Covering the costs of improving supply

Posted on 22 Jun 2009 by The Manufacturer

The Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) is urging aerospace and defence companies to move quickly to access a £100m funding pot that is now available to improve their supply chain performance.

The funding is available from the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies (Semta) to companies implementing the Supply Chains for the Twenty First Century (SC21) programme – an aerospace and defence sector programme overseen by the SBAC to drive improvements in the industry’s supply chains.

The SC21 programme is a collaborative scheme through which it is hoped British aerospace supply chains will be protected and can prosper. Signatories to the scheme agree to certain best practice measures like recognising particular accreditation and ensuring costs are minimal for suppliers as well as themselves.

As part of the continuous improvement aspect of the development of the programme, a revision has been made to the “Self-Start” process – the procedure a company takes when it funds and orchestrates its own involvement in SC21, rather than being sponsored by a larger member of their supply chain. The scheme is free to join but firms must be compliant with certain values that it dictates. Making the necessary changes can take up man hours and other resources but firms can look to cover these costs by applying for this new line of funding.

“This is an excellent result for aerospace and defence companies and represents a good combination of the SC21 team, Semta and the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing,” said Andy Leather, SBAC director responsible for SC21.

“The proposed scheme fully utilises the SC21 processes and toolkit that companies are already familiar with. It embraces a revised focus on in-company training that is fundamentally the right way to embed improvement which will lead to success for our industry in the UK through supply chains that perform to their optimum.”

The money is being made available to Semta’s other industries as well though, examples of which include automotive, marine and electrical. “Aerospace and defence companies need to move quickly,” warned Leather. “Other sectors, such as automotive, are already accessing the fund.”

A pilot programme of the SC21 with the revisions in place is already running with Kembrey Wiring Systems and initial results are “extremely positive,” according to the SBAC man.

“We now need to fully review the processes,” he said, “as well as brief and work with the regions to re-emphasise that SC21 is a national strategy that is executed regionally for maximum positive effect.”

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