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    NAA Update: Congratulations to the 2018 NAA Awards Winners

    What a brilliant night we had at the Mere for the 2018 NAA Annual Awards & Networking Dinner. For me personally, it was a pleasure to meet all the new faces, which in many cases was a matter of putting a face to a name I have already communicated with…

    There was a vibrant atmosphere in the room all night, which shows what a collaborative and close-knit group we have in our automotive community. There was also Robert Llewellyn’s infectious presenting style and a few empty glasses of wine, whose contribution to this vibrant atmosphere should not be overlooked!

    And let us not forget the NAA Awards. This being my first year of judging, I was very impressed in the quality of applications, and can tell you there were a couple of photo finishes in the judging process. Let me offer my thanks to the sponsors, my congratulations to the winners, and my commiserations to the others. In truth, all involved are winners in the end, as what fantastic exposure it is for your companies and brands. We are also considering a more interactive judging process for next year, and would really welcome the feedback of all applicants who took part.

    A special note of congratulations must also be given to Force Technology, the winner of the NAA Company of the Year Award. Force Technology is featured in the company profile in this newsletter, for those who are interested to know more. As is tradition, we will be planning an event at the company’s manufacturing facilities during 2019.

    On the topic of events, October also saw our manual handling event at Pirelli, another NAA networking event fantastically co-ordinated by Martina. I think I speak for all those present when I say how passionate the Pirelli team spoke around a topic that is often viewed as uninteresting. The combination of humour mixed with proven lifting knowledge has enabled Pirelli to change its lifting culture against all the odds. There is a dedicated article on the event later in the newsletter for those who are interested.

    Last month I stressed the importance of collaboration, amongst other things, and I would like to start touching on one valuable collaborative activity per newsletter. This month, I want to focus on the ‘Support Group for NW Manufacturers’, a quarterly round table activity co-ordinated by Gary Sheader of the Manufacturer’s Alliance. The group talked around the top 10 issues being experienced by SMEs, following a detailed survey carried out with many SME companies. The majority of issues recorded were deemed to be those around people, with things like cost reduction issues, surprisingly, appearing quite low down on the priority list. Of course, we all know there is a skills gap in our industry, but many of these issues were focused on the behavioural and cultural aspects of people rather than on lack of numbers or skills. The team collated a list of attributes that their respective organisations can bring to the table, and moving forward will focus on each issue individually, with the goal of forming a support plan for SMEs in our region. I look forward to sharing the outcome of this working group in the near future.

    To finish, I would like to signpost a number of upcoming events in our region:

    Smart Factory Expo Liverpool (14th/15th November)

    Link to Smart Factory Expo Liverpool:

    The NAA will be exhibiting at the event alongside Valuechain, please come and speak with us. I will also be speaking at the Future of Mobility session on the Wednesday.

    Made Smarter NW Pilot Launch Event (14th November)

    Link to Made Smarter NW Pilot Launch Event:

    The launch of a government-funded scheme to boost productivity in the North West by encouraging more manufacturers to adopt digital technologies.

    NAA Networking Event: Klarius, Company of the Year (6th December)

    Link to NAA Networking Event at Klarius:

    A look into Klarius Products, the UK’s largest manufacturer of emissions components including exhausts, catalytic converters, diesel particulate filters and associated mounting components.

    NAA Training Showcase (6th December)

    NAA Training Showcase Link:

    A series of short taster sessions to explore the opportunities of key skills training including Presentation Skills & Public Speaking, Customer & User Experience and Sales Development Techniques & Negotiation.

    Brexit Webinars (15th November & 20th December)

    Brexit Webinars Link:

    DIT’s upcoming webinar on the current FTA consultation. This will be chaired by George Hollingbery MP, the Minister of State for Trade Policy, alongside Vivien Life, the Director of Asia and Australasia Negotiations at DIT. There will also be a representative from the Federation of Small Businesses attending, as there will be content directed towards SMEs in particular.

    See you in December at Klarius.

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