Major event helps West Midlands’ manufacturers tap into aero and defence opportunities

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Major event set to help West Midlands’ manufacturers tap into aero and defence opportunities
Manufacturers looking to break into the aerospace and defence were given a unique insight into what it takes to sell into the sector this month.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands (MAS-WM) event, held at Wolverhampton Science Park on July 15th, gave companies unique access to some of the industry’s key Primes and Tier 1 organisations and an insight into the business support available through Supply Chains in the 21st Century (SC21).

Keynote speakers from the MoD and Aero Engine Controls gave details of what is expected of suppliers, current trends and future opportunities, including single aisle aircraft and advancements in composite materials.

There was also be an opportunity to hear from existing suppliers to the sector, including CHH CoNeX, G&O Springs and Abbey Metal Finishing Company.

Peter Jones, SC21 Project Manager, said:

“Aerospace and defence has stayed pretty strong through the global recession and we’re now looking at a host of new model introductions, with a focus on narrow body jets and the launch of the Dreamliner that utilises a host of new composite material technology.

“Over 45,000 people are employed in the Midlands and our region – with major clusters in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton - accounts for 25% of the £20bn-strong UK industry.”
He continued: “We’ve got all of the skills, the proven track record in powering and controlling aircrafts and, thanks to partnerships with world-leading academic bases, the innovation and new technology needed to head off threats from the emerging Chinese and Indian superpowers."

SC21 World Class Supply Chains also featured high on the agenda, with an Advantage West Midlands and ERDF-backed support package still available and offering local companies up to £20,000 in grants.

The programme focuses on development and commitment to innovation in the supply chain, relationship building with customers and quality improvement by working towards industry accreditations, such as AS/EN9100 and Nadcap.

Once a commitment has been made to participate, an experienced adviser will arrange for a series of business diagnostics to be carried out within the company, before a sector specialist from Industry Forum, TEC or TPT will be introduced to help them move along the SC21 journey.

“We’ve already assisted more than 200 businesses and this is helping the West Midlands’ supply chain achieve world class manufacturing performance and, importantly, put it in a perfect position to win future work,” explained Peter,
“It is more than just a “badge”, it is a way of working, a culture and if implemented successfully will help safeguard and create hundreds of jobs in our region.”