Rachel Reeves MP visits the Unipart Advanced Supply Chain Institute

Rachel Reeves MP on a visit to Unipart
L-R: James Simester (Unipart Technologies Group), Anneleise Dodds MP, John Neill, Rachel Reeves MP, Richard Gould (MetLase)

October 2022 – Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, visited Unipart House this week to learn about how The Unipart Way can make organisations more productive, more competitive, and more sustainable.

In the new Advanced Supply Chain Institute in Unipart House, Oxford, Group Chairman and Chief Executive John Neill explained to the Shadow Chancellor how The Unipart Way can help solve the productivity puzzle to unlock the growth potential of the UK.

Rachel Reeves met teams at Hyperbat, Unipart’s EV battery manufacturing joint venture, and MetLase, Unipart’s smart tooling company. 

The Hyperbat team explained how Unipart Manufacturing has been working for a decade to address the skills gap in UK engineering and manufacturing, and the transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to zero-emissions mobility.

The Shadow Chancellor saw how the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering (AME), Unipart’s unique collaboration with Coventry University, is giving real-world industry experience to the engineers of tomorrow, while helping to reskill engineers with years of ICE experience in EV battery manufacturing.

In particular, Rachel Reeves MP learned about Unipart’s capability in world-class laser welding and how crucial it is in the production of EV batteries.

The MetLase team explained to the Shadow Chancellor how its laser cut reinforcement technology can replace rebar in concrete to improve productivity, sustainability, quality, and safety in the construction industry. They also demonstrated how their SmartBench can make the UK’s manufacturing industry more productive and get unskilled employees on the ladder to learn and become skilled.

Alongside Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds, Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Rachel Reeves saw first hand Unipart’s expertise as a leading supply chain expert at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with a strong focus on sustainability, and employee engagement and wellbeing.

Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “It was helpful to understand how Unipart is working to solve the productivity puzzle, one of the big challenges facing the country.

“The UK has huge opportunities in being a global leader in some of the industries of the future. Particularly as some of those industries are going to help us get to net zero, like batteries for electric vehicles.

“So it’s really exciting to see that Unipart is already leading the way in some of that manufacturing and design. In the years to come, I want Britain to be exporting cars all around the world, but we’re going to need innovations like those happening here at Unipart to realise that potential.”

John Neill, Unipart Group Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “For Britain to achieve its growth objectives it must put productivity improvement at the top of its agenda. Improving productivity is at the heart of the nation’s quality-of-life and I was delighted to be able to show the Shadow Chancellor how our hundred-million-pound investment over 30 years in The Unipart Way helps to drive productivity for our company and our clients.

“In the last five years we have further developed The Unipart Way tools and techniques to enable us to manage our business through a digital lens compared with the analogue lens of the past and it is fundamental to our drive for carbon neutrality by 2030 and net zero ahead of 2050.

“The Unipart Way body of knowledge is critical to helping our fellow employees learn the new skills as we transition from 1st tier suppliers of internal combustion components to the New World of battery electric vehicles. We were pleased to show the Shadow Chancellor our Hyperbat factory which after several years of developing, refining and perfecting the complex technologies needed is currently manufacturing batteries which need to meet exceptional performance requirements.”