Grant aids supply-chain improvement

Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has announced an investment of £1m to support companies that wish to participate in the World Class Supply Chain programme (SC21).

Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has announced an investment of £1m to support companies that wish to participate in the World Class Supply Chain programme (SC21).



SC21 is open to all suppliers operating in the aerospace and defence sectors and is funded by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund. With the new investment, companies involved in the scheme could receive grants of up to £20,000.


G&O Springs, a Redditch-based spring manufacturer, has received a recognition award within the SC21 scheme at a recent conference for aerospace and defence suppliers for its cost reductions, on-time delivery and improvements in quality.



Pauline Pinney, aerospace cluster manager at Advantage West Midlands, said: ‘Our aerospace and defence sectors include more than 480 companies dedicated to supporting these industries, employing 20,000 people and generating an annual turnover of £3bn.


‘SC21 is recognised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and all 16 of the UK aerospace and defence primes so it is an important industry programme for our companies to be working within and securing recognition.’


Cliff Johnson of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the group operating the scheme, added: ‘We have already committed almost £500,000 to more than 75 projects since we launched the support in January and this is already having a major effect on helping our businesses win more orders, become more efficient and consequently more competitive.


‘I am delighted to announce that G&O Springs has become the first business on our programme to be granted the Bronze SC21 Award and I’m hoping it will be the first in a long line of local businesses to achieve this prestigious recognition.’


Companies that wish to participate in the programme will be allocated an adviser from the MAS who will review their company and inform them of the areas in which they need to work on through the SC21 programme. A sector specialist will then work alongside the business to improve performance and facilitate relationship workshops with potential customers.


Speaking about the programme, Steve Boyd, managing director of G&O, said: ‘We already had a lot of the lean tools in place, but we were not applying them strategically and going for recognition within SC21 helped us to focus on doing just that. The results have been tremendous.


‘Lead times have been cut in some instances by 20 days, our customers are receiving a far superior service and we are now continually improving every aspect of the business. The process has motivated all of our staff and these features have contributed to making us a better-performing operation and one that is in a good position to win new contracts.’