Showing initiative

Posted on 23 May 2014 by The Manufacturer

What is Sharing in Growth doing for the UK's aerospace SMEs and how could the scheme benefit other sectors? The initative's CEO explains to TM.

What is SIG?

Sharing in Growth (SIG) is a growth acceleration initiative funded by Government and sponsored by Rolls-Royce.

The £110M programme will deliver support to approximately 40 high performing companies in the UK aerospace sector over the next five years.

Thirty companies are now engaged in the programme but SIG is still calling for more applications from interested parties – in part to fill remaining places and also to help prove appetite for further rounds of the funding.

SIG is designed to increase the UK’s market share of the global aerospace industry and close gaps in the supply chain’s competitiveness.

It provides holistic support to selected companies, making available best in class training and development for all employees from shop floor to senior management. Training requirements are selected during a rigorous diagnostic phase which aligns company strategy with key technical, process and management capability gaps.

The scheme is available to UK facilities that manufacture for the Aerospace Sector.  It is not necessary to be a Rolls-Royce supplier to benefit from the scheme.

Read Jane Gray’s recent article ‘Growth SIGnal’ to learn more about the initiative or visit

How will the success of SIG be measured and what results are you already seeing?

Essentially our success will be measured in term of contracts won or retained by the companies we work with.

We have an analysis from BIS that shows the equivalent number of jobs these contracts equate to for the UK – both measures provide different views on the health of the British economy.

The first six companies have gone through the diagnostic phase and have entered the ‘heavy lifting’ phase of improvement and training.

The earliest results we see with beneficiaries are to do with fired up enthusiasm, particularly within company leadership. This comes from identifying a goal and a pathway to achieving it – so there is real belief that they can do something about their ambitions and challenges.

Rolls-Royce sponsors  SIG with expertise and leadership – but SIG is not only for Rolls-Royce suppliers. What is Rolls-Royce’s day to day input into the programme?

Rolls-Royce has allocated a number of people to work on SIG – around 19. Most of those people are experts in lean manufacturing. There are also some leadership positions occupied by Rolls-Royce people – including myself.

What Rolls-Royce can also provide for SIG is access to global benchmark data and the knowledge of what is needed to bridge the competitive gap in order to succeed in a global scale. We can bring access to the organisational tools for global competitiveness that we take for granted and make them available to the benefitting companies.

Is there a point at which failure to improve under SIG’s guidance will result in a company being struck from the programme?

There has to be an element of tension between us as custodians of public money and the beneficiaries.

We must make sure that an objective is being met and that it is bringing benefit to the UK economy. So, as we go through the individual improvement metrics for each beneficiary we will be making an analysis as to whether we are still making good use of public money as well as bringing value to the beneficiary.

There’s a sort of ‘pre-nup’ on meeting this requirement.

Will the SIG approach be extended to help more aerospace companies, or to help other sectors?

Within the context of the Aerospace Growth Partnership there is a lot of interest to see if we can do more with [SIG].

We need to start by understanding the compelling need. What is the business case for delivering a wider SIG-like scheme? –  I am sure there is one. Everyone is convinced that there is a lot more that can be done to make the aerospace supply chain more globally competitive.

We have an existing ‘parallel’ programme for the civil nuclear sector. This is also called Sharing in Growth and is fronted by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre – but the operating team is co-located.

This model is applicable across Hugh Value Manufacturing, wherever and whatever that is – many of the delivery partners have made this model work in service sectors. But we have a real sweet spot with High Value Manufacturing. We can make a real difference.

How dies SIG fit with other Aerospace sector support initiatives?

I’d love to say there is now a tapestry of perfectly interwoven initiatives which someone from industry can easily route march their way through.

In reality I don’t think it will ever be quite that easy. All these initiatives are set up with a slightly different perspective and each is trying to do something very valuable.

Sharing in Growth tries to take a step back from this network of schemes and look at how we can deliver holistic support for a particular company.

I know it is important to understand what all the different links are between initiatives, to ensure public money is being spent for the best effect. The beneficiary needs to focus on the key activities that will help to move their businesses forward, and that is what we focus on delivering.

Fig 1: SIG delivery partners.
Fig 1: SIG delivery partners.

Is it necessary to have an SC21 award in order to be considered for SIG support?

No – it couldn’t be. Although SC21 has done a lot of fantastic work, it is still only a relatively small proportion of the aerospace supply chain which holds an award from the scheme. So we can’t assume that those companies that don’t have it are not high performers or are not worthy of our support.

The key thing for SIG is that a company shows; ambition, aspiration to grow in size and competitiveness. Where they start from is a secondary consideration. We’ll put a programme together which leads to where they want to get to. It’s that target that really matters.

SIG has a range of delivery partners – how were they brought together?

There was a process of public procurement. Bids were submitted via the standard OJEU system. We’re actually looking for two more partners at the moment – one to help us deliver more support around dealing with export controls and one to help us deliver some very specific training for leadership in a lean environment.

SIG’s delivery partners are detailed in Fig 1.

For more information go to