New Government package is launched to help UK aerospace manufacturers win more orders
14th May 2019

A new approach to improve the competitiveness of the British aerospace industry was unveiled today; “NMCL” has been successfully piloted by SMMT Industry Forum with companies in the North West of England.

A £10 million programme to help make the UK’s advanced aerospace manufacturing supply chain more competitive was launched by new Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson, today, as he visited aerospace and defence supplier MEP in Aylesford, Kent. Along with other national providers, SMMT Industry Forumthe training and consultancy specialist for manufacturers – will help deliver the new approach, called NMCL (for National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels), which is part of the SC21 Competitiveness & Growth (C&G) programme.

The NMCL initiative is notable because it starts with an in-depth assessment of a company’s competitiveness, based on interviews with its key customers. This then identifies which business capabilities areas need to boost performance, such as improvements in quality, cost, delivery, flexibility, products/technology and customer experience. SMMT Industry Forum has been involved in piloting the new NMCL model with aerospace companies in the North West of England, including the competitiveness viewpoints by companies such as Airbus and Rolls Royce.

Unilathe Ltd is a Staffordshire-based manufacturer of machined and fabricated components for the aerospace and automotive sectors that has participated in the NMCL programme as a test case. “What NMCL brings to the forefront is a set of criteria to benchmark against. As part of that process, you get the opportunity to talk about and address areas that need more focus. It sets a basis for a much more mature relationship with your customers,” says Andrew Simms, managing director of Unilathe.

SC21 C&G is funded by the government as part of its Industrial Strategy, and Aerospace Sector Deal, with the NMCL approach having been developed by the automotive and aerospace sectors working together. It aims to assess and improve competitiveness, raise workforce capacity and increase productivity of all types of UK manufacturers.

Dr Chris Owen, chief executive of SMMT Industry Forum, commented, “We’re delighted that SC21 C&G and NMCL have been endorsed by government in this way. We have taken over 25 years of experience operating in automotive and aerospace sectors to develop this approach to help manufacturers understand their current capabilities and competitiveness and quickly work out where and how to invest to make big improvements. NMCL is now very much open for business and we’re looking forward to helping aerospace manufacturers achieve their potential.”

NMCL projects are tailor-made for each manufacturer and focus on boosting competitiveness, increasing ‘value-add’ and winning more orders. Companies can undertake 6 month focussed improvement projects through to multi-year company transformations depending on their potential and ambition.

Interested organisations, regardless of their size and stages of development, can register their interest to take part in the NMCL programme by completing by completing a short questionnaire on the SC21 website.

Video about the NMCL pilot scheme in conjunction with the North West Aerospace Alliance:

Image – New Business and Industry Minister Andrew Stephenson has announced the selection of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) programme, part of the SC21 Competitiveness & Growth (C&G) programme, as the mechanism to deliver the government’s national supplier competitiveness and productivity improvement initiative, as outlined in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Image – The NMCL project team at Unilathe.

Image – Dr Chris Owen, chief executive of SMMT Industry Forum, commented, “We’re delighted that NMCL has been endorsed by government in this way.”

About SMMT Industry Forum

Established in 1996 by the UK government, the SMMT and vehicle manufacturers to improve the competitiveness of the UK’s automotive supply chain. It has more than 150 cross sector industry specialists and is active in 30 countries. It has delivered over 400 competitiveness and productivity programmes and trained over 25,000 people over the past 20 years. Over the last four years, the Automotive Council has run its Long-Term Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness (LTASC) programme through SMMT Industry Forum where it has worked with over 70 automotive supply chain companies, large and small, to upskill hundreds of employees, boost productivity, deliver new products to market, leverage more than £75m of private investment in CAPEX, skills and R&D, and is set to create and safeguard more than 3,800 jobs. SMMT Industry Forum has also been the largest provider of knowledge and expertise to deliver the aerospace industry’s Sharing in Growth (SiG) programme.