April 10, 2019 News New government-backed programme to improve UK manufacturing competitiveness and productivity is open for business; new “NMCL” approach has been successfully piloted by companies in the North West of England. Birmingham – 9/4/19 – A £16 million programme to help make the UK’s advanced automotive manufacturing supply chain more competitive was launched by Business Secretary, Greg Clark, last week (April 5th 2019). SMMT Industry Forum – the organisation set up by the UK government, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and vehicle manufacturers to improve the competitiveness of the UK’s automotive supply chain – is to play an important role in the new initiative. The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) programme, is funded by the government as part of its Industrial Strategy, and Automotive Sector Deal, and has been jointly developed by the automotive and aerospace sectors. It aims to assess and improve competitiveness, raise workforce capacity and increase productivity of all types of UK manufacturers. Along with other national providers SMMT Industry Forum will support the programme by helping companies understand how they can develop their business to become more competitive and win more orders. SMMT Industry Forum already has a successful track record in this area, including improvement delivery in the government-funded Long Term Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness (LTASC) programmes which created and safeguarded jobs, trained people and leveraged £41m private investment. It has also been involved in piloting the new NMCL model in the North West of England. “What NMCL brings to the forefront is a set of criteria to benchmark against,” says Andrew Simms, managing director of Unilathe Ltd, a manufacturer of machined and fabricated components for the aerospace and automotive sectors that has participated in the NMCL programme as a test case. “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.” Dr Chris Owen, Chief Executive of SMMT Industry Forum, commented, “We’re delighted that NMCL has now 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 more than 170 companies achieve their potential.” NMCL is designed to help manufacturers of all sizes and stages of development understand how competitive they currently are and develop the specific business capabilities they need to boost their performance. The programme includes an in-depth competitiveness assessment based on company capabilities and the views of key customers. This data is then applied to investment decisions across six areas of competitiveness; quality, cost, delivery, flexibility, products/technology and customer experience. 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. Organisations can register their interest to take part in the NMCL programme by completing by completing a short questionnaire on the NMCL website. Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced the selection of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) programme as the mechanism to deliver the government’s national supplier competitiveness and productivity improvement initiative, as outlined in the government’s Industrial Strategy. The NMCL project team at Unilathe. The NMCL project team at Unilathe. Dr Chris Owen, chief executive of SMMT Industry Forum, commented, “We’re delighted that NMCL has now been endorsed by government in this way.” Stoke-on-Trent-based Unilathe, which is a supplier to both the aerospace and the automotive industry has taken part in an NMCL pilot programme.