Boosting the Competitiveness of the UK Manufacturing Supply Chain
To be competitive a company must outperform its rivals over the long term and to do that, it must understand how it competes and how competitive it really is. Measuring a company’s competitiveness not only indicates how they are performing now, but also highlights where improvement can and should be made.
Understanding performance and capability enables manufacturers of all shapes and sizes to grow in an appropriate way.
National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) provided a way of comparing the competitiveness of manufacturing companies regardless of shape, size or sector. Using a range of tools and techniques it provided vital information to aid investment decisions and post investment would report on benefits realised and return on investment.
NCML reflected the ability of a business to boost competitiveness and deliver positive customer impact and growth.
The views of the customer and the winning of new business were key features of the NMCL assessment, both were tracked with success being measured on customer results and business growth.
The NMCL assessment provided a detailed roadmap that could be used to fuel business growth.
Developed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), NMCL was supported by major trade bodies, industry primes and Original Equipment Manufacturers, working across multiple manufacturing sectors it provided a complete end-to-end development journey from IP centric start-up to large manufacturer and from problem identification to solution implementation.
Growth Through Competitiveness
Advanced manufacturing in the UK can point to many recent successes, not least in the aerospace and automotive sectors. The UK’s strong research base and stable business environment provide the backdrop for manufacturing to compete on the global stage. However, for individual manufacturers, competitiveness is more likely to be connected to their local operating environment and the challenges this brings.
Above all, the challenge for manufacturers is to turn customer demand into customer satisfaction regardless of how they choose to compete. Measuring and improving a company’s competitive performance was at the core of the NMCL framework. Assessing their competitiveness allowing a company to understand what is important to them and what they should focus on at each point of their growth journey. Understanding their performance and capability enables manufacturers of all shapes and sizes to grow in an appropriate way.
What’s Unique About NMCL?
NCML reflected the capability of a business to enhance its competitiveness and deliver positive customer impact and growth.
Focused on the customer and the winning of new business were key features of the NMCL assessment, both were tracked with successes being measured on customer results and business growth. The assessment provided a detailed roadmap that could then be used to fuel business growth.
When used in conjunction with an improvement programme, NMCL grouped the activity with an assessment that could be used to aid an investment decision and a further re-assessed to identify the benefits realised and the return on investment. In this way, NMCL provided a complete framework to support investment decisions for both public and privately funded activity.
This approach identified the challenges for the company and the aspirations of the company which made it an ideal tool for clarifying investment decisions.
Why were Current Assessments Inadequate?
Many existing assessment frameworks focused on improving ‘performance gaps’ without recognising what is really important to a company at that stage of their growth journey. This resulted in companies being faced with a bewildering range of improvement activities, many of which will close a perceived gap without realising any meaningful benefits or generating a return on investment. At their worst, the assessments were providing a complex and unwarranted distraction from the need to satisfy the customer rather than focussing on it.
The NMCL assessment recognised that different themes within a business need to be prioritised in different ways, at different times. A number of assessments act as ‘qualifiers’, they were a requirement to get a company into the ‘game’, but they don’t differentiate between companies or give a clear indication of competitiveness and direction of travel.
The NMCL Process
Using a range of tools and techniques the NMCL assessor conducted an in-depth assessment of a company that is provided a detailed Programme Pack and Business Case that was able to support investment decisions whether publicly or privately funded. Following the decision to invest in a programme of improvement, NMCL reported on benefits and return on investment.