The future aerospace

Martin WrightShaping our supply chain for the future

As I write, the NWAA has just secured funding for the next stage of its world-class Aerospace Supply Chain Excellence programme, or ASCE2.

In total, £7.1 million has been made available to us to deliver ASCE2 – £3.6 million from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and £3.5 million from the Northwest European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This is an exciting time for us, and an unparalleled opportunity to build on the success of ASCE1, which was the first coordinated approach to supplier development in the UK aerospace sector.

We believe ASCE has had lasting, measurable effects on the way the aerospace cluster operates in the region. It has demonstrated that by supporting the supply chain’s individual companies we can change attitudes.

ASCE itself is based on robust and proven process to develop and improve supply chain companies, and to put it simply, aims to: assist in the restructuring and strengthening of the supply chain; enhance suppliers’ abilities to strategically position themselves in the industry in a way which meets the needs of the Primes (such as BAE Systems and Rolls Royce); and promote culture change all the way through from the company’s leadership down.

ASCE2 will build on this, to develop the North West aerospace supply chain into a world class cluster of SMEs capable of competing globally. To do this we will develop a closely integrated cluster with a common vision, values and goals.

This will be achieved by driving forward five priorities: skills provision, innovation, shared services, commodity groups and the extended enterprise. It is expected to help the North West aerospace supply chain compete in a global industry, which will help in winning valuable contracts with prime manufacturers. How we measure its success will be simple – the long term survival and improved financial performance of the sector will be proof enough.

Aerospace is a key priority sector for the North West, contributing £3.6 billion to Gross Value Added (GVA), or contribution to the economy of the sector. Two in every five aerospace jobs in the UK are located in the North West and these jobs are very high value – GVA per employee stands at £74,000, almost five times the regional average of £15,000.

The NWAA is proud to be leading the way and shaping the future of the aerospace sector nationally and internationally.

Martin Wright, chief executive, Northwest Aerospace Alliance.