New initiative unveiled to boost UK automotive manufacturing

12 April 2019

12 April 2019

The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced its National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) programme as the mechanism to deliver the Government’s national supplier competitiveness and productivity improvement initiative.

NMCL is designed to improve competitiveness, raise workforce capacity and increase the productivity of UK manufacturers, thereby boosting the nation’s exports and economic growth. The programme will allow the department to achieve its ambitions outlined in its Industrial Strategy, and Automotive and Aerospace Sector Deals. 

Led and match-funded by industry, and with the backing of 25 of the UK’s largest manufacturers, NMCL has been jointly developed by the automotive and aerospace sectors for application across all areas of manufacturing. 
NMCL Automotive, delivered by the SMMT, is the programme for the automotive sector and will make use of the £16 million (€18.5 million) of government funding to develop sustainable and internationally competitive UK supply chains. The new NMCL approach has already been successfully piloted by companies in the North West of England.

NMCL is designed to help manufacturers of all sizes and stages of development understand how competitive they currently are and develop the specific business capabilities they need to boost their performance. The programme includes an in-depth competitiveness assessment based on company capabilities and the views of key customers. This data is then applied to investment decisions across six areas of competitiveness; quality, cost, delivery, flexibility, products/technology and customer experience. Projects are tailor-made for each manufacturer and focus on boosting competitiveness, increasing ′value-add’ and winning more orders. 
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ′This announcement is a shot in the arm for the UK’s automotive industry in general and the supply chain in particular. NMCL is a central part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy and the sector deal for the industry, offering a proven way for a business to achieve competitiveness. Coming at a time of considerable upheaval, it is important that all manufacturers are alert to the technological, market and trading changes that are occurring and take the right steps to ensure they are not just viable but globally successful in the future.’

The news is a welcome respite for smaller manufacturers struggling with the political and economic upheaval caused by ongoing Brexit uncertainty. It will help to boost those who apply via the NMCL website with extra competitiveness and understanding of their capabilities in new markets.
NMCL projects will typically last from six months for smaller initiatives to up to three years for entire business transformations. NMCL’s approach is also applicable to other manufacturing sectors such as rail and defence.