Belfast Telegraph

High-fliers set for aerospace, defence and security seminar

By Clare Weir

An influencial conference and awards ceremony celebrating firms working in the aerospace, defence and security supply chains is coming to Belfast in November.

The 21st Century Supply Chains (SC21) event will be hosted at the Titanic building in November and could prove to be a huge networking event for Northern Ireland firms involved in the booming sectors.

The scheme is part of a business excellence programme organised by ADS, the body for aerospace, defence and security firms in the United Kingdom, and has already proved lucrative for firms here.

Just weeks ago, Co Londonderry firm Moyola Precision Engineering became the first Northern Ireland company to be awarded the SC21 silver award, by achieving a delivery success rate between 95% and 99% and quality between 99.5% and 99.9%.

Moyola picked up a bronze award last year along with JW Kane Precision Engineering Ltd and Dontaur Precision Engineers of Ballymena for their work with planemaker Bombardier.

No Northern Ireland company has yet attained the gold award.

Northern Ireland is the best performing region in the UK's £27bn aerospace industry per head of population thanks to the likes of Bombardier and scores of smaller supply chain firms.

In other sectors, the region is home to world-leading safety equipment maker Survitec and France-based arms firm Thales.

It has just announced that its Belfast plant will act as a centre for research and development in the space industry in conjunction with the American firm Aerojet.

SC21 is designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industries in the UK by raising the performance of its supply chains.

Companies which have embarked on the scheme have benefitted from reduced overheads, operational improvement, increased competitiveness, leaner production, cost reduction and lower set-up times.

The total number of companies committed to SC21 doubled within two months of its launch in 2006.

As of 2011 over 100 new firms were signing up to the programme every year, further benefiting the UK supply chain.

ADS has its own Northern Ireland office in association with Invest Northern Ireland, and representing almost 50 companies.

The SC21 event will take place at the Titanic building on November 21, 2012.