The UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, is to head a new support organsiation for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the transport engineering supply chain of a number of industries, including automotive. Called Enscite, its aim is to improve the performance of these businesses and drive their capabilities further. 

Enscite is a collaboration involving four partners – Derby City Council, the University of Derby, Aston University and Cranfield University. The organisation is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Initially, its focus will be on supporting firms within the East Midlands region of the UK. It will also be the flagship tenant in the Innovation Centre at Derby’s Infinity Park, expected for completion in 2015.

The group has described its main aims as increasing working relationships across automotive and rail supply chains, representing both original equipment manufacturers and small to medium enterprises. By working together, it is hoped that SMEs will share market intelligence and provide support for one another by identifying common problems across the supply chain. 

“We are investing record amounts in our transport infrastructure, which is a vital engine for growth for this country,” said McLoughlin. “Multi-billion pound projects like Thameslink and Crossrail [two London rail upgrade programmes] and our huge investment plans for our road and rail networks are providing countless opportunities for small and medium businesses to grow. That is why it is vital an organisation like Enscite exists to support these businesses and help drive forward our economy."   

Meeting in Derby
Next Thursday April 10th, McLoughlin will deliver a keynote speech at the Roundhouse, Derby’s restored Victorian railway works. A series of brief talks from manufacturers and supply chain experts will follow the main launch presentations.

The event will outline how Enscite will work to improve the performance of and maximise business opportunities for SMEs in the engineering supply chain. It is open to all companies, and will be attended by Enscite’s partners, and representatives from other organisations from within the sector.

“Enscite’s main aim is to help manufacturing businesses to grow and thrive,” said Enscite managing director, Colin McKinnon. “It offers a range of support services to SMEs, including access to a £1m ($1.66 billion) Technology Fund to help firms invest in new cutting edge equipment, and is committed to becoming the UK’s leading national centre for supply chain innovation in the transport engineering sector.

Professor John Coyne, Enscite chairman also said: “Now is the right time for an organisation dedicated to the engineering supply chain. The sector is set for sustained growth and an increasing number of UK companies are looking to re-shore production in the UK, creating jobs whilst cutting production costs.”