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    NAA Business Excellence Programme Update: Project extension, next BE event, case studies, and more

    Since Christmas, we have been focussing on a number of areas, including our funding application for the project extension to June 2015, preparation for a European audit, performance evidence, a major public sector event and the commissioning of the last remaining monies for mentoring and technical support in this phase of the project.

    I would particularly like to thank all members for their support with the funding application and strengthening the proposal by demonstrating that our project is delivering to and beyond contract.

    Project Extension Update
    I have been working on the project extension for over a year now, the history so far is that after consulting with the sector and our ERDF funders, I submitted an application to extend the Business Excellence Programme in July 12. Sometime later, this application was reviewed by ERDF and subsequently reviewed by the European Regional Development Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee (PMSC) on 6th November. Prior to this meeting I asked if any of the companies we were supporting would be prepared to write a letter of support and I was incredibly pleased with the response, as I received 39 letters of support from the sector from senior people in the industry, from both large companies and SMEs. The outcome of the PMSC meeting was that although there was considerable support for the project extension, monies had already been pre-allocated to other projects and insufficient funds were available at the time to fund our extension.

    PMSC met again on 7th February to review proposals and allocate additional funding. However, one of the sub-regions requested additional information to demonstrate that our project provides in-depth and ongoing support to automotive companies, rather than being a signposting project. The requested information has since been submitted and our proposal has the backing of the industry, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the majority of the sub-regions, other Business support agencies and ERDF itself. So, fingers crossed for a positive decision on the 26th March when it will be reviewed once again by PMSC. My key aim is to ensure that we provide programme continuity to our region’s automotive companies, for which an early decision is needed.

    Mentoring and Technical Support
    The mentoring and technical support fund has now come to a close, as our ERDF contract states that all activity must be completed by the end of March 2013. Carol and I are supporting companies to ensure that the last live projects are completed in time. A key area of activity in April and May will be finalising all outstanding invoices and gathering evidence which demonstrates that the support was of value.

    Since November 2011, we have supported 43 projects through the Business Excellence panel of consultants to deliver £570,000 of advice and guidance. This is staggering in the timescale and demonstrates that the automotive sector in the region is investing in its future. Needless to say that this service has proved to be an incredibly popular area of the programme and one which will be a priority when we secure the project extension.

    Case Studies
    To support your investment in business improvement through Business Excellence, I am producing a number of case studies and a booklet, which showcase our region.  These will also promote your companies and share best practice, whilst promoting the Business Excellence programme and the NAA. Individual case studies are available on the website upon project completion and currently 16 have been produced in the form of a booklet. If you would like to look at the case studies, please follow this link:

    Business Excellence Networking Meetings and Events

    Business Excellence Networking
    Unfortunately, March’s Business Excellence Networking Meeting was cancelled due to the ERDF audit and workload, for which I apologise. We plan to hold the next networking meeting on 6 June 2013. We are still looking for a host, so if there are any volunteers, please contact me. The meeting will include members’ introductions, an overview of the host company and site tour, a presentation on work undertaken with the NAA through Business Excellence, a Business Excellence Programme update and a vital topic (patents, trademarks and copyrights). If you would like to attend this free event, please register with Zoe Desoer,

    Public Sector and Providers Event
    On 30th January we held a public sector engagement event, which aimed to engage the business-facing public sector, together with providers on the Business Excellence technical support panel. The event provided automotive sector updates from Yung Tran, SMMT and the Phil Davies, Automotive Council which showed the opportunities and barriers faced by the automotive sector in the UK and region. The Business Excellence presentation highlighted the current offering and proposed extension, supported by case studies from Steve Williams, Performance Springs and John Ellis, MWS Distribution. A workshop was delivered to update Business Excellence technical support providers on the extension and procedures and a second workshop was delivered on round 2 of the Employer Ownership of Skills fund to identify the requirements of the sector, with a view to submitting a funding proposal. I am pleased to say the event was extremely well attended and the feedback was extremely complimentary

    . Read more about the event at:

    Contact Me
    If you are interested in finding out more about 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