More than half of manufacturers taking part in the Nuclear AMRC's ‘Fit For Nuclear’ programme is confident of winning new nuclear work this year, a new survey has found.
The latest survey of companies which are currently progressing through ‘Fit For Nuclear’ (F4N), or are already granted, shows that most are confident of winning new business and have seen real benefits from the programme.
In all, 89% of participating companies would recommend F4N to other manufacturers.
F4N is a unique service which lets manufacturers measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and helps them take the necessary steps to close any gaps.
F4N is delivered exclusively by the Nuclear AMRC and supported by top-tier partners in nuclear new build and decommissioning.
More than 680 UK manufacturers have now taken the initial F4N online assessment, with most receiving ongoing support from the Nuclear AMRC’s industrial advisors and nuclear specialists. Completing the programme requires commitment and drive from senior managers, and typically takes 12–18 months.
Almost all of the 116 companies who responded to the survey are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with more than half still working towards being granted F4N.
Around a third of respondents said it was too soon to report demonstrable benefits. Of the others, more than 60% reported improvements in HSEQ measures, and more than half reported increased confidence and greater awareness of the nuclear market.
Despite divided views on the general economic climate for manufacturing, more than 90% expect their turnover to grow in the next year, with 57% confident of winning new work in nuclear.
Many have already secured new nuclear orders, and others say that the F4N process has helped them win work in other sectors. However, new entrants to the nuclear supply chain say they face significant obstacles to winning work – 64% of respondents said that connecting with potential buyers was one of the biggest challenges, and 54% said they lacked awareness of opportunities.
The survey results will be used in the continuing development of the F4N service to provide additional value to manufacturers. The programme was expanded in late 2017, with additional post-granting support to help companies maintain their journey of business excellence.
The new F4N Connect online searchable directory of granted companies was launched in December, with five companies saying they have already received enquiries from it.
Ian Williams, the Nuclear AMRC’s recently appointed head of supply chain development, said: “While we are pleased with the progress that has been made, we recognise the ongoing challenges that our F4N community face, and we welcome all constructive feedback.
“F4N companies continue to report a lack of real commercial opportunities to break into the nuclear sector, or to develop relationships within the nuclear supply chain.
“We are working hard to address these concerns and are developing new capabilities in nuclear sector demand modelling to map out commercial opportunities, and how UK companies can align their planning and strategies to best position their offering.”