Northwest Automotive Alliance Awards celebrate the success of the region’s companies
The success – and the diversity – of the automotive industry in the North West has been celebrated at the Northwest Automotive Alliance (NAA) Awards, which took place at Carden Park Hotel in Cheshire on 6th November 2013.
The winner of the overall Company of the Year Award was Sigmatex (UK) Ltd, a company that develops and manufactures carbon fibre textiles for composite materials. Sigmatex also won the Business Excellence Award for SMEs. It was judged that Sigmatex deserved the awards for a number of reasons, including the company’s development of a new innovative lightweight carbon fibre material that can be produced three times faster than other similar products, as well as the strategic approach to growing and improving the company, and its results to date.
Commenting on receiving the award, Chris McHugh, Technical Director of Sigmatex, said “We’re delighted to have received both the Business Excellence and the Company of the Year awards from the Northwest Automotive Alliance. We have invested significantly in research to develop carbon fibre as a material for use in the automotive industry and it’s fantastic to receive recognition for our efforts.”
The Company of the Year Award also had a special ‘Highly Commended’ mention for Scorpion Automotive, the UK’s leading supplier and manufacturer of vehicle security alarms, immobilisers and tracking systems for light and heavy commercial vehicles. Scorpion also won the Trade Company of the Year Award, being recognised for setting up an Indian subsidiary in just 18 months, for investing significantly in research and development, as well as achieving substantial growth.
The other award winners at the event were:
Business Excellence Award (Large Enterprise)
This award went to Bentley Motors primarily for a focus on leadership development across the manufacturing organisation and the introduction of a process of engaging all employees in shaping the future culture of the company. This year, Bentley has also been successful in winning the contract to build the firm’s new SUV at its factory at Crewe, involving an investment of more than £800m and the creation of up to 1,000 jobs at its plant and in the supply chain.
The Innovation Award was won by FAR-UK Ltd, a newly formed material company aiming to bring innovative, cost-effective composite materials into production within the automotive sector, especially for mass market applications. One of the company’s new processes enables niche vehicle manufacturers to produce shapes with carbon fibre that are currently only achievable through metal casting techniques, with the aim of being a cost comparable solution, but with significant weight reduction.
Supply Chain Competitiveness & Growth Award
ENER-G Holdings PLC
ENER-G designs, develops, operates and finances energy efficient, sustainable and renewable solutions on a business-to-business basis globally. Key elements of the company’s products are sourced from the automotive industry and the company won this award based on its introduction of a new supplier management system which led to dramatic improvements in quality and productivity.
Community Outreach Award
Leyland Trucks Ltd
Leyland Trucks has been part of the Leyland community for over 100 years and supports the town and various initiatives to promote its industrial heritage, most recently with the restoration of a Leyland Fire Engine placed at one of the gateways to the town. The company has a charity which supports the voluntary activity that its employees undertake and there is an extensive programme of working with young people.
The individual Northwest Automotive Alliance Awards were sponsored by Bentley Motors, Electron Technical Solutions, Festo, Industry Forum, Jaguar Land Rover, Morson International and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and were presented in front of an audience of almost 300 members of the North West, and national, automotive community.
Carol Holden, NAA Chief Executive, says “The automotive sector is an important part of the economy of both the UK and the North West. The region is fortunate to have a wide range of companies operating in this sector, supporting the automotive, commercial vehicle (truck and bus) and motorsport industries, and this diversity is demonstrated by our award winners and finalists. This is an opportunity to celebrate companies that are leaders in their individual fields and that have the potential to grow into larger enterprises.”
Additional event sponsors were Cheshire West and Chester Council, ENER-G, Getrag Ford Transmissions Halewood, MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service) and TVS Supply Chain Solutions.
The UK’s automotive sector is a key part of the UK economy, generating around £50bn in annual turnover and delivering £10bn in net value-added to the economy. The North West region is the largest producer of vehicles in the UK, valued at over £10bn per annum. Over 17,000 people are directly employed by the vehicle makers and tier 1 suppliers in the region.
The Northwest Automotive Alliance (NAA) 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’s Business Excellence programme works with member companies to help them improve their performance.
The North West economy is currently faced with a significant opportunity due to the unprecedented investment in the UK’s automotive industry. However, for North West companies to remain competitive and win a share of the opportunities, the region’s automotive sector needs to be supported. The Northwest Automotive Alliance is working with automotive suppliers to help them gain maximum benefit from the growth of the UK’s automotive industry, so helping to improve the North West region’s economy.
Find out more at northernautoalliance.com