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    Last chance for project funding, and forthcoming events

    A total of 24 Business Excellence projects have now been commissioned, worth £323,000, towards which the BE programme has contributed £123,000. By June, it is expected that all funding will be allocated to projects, so please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in support.

    In November, I started to promote project funding for Business Excellence members. Since then, I have commissioned 24 projects, worth £323,000, for which the BE programme has contributed £123,000. By June, I expect all funding to be allocated to projects, so please contact me if you are interested in support. Projects can be diverse, from lean manufacture, to quality systems, to the development and implementation of marketing strategies. Subsidised support is available at a rate of 35%, for revenue projects using an external provider, up to the value of £10k.

    If you are not currently a BE member, then all is not lost. Although, membership currently stands at 55, which was our original target, it remains open and is free to all companies in the North West region’s automotive sector, supported by the European Regional Development Fund. Please contact me, if you would like further details.

    Forthcoming Events and Exhibitions

    Directors in the Dock, Slater Heelis, Sale Moor, Manchester, 1-5pm, 26 April 2012

    This event is applicable for all companies, not just BE members, who want to understand their duties and how to maximise value from achieving best practice – it doesn’t always have to doom and gloom. Legislation will be covered with respect to accidents at work and corporate and gross negligence manslaughter, which is an area of concern for all directors. Sessions will also be held on directors’ legal duties and evidence of compliance, together with achieving best practice and understanding the true value of health and safety. We also have free legal and health and safety clinic slots provided by Slater Heelis and Safety2Business respectively.

    In September 2012, we will be attending two exhibitions.

    Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle, 5 & 6 September 2012, Millbrook

    Automechanika, 11 – 16 September 2012, Frankfurt, Germany

    Through the BE programme, we will be taking a North West regional delegation to exhibit at the above two shows. The exhibition costs will be heavily subsidised and supported, for which BE members only are invited. The number of places available are limited and over 50% of these have already been taken. If you would like to know more and potentially reserve a space at either of these events, then please contact me as soon as practical.

    Business Excellence Networking Meeting – June (venue and date to be confirmed).

    This meeting will include members introductions, BE update, vital topic and relevant case study, plus site tour. I will send out the finalised details next month.

    The last BE networking meeting was kindly hosted by Morson, Trafford Park on 16 March. Besides the BE programme update, members had the opportunity to network and learn more about lean manufacture from Industry Forum. A case study was provided from ENER-G on their lean project, which was actually the first funded BE project. The benefits of the project were incredible in terms of efficiency gains and well worth the investment.

    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 April.

    Future Programme – Post December 2012

    The current Business Excellence Programme runs until December 2012 and once we have proven that it adds value to the automotive industry locally then I will enter discussions with the European Regional Development Fund at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), with the aim of securing a project extension and additional monies until December 2015. I will need to measure the financial benefit of the programme for each member, for example, what income did your improvement project(s) and the networking opportunities provide? – the principal being that you wouldn’t engage in the programme and invest money and time, unless there was a payback. Additionally, if you value the project and want to see it continue to support the sector, then it would be very helpful to receive a letter of support for the project. Realistically, I intend to open discussions with DCLG in April/May and submit an application in June.

    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 0151 486 4986 (general) or 07870 812214 (direct mobile).

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    All the best


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