Sector Representation
    • Skills
    • Industry Training
    • Signposting
    • Annual Consultation

    So, to maintain all the benefits of BE membership – including the ability to attend a whole host of future events such as driving the all-electric Tesla Model S sports saloon – companies need to become NAA members. Carol summarised by saying: “Join us. Use us. Or lose us.”

    Join the NAA now using our online form at

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham