NEAA Launches Manufacturing Innovation Group to Drive Collaboration and Regional Competitiveness

Last week saw the official launch of the North East Automotive Alliance’s (NEAA) new Manufacturing Innovation Group (MIG), which forms part of the alliance’s Innovation and Technology thematic strategy group.

The MIG will ensure the North East automotive industry delivers a consolidated approach to manufacturing project challenges, pooling knowledge and resources to identify best solutions for maximum productivity and adoption.

The automotive industry is changing - autonomous driving, infotainment, preventative maintenance, modal integration, ride sharing, vehicle communications are just some of the areas that are expected to change.

The anticipated expanded model choices, customisation and increased personalisation will bring with it challenges and this means that the OEM must work to shorter production lead times and relies on a responsive and agile supply chain. A recent report commissioned by SMMT and produced by KPMG concluded the cumulative benefit of this digital opportunity is £74bn by 2035.

With this in mind, the NEAA launched the Manufacturing Innovation Group at a working level to look at how the industry can work together to drive collaborative manufacturing innovation to benefit the region’s competitiveness and meet growing customer demands, whilst also meeting automotive standards.

At the centre of this is the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (CESAM). This manufacturing excellence partnership between NEAA, industry, Universities and funders will deliver collaborative projects, maximise funding support and the transfer of knowledge.

Together with the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), a new development on land north of Nissan, and the Skills Institute, there is a great push to look at developing competitive sustainable manufacturing as a catalyst for future growth and expansion in the region.

There is already an unprecedented level of collaboration and transfer of best practice across the sector as a result of the NEAA connecting with industry. With the addition of the MIG this will ensure it continues to a greater level and will provide the flow of projects into CESAM where industry feels there is maximum opportunity to collaborate.

David Johnson, General Manager, Nissan Europe Production Engineering and Chair of the NEAA MIG said: “The MIG was founded on the premise that regardless of position in the automotive industry, OEM to Tier N supplier, the challenges and headwinds are common. How to overcome these headwinds in a fast, efficient way to maintain competitiveness is key to the sustainability of our businesses.

"This forum allows members to share issues that we are willing to toss into the open innovation arena. Through this sharing, we can identify synergies and pool resource to provide solutions faster and with less cost thus reducing overall risk.”

Paul Butler, CEO, NEAA said: “In order to remain a globally competitive region for the automotive manufacturing we need to stimulate more innovation in our manufacturing processes. The principle objective of this group is to drive manufacturing innovation and help companies move towards the factory of the future.”


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