Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine Volume 425 - January 2016 - Page 10

AEROSPACE MIDLANDS AEROSPACE ALLIANCE A UNITED MIDLANDS AEROSPACE INDUSTRY Founded in 2003, the Midlands Aerospace Alliance (MAA) was the last of the aerospace alliances to be established. Prompted by a downturn in the aerospace industry back in 2001, the MAA's goals were, and to some extent still are, “To make sure that we create a community of aerospace companies to improve communication along the supply chain in particular, and to ensure that we are adding to the support we provide to the industry on a regional level, and not just nationally,” as explained by Andrew Mair, Chief Executive of the MAA. Through the delivery of support programmes, the sharing of industry-important knowledge, research and providing a clear, coordinated strategy for the Midlands aerospace industry, the MAA is positioned to both support and guide aerospace supply chain members for individual and shared prosperity. Through doing this, the MAA is not only able to support local businesses and their respective communities, but preserve the existence of the Midlands aerospace industry as a whole; something which it has achieved most admirably. Of approximately 120 technology projects 4 8 in the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) being run across England, some 30 are being undertaken within the Midlands specifically, and as such there have been great efforts to support aerospace supply chain members, increase communication and disseminate knowledge and individual findings for the benefit of all within the chain. This is traditionally done through networking events run by the MAA directly, allowing companies and key suppliers to meet, compare experiences, notes, findings and more – a simple, yet increasingly effective measure. But of course it is not a case that members of the MAA are in any way behind or struggling to keep up with the latest technological developments, and instead are typically pioneers in technological innovation for the industry, within their own subsectors and areas of specific expertise – the case is simply that, though collaboration and the sharing of information, members of the Midlands aerospace supply chain are able to tap into a resource of sectorwide information which they can then develop yet further. As Mair explains: “If our companies are to compete with lower costs and offer novelty to MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING MAGAZINE