The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) is accelerating its commitment to the region’s automotive supply chain, championing innovation and SME support.

It has been working closely with key stakeholders to secure access to public sector funded programmes totalling £9.1 million.

The programmes, including Supply Chain North East, GROWTHmapper, Acceleration Cross-Sector Collaborative Ecosystems and Sustainable Supply-chain (ACCESS), Made Smarter Adoption North East and Next Generation Advances Manufacturing Accelerator (NGAMA), come from a range of local and national Government programmes to help companies recover from the pandemic and bounce back better by capitalising on new technologies.

Paul Butler, chief executive officer of the North East Automotive sector, said: “We have worked hard to ensure there is a diverse range of support available for our membership body. With everything from marketing support to diagnostic tools that highlight and provide advice on area of weakness, we have a vast amount of fully-funded resources available.

“We have listened to our members, taking the time to understand what is most affecting the health of their businesses and liaised with stakeholders to provide tailored support. The NEAA continues to work with members, encouraging them to share with us where they need support most. The sector is ever-evolving and we are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to support the North East automotive supply chain.”

Supply Chain North East is a partnership between the North East LEP, NEAA, RTC North, NEPIC and Generator. It is designed to support businesses in a number of sectors including automotive and transport. It provides members with access to market specialists, sales and marketing support, operational improvement plans, support with digital transformation, knowledge on accreditation and compliance and support developing talent.

GROWTHmapper is a diagnostic tool used to gather information about six key areas, including cash-flow, finance, markets, demand capability, human resources and personal resilience, to minimise risk and support effective management and recovery planning. The results provide a comprehensive report and action plan, allowing businesses to assess immediate needs, identify key priorities and highlight tactical approaches to creating stability.

ACCESS, funded by Innovation UK, brings together the established networks of the North East Automotive Alliance, the Rail Forum Midlands and the West of England Aerospace Alliance to drive business and collaboration opportunities in advanced manufacturing, digitalisation and electrification across the aerospace, automotive and rail sectors. The project creates a digital business networking platform, developed by Valuechain, to enhance intercompany communication.

Made Smarter Adoption North East, is a business support programme accessible to manufacturing SMEs within the North East LEP and Tees Valley Combined Authority areas. Its purpose is to help businesses go to market faster, cut costs and reduce downtime, by investing in digital tools, innovations and skills.

Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing Accelerator (NGAMA) will be delivered in partnership by Sunderland City Council (SCC), the NEAA and North East Business Innovation Centre (NE-BIC). It will deliver business innovation advice through initial diagnostic support followed by grant investment in research, development and innovation projects targeting the region’s advanced manufacturing sector, particularly in relation to the adoption of digital technologies. Eligible companies can access innovation support leading to investment in digital technologies that help companies become more competitive and differentiated, through providing new levels of customer experience, new and innovative product and service revenue streams, as well as improvements in productivity, higher product quality and cost reductions.