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NWAA pioneers major aerospace mentoring project

More than 20 top managers from the UK's leading names in aerospace are to 'mentor' smaller companies in a groundbreaking programme to develop and sustain a world competitive supply chain in England's North West.

The initiative launched by the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) is the only one of its type in the country and has the backing of BAE Systems, Airbus UK and Rolls-Royce plc.

The new project has been launched as a core element of the NWAA's Supply Chain Excellence Programme and will provide companies that make up the supply chain with the benefit of hands-on support from top aerospace managers.

Speaking from Farnborough International Airshow Martin Wright, NWAA Executive Director: "This is a unique programme within the UK aerospace industry and the fact that such major players are buying into it on such a scale is very encouraging.

"It will be central to our Supply Chain Excellence Programme, giving companies within the supply chain a focused approach to continuous improvement and development."

The mentors will take part in the NWAA's regular Supply Chain Workshops as well as working within participating companies for two days each month.

David Bailey, Executive Director – NWAA SCE Programme, commented "The quality of the mentors supplied by the three Primes is very impressive. The mentors are senior operational managers, typically with 20 years manufacturing experience, responsible within their own organisations for 400 people and commensurate budgets. They understand the issues facing suppliers because they have faced those same issues themselves during their careers."

The mentors will support businesses under the NWAA banner. Areas of business that will be focused on as part of the programme include leadership, strategic planning, skills, project management and effective buying policies.

Mentoring will commence in August and, if successful, the project is being designed to be 'transportable' to other UK regions heavily reliant on aerospace and defence for income and jobs.

Adds Martin Wright: "A lot of hard work has gone into establishing processes that enable companies to define where they are in the supply chain, what they should be making, how they can sustain competitiveness within their business and how they might develop themselves within a world-competitive supply chain."

Neil McKay of BAE Systems commented: "This is the first time we have provided operational mangers from BAE Systems to work in partnership with managing directors and companies within the supply chain.

"This gives us real confidence that we can move forward with the Supply Chain Excellence Programme and we are very optimistic that we can put companies in the North West on the map in terms of world class excellence."

Meanwhile Chris Morris, General Manager for Operations-Compression Systems at Rolls-Royce plc, said it was important to the company's five facilities in the north to build and maintain a robust supply chain.

He added: ""Rolls-Royce are very pleased to be able to support this initiative in partnership with the NWAA and the other two regional primes.

"We believe that this project will compliment the work Rolls-Royce already does within the supply chain and will help to drive the pace of positive change within the regional aerospace industry.

Rolls-Royce wishes to support the development of potential supply chain partners who will be critical to our future success and that of our customers".

Mark Hughes, Executive Director of Enterprise, Innovation and Skills at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), which supports the NWAA, said:

"The aerospace sector is of key strategic importance to the Northwest and the UK as a whole, with a turnover of nearly £7 billion per annum, accounting for a third of the UK's turnover in this sector. In order to promote the sector's growth, it is vital that we continue to facilitate improvements in the aerospace supply chain through increasing the competitiveness and productivity of supply chain companies. I am pleased that representatives from such a large number of leading aerospace organisations are coming together to mentor supply chain companies in this groundbreaking scheme, which I am sure will help to strengthen the region's position as a leading centre of excellence for the aerospace industry."

Press release issued by North West Aerospace Alliance on July 27, 2006


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