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    NAA Business Excellence Programme Update: Funding Available, Case Studies Commissioned, New Members, Events

    The Business Excellence Programme technical consultancy and mentoring project fund aims to help automotive companies make business improvements that will help them to remain competitive and grow, and the NAA contributes 35% of costs up to £10,000

    In November, I launched the Business Excellence Programme technical consultancy and mentoring project fund, for which the NAA contributes 35% of costs up to £10,000. The aim of the fund is to help automotive companies to make business improvements that will help them to remain competitive and grow. Projects supported have been diverse, from lean manufacture, to quality systems, to change management, to the development and implementation of marketing strategies.

    Already, 36 projects have been approved, with a total value of £564k, for which the NAA is providing a contribution of £203k. If you are interested in obtaining funding to help you to carry out business improvement projects, which use external providers, then please contact me to arrange a visit. I will take you through the application process, help to produce a tender specification, identify providers and assess the tenders with you. This whole process typically takes 2 weeks to complete, a limited amount of your time and I can work to your timescale.

    Case Studies Commissioned

    A key role of the project is to promote the automotive sector in our region. Where companies have carried out business improvements with support from the Business Excellence programme, then case studies are an important tool for disseminating best practice, showcasing the companies, promoting the NW region’s automotive sector and of course the Business Excellence Programme and NAA.

    I am pleased to announce that I have recently commissioned Paul Clarke, MD of Promote, to produce up to 30 case studies. Paul will gather information and images from each company and produce the case studies for approval. These will then be promoted through the NAA’s Business Excellence website, the NAA’s monthly e-news, press releases, presentations and, later in the year a, brochure.

    Membership Continues to Grow

    Although I am no longer actively promoting membership of the Business Excellence Programme, as my focus is on helping companies to deliver projects, there is still a lot of interest in membership. My original aim was to have 55 members signed up and I am pleased that membership currently stands at 60. If you are not already a member, I would be more than happy to explain how the BE programme can support you. It isfree to all companies in the North West region’s automotive sector (and those looking to supply into it), and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund. Please contact me, if you would like further details.

    New members this month include:

    • ELE Technologies Ltd – specialists in non-conventional machining for automotive components and industrial gas turbines (both aero and land-based). The gas turbine experience ranges from vanes to both compressor and turbine blades. They are specialists in cooling hole technology, using non-conventional machining.
    • Mini Gears – one of the largest and most respected gear manufacturers in the UK, producing precision gears from 25mm up to 600mm diameter, CNC gear grinding up to 400mm diameter, gear racks up to 3 metres long and 5 axis CNC machined parts. Specialist supplier to most Power Transmission, Valve, Medical and Autosport Industries.
    • CCM Motorcycles – based in Bolton, CCM designs and manufactures motorcycles. The company’s main activity in recent years has been the supply of product for USA military contracts.

    Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions

    Business Excellence Networking Meeting – 1pm, 14 June, hosted by Performance Springs, Lytham St Annes. This meeting will include members’ introductions, BE update, vital topic (changes in employment law and use of agency staff), Performance Springs case study, site tour and networking.

    R&D Tax Credits, 10 July, Partnership for Learning building, Halewood.

    Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle show on 5 and 6 September 2012, at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedford. Once again we will be paying for the vast majority of stand costs. I would love to hear from companies interested in joining our delegation and exhibiting. Opportunities are available for both the private sector and academic institutions, so if you are interested please contact me at the earliest opportunity.

    Automechanika, Frankfurt, Germany – 11 to 16 September 2012. I am very pleased to say that we have already filled our stand at Automechanika, Frankfurt in September, with four companies from our region. Upon completion of the show, I will report back through the newsletter.

    Business Excellence/Industry Awards

    In October, the NAA will be holding Business Excellence/Industry Awards, which will provide an opportunity for companies to celebrate their successes and obtain recognition from the sector. We are in the early stages of developing the criteria for the awards, but please keep a look out for emails inviting applications in June.

    Future Programme – Post December 2012

    I am pleased to say that work has commenced on the potential extension to our Business Excellence Programme. The current programme runs until December 2012. My aim is to demonstrate to our ERDF funders that it is important to continue to support the automotive sector, for which I am looking for a project extension to mid-2015. I hope that you will support me in this endeavour, with letters of support and information about how the project has benefitted your companies. I will keep you informed of progress.

    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 , telephone 0151 486 4986 (general) or 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