Industry Forum

Leveraging Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) for Unparalleled Product Safety and Zero Defects and understanding the how the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) supports APQP.


In today’s aerospace industry, where safety and quality are paramount, the adoption of Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is crucial. This article explores how APQP drives unparalleled product safety and zero defects by integrating proactive risk management, stringent quality standards, continuous improvement, and customer focused strategies.

Additionally, it examines the potential drawbacks and challenges associated with APQP implementation to provide a balanced viewpoint.

Proactive Risk Management:

APQP enables aerospace companies to proactively identify and mitigate risks throughout the product lifecycle. Companies that implement APQP can experience up to a 35% reduction in product development cycle time and a 25% decrease in the number of defects compared to those that do not utilize APQP (Source: Frost & Sullivan, & Advanced Product Quality Planning: The Cornerstone of Aerospace Excellence”, 2023).

However, the process of identifying and mitigating risks can be resource intensive.
Smaller companies might find the upfront investment in time and resources prohibitive, potentially outweighing the benefits in the short term.

Stringent Quality Standards:

APQP emphasizes the establishment of stringent quality standards and specifications. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) reports that companies adhering to APQP guidelines can achieve a 20% improvement in first time right yield rates and a 30% reduction in scrap and rework costs (Source: Aerospace Industries Association, & Best Practices in Advanced Product Quality Planning," 2022).

Implementing stringent quality standards and specifications requires a significant commitment to training and continuous education, which can be costly. Furthermore, rigid standards might stifle innovation and flexibility, making it difficult for companies to adapt to unforeseen changes quickly.

Continuous Improvement:

APQP fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Companies that embrace APQP can report a 15% increase in operational efficiency and a 20% reduction in warranty costs over a three-year period (Source: Deloitte,”Driving Excellence through Advanced Product Quality Planning,” 2021).

The continuous improvement process necessitates a long-term commitment and may not yield immediate results. This long-term horizon can be challenging for companies looking for quick wins or operating under tight budget constraints.

Effective Problem Solving:

With structured problem-solving methodologies, APQP empowers companies to address issues effectively. Research indicates that companies utilising APQP can achieve a 25% reduction in customer complaints and a 30% increase in customer satisfaction scores within two years of implementation (Source: McKinsey & Company, “Unlocking Value through Advanced Product Quality Planning,” 2020).

Structured problem-solving methodologies can sometimes lead to over-reliance on processes and documentation, potentially slowing down decision-making and responsiveness in dynamic situations.

Customer Satisfaction and Brand Reputation:

Through the consistent delivery of defect-free products, companies enhance customer satisfaction and brand reputation. A study published in the Journal of Quality Management found that companies practising APQP can experience a 10% increase in customer retention rates and a 15% improvement in brand loyalty compared to their counterparts (Source: Journal of Quality Management, “Impact of Advanced Product Quality Planning on Customer Satisfaction,” 2019).

While customer satisfaction is a key benefit, the initial implementation phase of APQP can disrupt existing workflows and impact short-term customer perceptions negatively if not managed carefully.

Pause for reflection:
The cumulative benefits of APQP implementation over a three-year period can be substantial, encompassing improvements in operational efficiency, cost reduction and customer satisfaction.

However, the process also comes with significant challenges, including resource-intensive implementation, potential rigidity in innovation, and high upfront costs.

More and more the requirement to adopt APQP and the supporting Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) is being driven by the customer and hence a company’s ability to weigh these factors carefully and consider their specific circumstances before adopting APQP is becoming limited.

A strategic approach, tailored to the company’s unique needs and capabilities, is essential for successful APQP implementation.

Having made the decision to implement APQP an organisation may be required to provide evidence of their APQP activities. Typically, this evidence is provided in the form of a PPAP submission.

Increasing the chances of successful PPAP.

To aid suppliers who supply Aero Engine manufacturers the AESQ have developed a common set of supplier requirements documented within AS13100 and guidelines for APQP/PPAP in reference manual RM13145.

Within organisations who are operating APQP and PPAP in an efficient and effective manner lies several roles, however two of these are key. These roles are PPAP Co-ordinator (the role of managing the supply organisations PPAP process and subsequent submission to the customer and CARe Customer approved representative (the role of reviewing and dis-positioning supplier PPAP submissions to the organisation).

In support of these two roles RM13145 defines essential skills and understanding required for the roles of PPAP Co-ordinator and CARe.

1 – Essentials of the PPAP Process Management

  • Understand the fundamentals of APQP and relationship between APQP and
  • Appreciate the role of PPAP in various situations.
  • Navigate the APQP and PPAP Process Flow diagram and understand how
    this applies to PPAP.
  • Understand the how the PPAP Coordinator and CARe conduct their

2 – Evaluating the PPAP file

  • Understand what an acceptable standard is for each Element of the PPAP

3 – Preparing and evaluating the PPAP submission

  • Appreciated the meaning and use of Submission Levels.
  • Understand how to prepare and provide a PPAP Submission.
  • Understand when / how corrective action plan.

4 – Disposition of the PPAP submission and approval form

  • Be capable of conducting a disposition of the PPAP Submission.
  • Judge a PPAP Submission as Approved, Interim Approval and Reject.

The Industry Forum AS13100 aligned RM13145 PPAP Co-ordinator and CARe training course supports a strategic imperative for organisations committed to excellence in APQP and PPAP. By fostering a cross functional team of adept professionals equipped to navigate the complexities of APQP and PPAP and embrace the ethos of continuous improvement, this training program provides a shift towards operational excellence and enduring success.


The decision regarding implementing APQP is very much down to organisational culture, resource constraints and customer demand. The customer is seeking a reliable and predictable product launch process from suppliers. APQP and subsequent PPAP supports that customer goal.

Based on this customer goal, the skills and knowledge of the PPAP Co-ordinator and CARe are essential in ensuring the APQP process within an organisation delivers the required content for the PPAP file and PPAP submission, and that the PPAP process conforms to recognised best practice.

With an increase in public awareness on sustainability there has become an increasing need for organisations to demonstrate corporate responsibility on social, economic and environmental issues and how organisations manage these expectations for the benefit on society and the communities in which they operate. ISO 14001 is a means of implementing the required elements that form an effective Environmental Management system. It provides evidence that an organisation has considered any effects on the environment from its activities and how it can manage these and look to reduce its overall impacts. This provides benefits for identifying how waste can be reduced or eliminated, providing a cost-benefit as well as providing confidence that the company have adopted corporate social responsibility.

The standard is based on four key elements:

Environmental Policy

It is important that there is a commitment to apply the requirements of the standard and as an organisation the top management should identify Commitment to Continuous Improvement, Prevention of Pollution and compliance with legislation and regulations this shall be documented, implemented and maintained so it can be communicated to the relevant interested parties.


For the implementation of 14001, the organisation needs to consider its risk and opportunities and assess the aspects of its activities on the environment. From this analysis the scope of what it is targeting to achieve can be determined and objectives set that are realistic to bring about improvement in the performance. A further part of planning is to understand what obligations an organisation has relevant to the environment, this could be statutory or regulatory as well as other commitments including those that it has identified as part of the planning processes and those within its own policy commitments.

Implementation and Operation

Once an organisation has determined what it is looking to achieve, it needs to provide the resources, this includes defining roles and responsibilities in the management system as well as adopting operational controls including any in emergency and abnormal conditions and providing resources so intended outcomes can be achieved.

Checking and Corrective Action

As with all management systems that adopt a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach, assessment needs to be carried out to understand the level to which its objectives have been achieved. Part of this is auditing the system to see how requirements are effective and identify improvements. Monitoring and measures of the system allow evidence-based decisions to be made on focus and resourcing improvements in the environmental management system.

During the 1980s, SMMT, our parent company became increasingly involved in quality matters and in improving supply chain management in the Automotive industry. This culminated in the creation of IF with considerable support from the then Department for Trade and Industry. Its work has spread to other industries and its success is being replicated in other sectors of the economy.

SMMT Industry Forum uses its extensive expertise in improving the automotive manufacturing industry to help major, global cross-sector organisations understand, optimise and improve both manufacturing capability and business performance.

The course has been developed by experienced 3rd party auditors to provide the tools and techniques to plan, conduct, report and close out effective environmental audits.

Industry Forum has over 25 years experience in training auditors at all levels of the certification cycle including 3rd, 2nd and 1st party auditors, it utilises its understanding in the complexities of management systems to develop engaging courses to inform as well as build auditor competence and understanding in the requirements of management systems for effective audits.

As part of the SMMT Group, we are really proud that The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has been recognised as one of Britain’s best places to work after gaining Gold accreditation from Investors in People (IIP), the international benchmark for workplace standards and people management.

The Gold accolade, which is achieved by just 17% of organisations seeking IIP accreditation, was awarded to SMMT Group – including SMMT, Industry Forum and The Motor Ombudsman – for its ‘advanced’ levels of organisational leadership, with an emphasis on transparency, recognition, wellbeing and empowerment to encourage innovation and collaborative working.

SMMT was recognised for its progressive people-focused policies, including all-staff engagement in decision-making, investment in career development, creating a culture that recognises high performance, developing flexible working practices, establishing an extensive network of employee support groups, and striving to ensure the workplace is diverse and inclusive of all needs.

In addition, as part of SMMT’s remit to represent the UK automotive sector, the organisation was recognised for its committed to promoting workplace best practice across the wider industry. In 2022, under the auspices of the Automotive Council, it established the sector’s first ever Diversity Charter, and it continues to support businesses in the sector with their own development, with a DE&I Toolkit, specialist workshops and events.

Katie Milbourn, Director of SMMT Group HR, said, “Every one of us at SMMT is essential to the Group’s success, so we support and develop everyone’s talents to help each other – and the wider sector – continue to thrive. As the voice of the automotive industry in the UK, it’s our duty and mission to set the highest standards, and we strive to ensure our people, with their expertise, experience and dedication, realise their full potential and support our members.”

Tim Little, Practitioner, Investors in People, said, “Following the Investors in People programme is a journey SMMT started quite a few years ago, and the organisation’s drive, foresight and determination have kept it on the path to success and achieving Gold. SMMT has embraced IIP as a force for growth and put it at the heart of what it does. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with SMMT and watching its successes over the years.”

IIP Gold status builds on SMMT Group’s previous Bronze and Silver awards in 2015 and 2022, and reflects the organisation’s long-standing commitment to the highest standards of people management. Such an approach is essential not just to attract and retain the best talent but to enhance mental health and wellbeing in the workplace – particularly important given that stress, anxiety and depression accounted for more than half of all workplace-related illness in the UK last year.

Investors in People was founded by the UK government in 1991 and has since become a globally recognised certification of best practice for modern, high performing workplaces. The scheme requires an organisation to work closely with a practitioner to review its ‘people strategy’ – or its policies to attract, develop, retain, inspire and engage employees – as well as its long-term progress plan. The review also requires anonymous employee feedback on the organisation’s people strategy through surveys and interviews.

SMMT Industry Forum is active globally supporting automotive manufacturing, bringing best practices and expertise honed over decades to new and expanding markets. Our CEO Ashley Fernihough is currently on a Trade Mission in Ghana to support discussion on increasing new automotive trade in the country. We look forward to sharing his experience and thoughts on how global manufacturing can benefit from shared knowledge exchange.

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organisations across industries face growing complexities and challenges. The automotive industry operates in a highly regulated environment, requiring adherence to strict quality standards and ensuring compliance with industry-specific requirements. Implementing automotive audit practices can significantly contribute to the overall strength and resilience of an organisation. In this blog, Commercial Manager, Max Coller will explore the advantages of using automotive audit practices and how they can help strengthen your organisation.

Enhanced Quality Management:
Automotive audit practices provide a systematic approach to assess and improve the quality management systems within your organisation. By conducting regular audits, you can identify areas that require improvement, detect potential risks, and address non-conformities. This proactive approach enables you to continually enhance your processes, reduce defects, and deliver products or services that consistently meet or exceed customer expectations.

Continuous Improvement:
One of the core principles of automotive audit practices is the pursuit of continuous improvement. By conducting audits at regular intervals, you create a culture of learning and refinement within your organisation. Audits provide valuable insights into process inefficiencies, gaps in training or resources, and areas where innovation can be applied. By implementing the necessary corrective actions identified during audits, you can drive continuous improvement, foster a culture of excellence, and stay ahead in a competitive market.

Compliance with Industry Standards:
The automotive industry is subject to numerous regulatory requirements and quality standards, such as IATF 16949. Implementing automotive audit practices ensures that your organisation complies with these standards, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties, legal issues, or loss of business opportunities. Audits help you maintain a robust framework for managing documentation, records, and processes, aligning your organisation with industry best practices.

Supply Chain Management:
The automotive industry relies heavily on complex supply chains, where numerous components and subsystems come together to build a final product. Automotive audit practices enable you to assess the performance and reliability of your suppliers. Conducting supplier audits helps you evaluate their quality management systems, manufacturing capabilities, and compliance with relevant standards. By strengthening your supply chain through audits, you can reduce the risk of supply disruptions, improve overall product quality, and build stronger relationships with reliable suppliers.

Risk Identification and Mitigation:
Organisations face various risks, both internal and external, that can impact their operations, reputation, and financial stability. Automotive audit practices assist in identifying and mitigating these risks effectively. Through systematic audits, you can evaluate potential risks, in production and non-production systems alike, such as bottlenecks, inadequate process controls, or cybersecurity vulnerabilities. By addressing these risks proactively, you can reduce downtime, enhance operational efficiency, and protect sensitive data, ensuring a secure environment for your organisation.

Implementing automotive audit practices offers numerous advantages that strengthen your organisation’s operations, reputation, and overall performance. From enhancing quality management and ensuring compliance with industry standards to managing supply chain risks and driving continuous improvement, audits provide a systematic and proactive approach to identify and address areas of improvement. By leveraging the benefits of automotive audit practices, you can enhance your organisation’s resilience, efficiency, and ability to deliver superior products or services in the dynamic automotive industry.

For more information on how we can help you with preparing for audit, carrying it out and addressing any issues that arise from it, contact us on 0121 717 6600 or email [email protected]
Max Coller

The automotive industry is contributing significantly to employment and export revenues in the UK economy. Global competition and technology advancements are a threat to the UK automotive market, and have evolved exponentially, especially after Covid and Brexit.

It’s imperative then, that automotive manufacturers seek innovative strategies to improve productivity, efficiency, and overall performance. One such approach gaining momentum is the adoption of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of TPM in the UK automotive sector and explore its benefits.

Empowering the Workforce:

TPM is not just about equipment maintenance, it also focuses on developing people and appreciating their value. It is the workforce that maintain and improve the machines, equipment, and systems, and especially with Industry 4.0, without the workforce having the right skills to analyse, troubleshoot and intervene at the right time, the situation could be catastrophic.

TPM emphasises developing a culture of continuous improvement involving the entire workforce through engaging employees at all levels to foster a sense of ownership, responsibility, and empowerment.

Enhancing Equipment Reliability:

The UK automotive sector relies heavily on sophisticated machinery and equipment to meet the production demands of an increasingly competitive market. TPM not only focuses on equipment reliability through proactive maintenance practices, but also looks into ease of maintenance, ideally maintenance free. This leads to enhanced manufacturing processes, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.

Enforcing in Quality and Safety

In the automotive sector, maintaining high standards of quality and safety is paramount. Striving for zero-defects and zero accidents are the way forward. People and Equipment are the biggest asset within the business to enforce the dynamic of quality and safety. TPM worked with the asset within the business to aim for zero losses as a result.

Hence, TPM can revolutionise the way automotive organisations operate. Embracing TPM principles will not only drive efficiency, productivity, and profitability but also pave the way for sustainable growth and success in the dynamic automotive industry.

TPM Origins

TPM was developed by the Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance in 1971 and has been continually refined since.

Our partnership with JIPM

TPM originated from the Japanese Institute of Plant Maintenance (JIPM). SMMT Industry Forum is 1 of 4 certified TPM consultancies globally, and the only one in the UK awarded by JIPM to provide TPM related training and consultancy.

We pride ourselves on our ‘Learn by Doing’ approach, which enables your organisation to benefit from the implementation as well as develop people through ongoing coaching and consultancy.

For more information on how we can help you and your organisation, contact us on 0121 717 6600 or email [email protected].

We’ve come so far…but there’s still a long way to go.

At SMMT Industry Forum, we are in the unique position of having a Senior Management Team (SMT) that is made up of 3 females and 2 males – a definite diversion from the norm, where in 2022 the CMI (Chartered Institute of Managers) found that fewer than half of management roles in the UK (41%) were filled by women – despite the fact that women make up half of the population and workforce.

Laura Baker, our HR & Talent Management Specialist is one of those women on the SMT. To mark IWD’s 2023 Laura took part in a Q&A discussing her early career, her hopes for the future, and how we can work together to ensure that we achieve true equality for all.

As an HR Professional what do you see as the main barriers for women who want to progress in their careers?

More often than not, I see women who would happily stay at their current company, but unfortunately the chances for them to progress are not there. It was the same for me – when I started out, I worked for a very traditional company – all the main players were men, and the office was pretty much split between the ‘important’ people who had nice offices and better space and the admin/HR functions – who tended to be made up of women, in the smaller part of the office with the dodgy printer and bad lighting! It became clear that if I wanted to move up the ladder, then that company wasn’t the place for me.

Whilst we’ve seen improvements in this area, sadly, especially for women who’ve taken a career break to have children, I see that all too often, applicants are moving simply because the organisations they currently are working for, just don’t have the bandwidth for them to move up and keep pace with their male colleagues.

Picking up on your point re career breaks, how do you think society could improve on the way we deal with parental responsibilities?

I think that paternity leave is a great start, but there’s so much more we could do. Families/parents are no longer just a Mum & Dad – we have all manner of combinations, so why can’t the family decide between them who is best placed to take either all or part of maternity leave entitlement? We’re also sending mixed messages – there’s so much now on early years development and how important it is for Dads especially to spend time with their kids, but by only giving 2 weeks paternity pay we’re signalling that it’s not really important for men to spend a prolonged period of time with their kids when they are born – which just isn’t true! There’s tons of research out there that says if men had the opportunity to take extended time then they would.

We also need to do something about the prohibitive cost of childcare. The UK childcare system is the world’s second most expensive – Cyprus is the first. According to research published in March 2022 by Mumsnet and campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed, 43% of mothers have said soaring childcare costs have made them consider leaving their jobs, while 40 per cent say they have had to work fewer hours than they would like to for the same reason. Not only does this disadvantage women but it has a massive effect on GDP – all of those experienced women leaving the workforce will be a real problem in the not-too-distant future, so the Government really need to listen to campaigners and look at solutions.

Given that we are seeing a greater number of women leaving the workforce due to childcare pressures, what would you as HR/Talent Management like to see for people?

At the moment, we’re in a sort of halfway house – post pandemic we have hybrid working, which sounds great, but some of the policies can be restrictive and actually hinder people rather than helping.

I’d like to see true autonomy given to people – whatever the make-up of a family, I would like for them to be able to organise their workloads/caring responsibilities in a way that of course works for business, but crucially works for them too.

We’ve seen some introduction of this from some of the larger UK organisations, with work anywhere anytime policies, but very little from mid-size organisations. I think there’s a real chance for mid-sized organisations to lead on this and start to shift a little and introduce policies that move towards autonomy for everyone.

Things are quite scary in the wider world at the moment, and in the US especially it seems that women’s rights have rowed back significantly – do you still have hope for the future and the next generation?

I do! The world definitely can be a scary place, but what I see from the young men and women who are starting to make their way up is far more openness and awareness of each other – things like mental health awareness, self-awareness, the focus on DEI, all of the things that ten years ago you’d struggle to get people to take seriously is now the norm, so while there are groups who try to destabilise, and while they might succeed in some of their aims in the short term, I genuinely believe that the next generation have an outlook and expectation of the world that is far more open. I have a young daughter, and already the way she and her friends interact and communicate is so different from when I was a kid that it gives me enormous hope for the future.

Published: May 2021

Why it’s time to problem-solve problem-solving, urges Adam Woodward, Principal Engineer – Automotive Management Systems at SMMT QMD.

Any wholesale transition to a new set of rules and requirements takes time to bed in. Who can believe that we are now four years into the IATF 16949 quality management standard?

At this stage, many companies are navigating their way through the first re-certification cycle, an in-depth assessment covering all of the IATF 16949 requirements ideally in person, Covid restrictions permitting – following surveillance audits during the first two years. If successful, a new IATF 16949 certificate is issued with a three year duration.

To help automotive manufacturers remain compliant, SMMT QMD periodically releases data on nonconformities, the latest publication showing the most common major and minor nonconformities raised globally over the past 12 months.


A problem of problem-solving? 

The past 12 months saw a range of nonconformities highlighted. They include contingency planning, total productive maintenance, customer satisfaction, manufacturing process design output, control planning, and monitoring and measurement of manufacturing processes, among others.

Standing out above the rest, and by a considerable margin however, are ‘nonconformity management and corrective action’ and ‘problem-solving’. These numbers include those minor nonconformities that have been escalated to major as a result of ineffective onsite verification. This escalation requirement also demands the issuance of a new major nonconformity against nonconformity and corrective action.

Why is this such a serious issue? The simple answer is that major nonconformities will result in the automatic suspension of an organisation’s IATF 16949 certification. It also suggests a major risk to the customer, jeopardising the organisation’s ability to be effective at what it does, and potentially, to develop new business. That’s something no manufacturer needs, especially now.

As a reminder, here is what the IATF is looking for – specifically, a documented process for problem solving that prevents recurrence:

  1. Defined approaches for various types and scale of problems.
  2. Containment, interim actions and related activities necessary for control of nonconforming outputs.
  3. Root cause analysis – methodology used, analysis and results.
  4. Implementation of systemic corrective actions, including consideration of their impact on similar processes and products.
  5. Verification of the effectiveness of implemented corrective actions.
  6. Reviewing and updating appropriate documentation.

This needs to be evidenced to IATF auditors, beyond the presentation of such documents – examples of the various processes being used to solve real-world problems are required.

We see a common theme linked to manufacturers being able to show that they understand what the problem is in the first place. Have they taken sufficient time to understand the problem before diving in with solutions?

It is important to maintain a structured approach to find the root cause, rather than just adopting a sticking plaster approach.

Here, culture and messaging from the top is crucial. Managers need to consider whether they are providing their employees with the skills required to problem solve effectively and, critically, allowing them the time to invest in it properly.

There is also something to be said around the type of problem being faced. For example, customer product complaints create a sense of alarm and an urge for immediate action for the organisation, whereas supplier problems, internal audit findings, internal concerns may not be met with the same level of response urgency – this could lead to inconsistencies. Inconsistencies are red flags in the IATF audit process.


How to master problem solving and maintain an effective quality management system

There are plenty of steps your organisation can take to enhance its problem-solving capabilities, in support of the IATF goals.

SMMT QMD and Industry Forum offer a problem solving for IATF 16949 course to help companies prepare themselves to meet the requirements of the standard. It’s a practical approach to problem-solving that focuses on empowering employees with the knowledge of how to address issues.

There are also many known and well-recognised approaches to problem-solving that can help get manufacturers where they need to be.

We offer specialist training, which is specifically aimed at the IATF 16949 context, helping firms to ensure they are ready to meet the requirements of the standard.

We also run courses that support other recurring IATF 16949 nonconformities:

APQP and PPAP Essentials

Statistical Process Control (SPC) Training

Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA) Training

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) for IATF 16949

We want to be as practical and hands-on as possible. Because we see the same themes pop up in relation to nonconformities, our courses are designed to empower your employees with the knowledge they need to apply it decisively in the workplace. This, coupled with our other core tools, will help make your organisation not only compliant, but also more efficient and better-managed.

Problem-solving is a critical component of any successful business, and perhaps something we take for granted in the automotive supply chain world. The aerospace sector has already developed its own industry-wide problem solving standard in the form of AS13000 – this, we believe, could be a sound example to follow in the future.

Given the recurring prominence of problem solving in the non-conformance data released by the SMMT QMD, we would like to understand more about your experience with relation to the discipline. Please complete this short survey. We will publish the findings in our next blog.

Following the national lockdown announcement earlier this week, IF would like to assure its customers that:

  • IF remains open and available to support you through the challenges faced; the team can be contacted via the website or on 0121 717 6600, our standard operating hours are 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • IF will continue to provide training and support remotely, via the highest quality technology solutions
  • As always, the safety of our customers and team is of utmost importance. Therefore, IF continues to provide face to face provision when remote activity is not feasible, work cannot be postponed and only when strict COVID safety measures can be met

Continuity of service and providing the highest quality support when, and how you need it remains IF’s number one priority. Rest assured that the benefit of our experience means that IF is extremely well placed to deal with and support you through the challenges another lockdown brings businesses such as yours. Since March 2020, we have run a successful programme of virtual and remote assessments, consultancy and training services, with outstanding results.

Overview of support IF provides:

  • eLearning and Virtual training including; TPM, QRM, Six Sigma, Leadership, Supply Chain Management and much more
  • Crisis control and contingency planning
  • Urgent provision of resource on customer focused activities
  • Management coaching, mentoring and 1-2-1 support
  • HR consultancy, planning and implementation support services
  • Absence and furlough management
  • Urgent and immediate support for quality and demand challenges
  • Tailored Supplier Development Assessments to ensure your Supply Chain will meet your challenging and rapidly evolving requirements
  • Current state mapping, line balancing and support with adjusting to new volumes

What our customers say:

The participants really enjoyed the live, online Six Sigma course. The new format allowed us to mix participants from various regions (Europe & APAC) without any travel cost. The trainer was great and highly engaged. The course was the right mix of theory and practical exercises. Lots of the things we learned can be applied to improve our processes. Thank you, IF, for giving us the opportunity to continue developing our skills in project management & data analysis during this Covid-19 period which prevented face to face training sessions.

Véronique Tétaz, Group Continuous Improvement Vice President, Imerys

Contact us for more information about how we can support you.

Authored by: Beth Osborne MCIM CMktr, SMMT Industry Forum’s General Manager – Marketing and CX

Beth has held a number of senior strategic roles within a variety of technical industries and sectors. Beth is both a Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Digital Marketing Institute graduate, holding two professional diplomas in marketing as well as maintaining the highly revered chartered marketer status since 2014. At Industry Forum, Beth heads up the external communications function, overseeing the effective planning and implementation of all marketing communications, as well as holding overall accountability for the Sales and Marketing Intelligence and reporting function.

A recent survey, carried out by The Open University, found that half of all UK roles have been affected by the pandemic and that a change in skillset may be required for as many as five million employees. As such, a quarter of the UK workforce is taking part in online training to boost their employability.

In response to this, we have launched both virtual, instructor lead, courses as well as a range of self-directed, introductory ‘e-Learning’ modules, in order to provide a flexible approach to learning, as well as full certification. By investing heavily in the highest quality platforms, we can ensure that we continue to deliver relevant, world-class training across every manufacturing discipline, providing delegates with the same top-quality training that we also provide in person.

Our e-Learning programs consist of a number self-directed, bite-sized modules, providing key, basic information, and are an ideal starting point for employees with little, or no existing knowledge in the subject area, and who want a flexible approach to training. For those with more experience, virtual training is instructor-led and provides a similar experience to face-to-face courses, while reducing the effort and cost of learning for the employer.

Manufacturing employees are able to attend full courses in one session or pick and choose courses and modules, in quality and auditing, maintenance, team leadership, supply chain, new product introduction and project management, based on their specific needs and desired level of certification. Importantly, the courses we’re offering include training to support the latest government-funded NMCL supply chain support programme.

The following courses are suitable for any sector of manufacturing. Details regarding a number of Automotive and Aerospace specific courses can be found via

Virtual, instructor-led courses:

  • Core Tools Certification Training (APQP, FMEA, SPC, MSA and PPAP)
  • Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) Training
  • Sigma Yellow Belt Training
  • Six Sigma Green Belt Training
  • Team Leader Essentials Training
  • New Product Introduction Web Briefing
  • New Product Introduction Essentials Training
  • NPI Project Management Essentials Training
  • Inventory Management Essentials
  • Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) Essentials
  • Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) Essentials

 ‘E-learning’, self-directed online modules:

  • APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation & Distribution (CLTD)