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    NAA Event: Northern Automotive Alliance Award Winners show that the region has moved up a gear

    The winners of the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA) Awards 2017 show that there is real progress being made in the region’s automotive sector, in areas as diverse as emission control, the manufacture of bespoke supercars, sustainable carbon fibre production and factories harnessing the latest Industry 4.0 technologies…

    The NAA Awards, which showcase the successes of vehicle manufacturers, supply chain companies and service providers in the region, took place in Cheshire on 9th November 2017. Ian Constance, CEO, Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC UK), gave a keynote speech to the audience of over 270 members of the Northern and national automotive communities.

    The winner of the overall NAA Company of the Year Award 2017, sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd, was Klarius Products; the company also won the Logistics Excellence Award, sponsored by DHL Supply Chain.

    Klarius Products, an SME, is one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of type approved replacement emission control parts. From its manufacturing site in Cheadle, Staffordshire, complete with technical development centre, emission test track and logistics centre (Autologistiks), it operates a passionate continuous improvement culture to drive its business. The company’s test and development facilities are also used by OEMs and Tier 1 companies in the UK for emission testing and prototyping.

    Klarius Products demonstrated that it has developed a new approach to supporting its customers, by reducing delivery timescales to dealerships from 2-3 days to overnight, at no extra cost. This is increasing the company’s sales and enabling it to become embedded within its customers’ systems. In addition, having an entire ethos focused on lean manufacturing, together with a genuine all-around capability, was the reason for Klarius Products winning the NAA Company of the Year Award 2017.

    Commenting on receiving the Awards, Paul Hannah, Business Development Director at Klarius Products, said “We are delighted to have won the Northern Automotive Alliance Logistics Excellence and Company of the Year Awards. We’re also pleased to have recently become a member of the NAA community, which promotes and shares best practice in the industry – the annual Awards being a perfect demonstration of this. We are looking forward to the networking and introductions that the NAA facilitates.”

    The full range of winners at the 2017 NAA Awards event were:

    Innovation Award

    Sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover
    Sigmatex UK Ltd

    International Trade Award

    Sponsored by Morson Group
    Scorpion Automotive Ltd

    Marketing Excellence Award

    Sponsored by GEFCO
    CCM Motorcycles

    People & Skills Award

    Sponsored by Industry Forum
    Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Ltd

    Manufacturing Excellence Award

    Sponsored by Vauxhall
    Force Technology Ltd

    Logistics Excellence Award

    Sponsored by DHL Supply Chain
    Klarius Products Ltd

    Industry 4.0 Award

    Sponsored by Siemens
    Metis Automation

    Company of the Year Award

    Sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd
    Klarius Products Ltd

    Company of the Year Award – Highly Commended

    Sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd
    Force Technology Ltd

    The 2017 NAA Awards event was sponsored by Festo.

    Force Technology was Highly Commended in the Company of the Year category – as well as winning the Manufacturing Excellence Award. Force Technology designs, manufactures and tests springs for high precision, high duty applications, primarily in the transportation market sector, including premier automotive, marine, off highway and motorsport. The judges said that Force Technology has focused on getting the basics right, providing a blueprint for the future, with good plans for the use of technology and Industry 4.0 in a modern, open facility.

    The Innovation Award was won by Sigmatex UK, a company that develops and manufactures carbon fibre for composite material applications. Sigmatex has developed a new product, sigmaRF, an innovative and sustainable composite material based on reclaimed carbon fibre and thermoplastic matrix. The introduction of this product will enable Sigmatex to reformat 100% of its waste stream by 2020 and 80% of its customers’ waste by 2022.

    The winner of the International Trade Award was Scorpion Automotive, the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle security, stolen vehicle tracking, telematics systems and bespoke electronic devices for OE line fit and approved aftermarket installations. Scorpion Automotive has expanded from exporting into Europe and Asia into the USA plus the Middle East and North Africa during the last year, as well as developing a product variant specifically for the Asian market.

    CCM Motorcycles, a company that produces motorcycles for on and off road purposes as well as military contracts, won the Marketing Excellence Award. The company has applied modern social media marketing techniques in a traditional industry to reach its customers directly.

    Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) was the winner of the People & Skills Award. BAC is the British manufacturer of Mono, the lightweight, ultra-high performance, road-legal supercar designed and manufactured using the latest racing technology. The company demonstrated impressive levels of growth based on recruiting, developing and maintaining its highly skilled and engaged workforce, with every individual having a development plan linked to the business requirements.

    The Industry 4.0 Award was won by Metis Automation, a company that develops advanced software for connected manufacturing in the automotive industry. The judges said that Metis Automation had a clear, customer-driven requirement that resulted in a practical, real-life application that is earning them money now and has assisted them in doubling the size of their business.

    Carol Holden OBE, NAA Chief Executive, commented: “This year’s NAA Award winners show that the region’s automotive industry has genuinely moved forward in many areas, ranging from the introduction of new business products and services to the adoption of the latest technologies. The NAA exists to support its member companies, and the growth of many of our businesses shows that success is possible even against a backdrop of various challenges and uncertainties both nationally and internationally.”

    Wes Jacklin, Chairman of Directors and Advisory Board, Northern Automotive Alliance added: “The Industrial Strategy has given the NAA an opportunity to gather the views of its members, and the feedback was very strong that, while national requirements provide the backbone for our automotive activity, regional requirements can be significantly different across the country. In the area covered by the NAA we have a very varied range of companies supporting the industry, and our 2017 Award winners reflect this diversity. To ensure continued success and growth, it’s important that we have an Industrial Strategy solution that works for everyone, and that the NAA continues to provide support relevant to the companies in the Northern region.”

    The NAA has recently launched a new Automotive Business Opportunities service to help companies achieve commercial benefits from the rapidly changing automotive industry, such as in the areas of low emission or connected vehicles.

    The Northern Automotive Alliance is an independent, not-for-profit company which provides a membership service to the automotive community, supporting micro-companies through to the locally-based global vehicle manufacturers. The NAA helps to support and nurture supply chain companies to grow into larger businesses, in order to strengthen the upstream supply chain in the UK.

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