Service focuses on aiding growth for SME manufacturers

A nationally operated Manufacturing Advisory Service will focus on helping small- and medium- sized (SME) manufacturers to grow, Mark Prisk, UK business minister, announced today.

According to a statement, the service will be delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Consortium (MAC) and will help create an estimated £1.5bn in economic growth, 23,000 jobs and safeguard 50,000 jobs.

The Manufacturing Advisory Service will continue to deliver a national service to all manufacturing businesses in England.

The consortium will reportedly provide a specific focus on driving business growth through strategic and technical support for SMEs developing advanced manufacturing capabilities; enabling business improvement with manufacturers operating in global supply chains; and linking SMEs with the apprenticeship programme delivering a minimum of 1,250 apprenticeships annually.

Previously delivered through the Regional Development Agencies, it is claimed that the new service will deliver four times the current return on investment.

The Manufacturing Advisory Consortium comprises Grant Thornton, Pera, WM Manufacturing Consortium and SWMAS.

The MAS offer will comprise:

Level 1 (enquiries)

Provided by experienced advisors around England, ensuring detailed local knowledge supported by an enhanced website offering a range of online support packages.

Level 2 (manufacturing review)

Continue to provide one-day (two days for more complex businesses), on-site specialist manufacturing diagnostic review.

Level 3 (events)

Continue to provide training and networking events, including best-practice visits.

Level 4 (consultancy)

Introduction of a three-tier Level 4 project structure:

  • MAS Foundation Service: funding up to £1,000 (or a maximum of 50 per cent) towards an improvement project — targeted at companies who need basic low-level help
  • MAS Step Change Service: funding of up to £3,000 (or 50 per cent maximum) towards a more significant improvement programme
  • MAS Transformation Service: funding of up to £10,000 (or 50 per cent maximum) for a strategic change to the business

Level 5 (referrals)

MAS advisors are responsible for identifying partner organisation support but retain responsibility for referral until it is demonstrated and confirmed by the client that the partner organisation has addressed the client need.

Supply Chain

Focus on helping SMEs diversify into advanced manufacturing supply chains; helping original equipment manufacturers and their supply chains develop better relationships and greater efficiency; helping groups of SMEs in supply chains or clusters interact more effectively. It will use the tools available through levels 1–5 with custom implementation packages assembled to suit client needs delivered by a team of dedicated supply-chain experts.