CITY FIRMS SET FOR TAKE-OFF AS REGION'S INDUSTRY SOARS ; Focus on start-ups | Sponsored by DO YOU ever hear about a new aircraft being unveiled and wonder why it's big news? Obviously there are large amounts of money sloshing around, with customers in airlines and sometimes air forces all over the world spending many millions or even billions of pounds. However what you might not appreciate is the sheer number of people affected, working for the many businesses that such news affects.
Yes, there are the thousands employed by the giants of the industry - the companies like
Many of these companies are based in
The South West's aerospace supply chain provides 41,000 full- time jobs and generates an annual turnover of Pounds 5.5 billion. And it's set to grow further, with SMEs in and around
His day-to-day activities therefore involve helping SMEs engage with the supply chain and also engaging with larger scale issues that the industry faces.
He said: "Local companies are getting an increasing pick-up in the marketplace because of increasing volumes, particularly because of the A320 that's launching and the new Bombardier aircraft.
"The launch timescales are starting to be compressed and the production cycles of these aircraft are starting to overlap and that's challenging for the supply chains that feed into them.
"It puts additional pressure on these companies but it also creates additional opportunities in the supply chain. For single- aisle platform aircraft, short-haul aircraft with 100 to 150 seats, the production rate has jumped.
"The industrial strategy focuses on these high volume aircraft, the next generation of these aircraft and what can we do to position the
"The high-value work is often linked to the wide-body aircraft, where although as a proportion the volume is lower but the cost is significantly higher.
S3 E01-"Some of the companies in the supply chain have high growth potential and are already starting to grow very EPB-rapidly. They have recently been awarded regional growth funding to make changes in their facilities and they're under the sort of pressure where they're at the point that they need to make significant business decisions to allow them to take advantage of the opportunities in the market. "So for them to develop for the future they need to understand what their technology needs, what their unique differentiators are and how they can finance their business to ensure they can continue to maximise their potential.
"There's no shying away from the fact that aerospace is a very competitive marketplace but we have some unique skills and capabilities in the South West. The region has the largest aerospace cluster in
So what do companies need to do to capitalise on the opportunities? One of the major challenges is to find the right routes to market, according to
He said: "We ran one of our popular 'Meet the Buyer' events in May and predictably, everyone wanted to book meetings with the biggest companies, which included
"We know, for example, that companies like
The other crucial factor is access to working capital. With long procurement cycles, many businesses need help to keep their teams and projects alive from the time a contract is agreed and development work begins to the point at which they start to generate revenues. This can take years. WEAF is holding a 'Navigating the Grants, Loans and Funding Maze' event at Leigh Court,
According to an HMRC Statistical Report issued in
"It is always worth asking a tax adviser to have a look, as you may qualify without realising it."
He said: "The companies at the top of the supply chain have very long term contracts, often with governments, of 10, 20, even 30 years. But they issue much shorter contacts to their suppliers."
The Government and WEAF are urging big players to move towards longer contracts for suppliers. The hope is such a move would spur more innovation in the sector and help keep the
"That's where they need help with things like contracts and intellectual property protection."
'Government needs to help the next generation' Case study ? Avon Valley Precision Engineering (AVPE) was set up in 1997 and manufactures precision machined components for the aerospace and defence markets.
The company, based in Bitton, employs 39 staff and is growing, currently supplying direct into prime and tier 1 partners in the aerospace supply chain. It makes parts for aircraft including the Airbus A380, A350, A340 and A320, the Bombardier Global 7000/8000 Series, as well as supplying the Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO)market via Airbus Spares and
Despite being relatively unaffected by the recession, finance director
"I would like to see better access to funding for the SME sector. Banks are holding back our growth opportunities and R&D programs for new generation aircraft technology. We also need to equip youngsters with more appropriate skills for the workplace. We are very committed to apprenticeship programs but more appropriate backing from Government in this area should assist the next generation of the workforce."
Ex-motorbike workshop that has engineered major transformation Case study ? Fowlers Engineering's involvement in the aerospace industry is growing. Five years ago it provided 40 per cent of the company's turnover. Last financial year, it was 63 per cent of the Pounds 1.5 million the company turned over and the forecast for this year is Pounds 1.7 million, off the back of a buoyant aerospace sector.
The company was originally set up in 1917 as a motorcycle workshop but is now completely separate from Fowlers Motorcycles and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as a limited and independent company.
Employing 27 staff at its site in Montpelier, Fowlers provides sheet metal work, precision machining, fabrication and welding, press work and hand fitting for the industry - generally in bracketry, making brackets for products like landing gear and turbine engines.
Sales and engineering director
"We've invested quite a bit of time and money into training and recruiting the right calibre of staff to serve the aerospace industry and that's where we see our future.
"We understand the customer requirements but we also have multiple accreditations and approvals. This past year
CITY FIRMS SET FOR TAKE-OFF AS REGION'S INDUSTRY SOARS ; Focus on start-ups | Sponsored by
DO YOU ever hear about a new aircraft being unveiled and wonder why it's big news? Obviously there are large amounts of money sloshing around, with customers in airlines and sometimes air forces all over the world spending many millions or even billions of pounds. However what you might not appreciate is the sheer number of people affected, working for the many businesses that such news affects.