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    NAA Business Excellence Programme Update: Astounding Support for Business Excellence Programme extension to June 2015

    I am very impressed with the level of support received from our sector for the Business Excellence extension and would like to say a big thank you,

    On 6 November our proposal to extend the project was reviewed by the European Regional Development Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee (PMSC). This group is a regional leaders group primarily made up of local strategic public sector partners. The good news is that they really liked the project; however, there are insufficient funds for them to allocate at this point and they have deferred the decision until the next meeting on 7 February when they expect to understand the residual funding from projects that will complete in December 2012.

    In early October, I asked if any companies would like to write a letter of support for the extension and 37 companies responded. This is outstanding as your response represents approximately 55% of Business Excellence members. Letters were received from all the major car manufactures, and a number of Tier 1 suppliers and a variety of SMEs. Other support was received from regional and national partners, such as UKTI and SMMT. This support will make a difference, as it clearly demonstrates that our project is valued by the automotive sector.

    Thank you once again.

    Mini-Extension Approved

    To minimise risk of not securing the proposed extension to June 2015, I submitted a mini-proposal to use any project under-spend to extend Business Excellence to June 2013. Firstly, this would allow all monies to be spent in the sector, rather than lost, and secondly would provide an additional 6 months to secure other monies to continue Business Excellence, in the instance that the main proposal was not successful on 6 November.

    I am pleased to inform you that the mini-proposal was successful and that Business Excellence is now extended to June 2013.

    Practically, this means that I can continue to support projects, for which I am able to contribute up to 25% of project costs. Please note that this funding is for revenue, rather than capital projects and that I will need to help you with the procurement process, to meet ERDF funding requirements. Once the main extension is approved, then I hope to increase this level of support to 35% for SMEs and 25% for large companies.

    The NAA Dinner and Industry/Business Excellence Awards

    On 18 October, the NAA held its annual dinner at Carden Park, Chester, which included the regional Industry Awards, including two for Business Excellence (best SME project and best Large Company project). The main sponsor was Bentley and other sponsors included Getrag, Morson, SMMT Industry Forum and UKTI. The dinner was extremely popular with 100 industry professionals, more than double the attendance of the previous year. We received a number of excellent submissions which were assessed by a panel of judges. 

    Electron Technical Solutions Limited won the Business Excellence Large Enterprise Project of the Year, which was presented by Morson International. Electron is one of the UK’s leading painters of plastic components. The company was recognised for increasing its efficiency and capacity, including expanding production to produce components for the new Range Rover.

    Motor Wheel Service Distribution (MWS) was the winner of the Business Excellence Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) Project of the Year. MWS is the leading independent supplier of commercial wheels in the UK and Europe. Amongst its range is the xlite forged aluminium wheel, which can save haulage companies significant fuel costs, due to its lightweight design. MWS has recently invested heavily in marketing, which has contributed to them securing a large contract to work in partnership with ATS Euromaster as its sole wheel supplier.

    I would also like to congratulate the other award winners, which are all actively participating in the Business Excellence Programme. They are as follows:

    • Northwest Automotive Company of the Year Award – Performance Springs
    • Innovation Company of the Year Award – Briggs Automotive Company
    • Trade Company of the Year Award – Performance Springs

    I look forward to another excellent dinner next October and look forward to showcasing our Business Excellence members. If you are interested in sponsoring the 2013 NAA Dinner, then please contact Zoe Desoer (

    Case Studies

    Since September we have produced 15 case studies which aim to raise the profile of our region’s automotive sector, individual companies and the programme, as well as sharing best practice, contacts and encouraging networking and collaborations. The case studies provide a summary of projects that member companies and the Business Excellence Programme have invested in, which aimed to improve performance. The projects have been varied, from lean manufacture, to procurement support, to attendance at national and international exhibitions. If you would like to look at the case studies, please follow this link:

    Business Excellence Networking Meetings and Future Events

    Our last Business Excellence Networking Meeting was held on Thursday 4 October and included a site tour of MWS, after which we continued the meeting at the Village Hotel, Cheadle. With 20 people attending, numbers continue to grow. The meeting covered two MWS case studies, marketing internationalisation and procurement, presented by John Ellis, Managing Director of MWS. Paul Clarke, Managing Director of Automotive Comms and Promote, gave a presentation about marketing strategies, from design to implementation. The special topic was the NW Fund for Business Loans, which was delivered by Steve Molyneux of FW Capital.

    Next Business Excellence Meeting

    The next Business Excellence Meeting will be held at Electron Technical Solutions from 1-4pm, 12 December and will include a site tour and case study. The vital topics will be pensions and networking. Please note that this is a free event and you must be a member of Business Excellence to attend.

    Public Sector and Providers Event

    On 30 January we will be holding a public sector engagement event for LEPs and individuals in Local Authorities who are business-facing, together with providers on the Business Excellence technical support panel. Through this event we will increase awareness of the automotive sector, the Business Excellence Programme and Autohub with the aim of drawing in additional public sector support for companies.  The event will provide automotive sector updates, such as from Paul Everitt, CEO, SMMT and project updates from Business Excellence and Autohub. A workshop will be delivered to update Business Excellence technical support providers on the extension and procedures and a second workshop will be delivered on Autohub. If you are interested in attending this free event, please contact Zoe Desoer (


    • TS 16949 – I Day 8D Problem Solving – 13 November
    • VDA 6.3 Awareness Seminar – 14 November

    For further information on either of these two courses, please follow the link If you are interested in booking on either course, please contact Zoe Desoer (

    Contact Me

    If you are interested in finding out more about joining the Business Excellence Programme and any of the above, then please contact me. My email and telephone numbers are as follows:, telephone 07870 812214 (direct mobile).

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Dr Martin Andrews
    Northwest Automotive Alliance

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