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    NAA Update: Business Excellence Funding decision; and if you’re not an NAA member, please become one!

    Please help us with data for the extension to the Business Excellence Project; latest on UK automotive production and SMMT Meet the Buyer event; become a member of the NAA

    Where did January go? If you are like us, it has been a really intense start to the New Year and before we blinked it was February!

    Many of you will be waiting to hear how we progressed with the extension to the Business Excellence Project; the answer is that we’re not there yet, we need to submit some additional information for a further review on 28 February. Martin and I need to very quickly gather some additional data, so if you receive an email or a call from us in the next few days you will understand why and hopefully be able to help us quickly obtain and collate all the data for submission. We thought that we had until May/June to gather the information, but unfortunately we need to advance this to the next 10 days.

    As Martin mentioned previously, we have now allocated all of the project competition for everywhere excluding Merseyside and we are currently working with some companies there to spend the remaining money for Merseyside; so this phase of the project really is coming to a close. If we are successful in obtaining the extension – and we are still hopeful – then our next stage is that we need to sign up additional companies. So if you have any of your supply chain based in the North West and they are not members of the network then we will need to start working together to encourage them to join the network and take advantage of all the benefits that you have seen.

    All Business Excellence companies will be receiving an email from us asking them to consider joining us for a bid for monies from the Employer Ownership of Skills Pilot fund – find out more in the separate article below; to be considered you do need to get back to us and register your interest by 25 February.

    UK vehicle output in 2012 was up 7.7% on 2011. The figures for output in value terms are now available, and these show a more modest increase, up 4% on 2011. Either way it means that overall we continued to see improvement during 2012.  Those of you who attended our event at Haydock Park on 30 January will have heard Phil Davies of the Automotive Unit at BIS speak about the Automotive Council analysis that found that only around one third of overall tier 1 inputs are purchased from UK sources, with the annualised total peaking at £11 billion-worth of imports by mid-2012. It is also becoming apparent that we may have the same challenge with tier 1 purchases, with only around one third of the available sales to tier 1 companies being captured by UK tier 2 companies; this presents another big opportunity for UK and hopefully NW businesses. This shows that there is plenty of scope for increasing the local content.

    In addition, all VMs and Tier 1s based in the UK are looking to increase their UK content, this gives them benefits such as flexibility, resilience to exchange rate variation and reduced logistics costs; the challenge is to ensure that they are really getting to see all the companies who could be working with them and this is where the SMMT Meet the Buyer events are beneficial to all companies. The 2013 event will be held in the Midlands on 23 May, but to really benefit from this opportunity you need to start working on it now – to help you in being ready, we will be holding an event on 7 March where the SMMT will explain in more detail how to prepare and maximise information about your company that will help the Tier 1 buyers understand if they are interested in meeting with you.

    As many of you are aware it has been a changing situation for public sector support during the last couple of years so we will also be taking the opportunity to have speakers explain more about the LEPs, MAS and other funding opportunities that you can benefit from. The event is being jointly held by SMMT, Liverpool LEP and the NAA; but is open to all and relevant to everyone, wherever you may be based within the country (England, Scotland, Wales etc). Please take a look at the specific event article within the newsletter and register your attendance today.

    Some more interesting information for you is linked into productivity; productivity growth remains vitally important in a competitive market, and the latest Eurostat figures (for 2010) demonstrate how well the UK auto sector is performing relative to our main competitors. In terms of value added per employee, Germany’s advantage is now less than 5% and the UK had a 36% productivity advantage over our next nearest competitor, France. Please remember that these are averaged figures, but certainly show good reasons why we may be successful in attracting new Tier 1 business into the UK.

    As a reminder, we do need your membership monies, we no longer receive any direct funding to support us as a group and our survival is dependent upon our membership income and our ability to attract funding for your benefit. To support us as a member, please speak to Zoe who will help you through the application process.

    It is a very busy time for us with two projects coming to a close and two about to start, plus applications for two new projects, so if you don’t receive an immediate response from us then please bear with us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

    I look forward to hopefully being able to give you more positive news in our next newsletter and seeing you at our joint event with SMMT and the Liverpool LEP on 7th March at PfL.

    Carol Holden
    Chief Executive

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