Automotive parts manufacturer, Interflex, has been awarded a GBP254,000 (US$353,000) grant as part of a programme offering GBP16m funding from the UK Department for Business Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS).
The cash is awarded as part of the NMCL Automotive Programme, which was developed by an ADS Group and Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT)-led consortium.
The consortium has established a national best practice approach to improving the competitiveness of UK-based manufacturing companies such as Interflex.
Grant monies should be used to help raise workforce capability and productivity in individual companies.
Interflex, which manufactures a range NVH and sealing solutions for vehicles, including door seals, interior trim, under carpet and boot seals at its Nottinghamshire site, was notified of its successful application this month (April, 2021).
The award will fund 50% of a GBP0.5m project to bring in external sources with specific expertise to train, coach and mentor the Interflex team across a range of aspects of the business. The training programme is part of the company’s expansion plans which will see Interflex enter new sectors such as rail, aerospace, bus and trucks. The company is also aiming to expand into overseas markets.
The grant-funded training programmes will focus on areas such as building on the skillset and experience of management, as well as developing Interflex’s project management team and creating a new product introduction process. The company is also planning to introduce Lean techniques to improve processes in manufacturing at the same time as enabling the team to manage an increasing supplier base and higher throughput of materials.
“We have risen to some tough challenges over the last 12 months and have emerged a more flexible and efficient operation as a result,” said Interflex MD, Jim Griffin.
“COVID-19 did delay our planned expansion into new markets, but with systems working effectively and the valuable cash injection that the award has given us, now is the time to start putting these plans into practice.”
Elements of the training programme will support Interflex in its attempt to gain the IATF16949 Quality Standard, a global quality management system developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). Achieving the standard involves a range of procedures and requires certification by a third-party auditor.
Despite the challenges of Covid, Interflex had a successful year in 2020, as Griffin set up a subsidiary company to manufacture PPE, providing an alternative revenue stream.
As a result, the company was able to invest GBP140,000 in equipment and additional staff last year.