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    NAA Update: NW Automotive Alliance: ‘100% useful’

    NAA director Steve Williams, standing in for Carol this month, highlights the critical importance of the NAA from the point of view of automotive supply chain companies.

    It was interesting to see the Annual Manufacturing Report 2014 from The Manufacturer magazine. The NAA scored an impressive 100% for usefulness when compared against a whole range of other manufacturing and business support bodies.

    Also, over the two weeks prior to this newsletter being issued, there have been a number of national automotive industry events where the NAA has again been highlighted for the effective service it provides. Keep scrolling down this newsletter and you can get an essential summary of the key issues highlighted in some of these events that will impact on your business (there are reviews of five events in total spread over this month’s and next month’s newsletters – all part of the NAA’s service to keep you updated with latest industry developments).

    It’s no surprise to see these survey results and the comments about the NAA as we all know the NAA team does an amazing job in supporting us with an endless list of benefits including…

    • Access to Funding
    • Financial Support
    • Project Management
    • Bid Writing and Preparation
    • Networking
    • Best Practice Collaboration
    • Industry Specific Training
    • Company Introductions
    • Business Excellence Projects
    • Industry Awards
    • Exhibition Assistance
    • Annual Conference
    • Signposting
    • University Collaboration

    The key here is that the NAA is NOT government funded. Despite the perception due to its professionalism, the NAA is NOT a wealthy organisation and it is NOT funded by the major regional vehicle manufacturers. It is a trade body run by the industry for the industry and it offers an amazingly efficient service in relation to the small amount of income that it gets. It survives off its membership fees, the associated funding it gets through programmes such as Business Excellence (now coming to an end), and the dedicated commitment from a whole host of stakeholders. We are now fast approaching the election and the five-yearly cycle of uncertainty over future funding and survival that is applicable to most trade bodies.

    The government-funded bodies such MAS/BGS and UKTI do a fantastic job at a generic level for British manufacturers. However in order to become successful most SMEs and Tier 1s have become highly specialised, and accordingly need industry specific support as well as generic support.

    Who is better placed to offer this than proven trade bodies like the NAA? In a period where government is keen to encourage employer ownership, develop supply chains and encourage SME growth, would offering direct support to the industry-run trade bodies be an intelligent extension to a fast developing industrial strategy?

    Why reinvent the wheel, when we already have very successful industry specific bodies that just need a little more income to ensure their continued struggle for survival becomes a certainty. I am sure the return on investment by working in collaboration with the industry experts would be many times greater than creating new wholly funded bodies. So, please, government and funding providers, please act now before it’s too late and help our wonderful trade bodies to ease their annual struggle.

    Steve Williams

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