Unipart institute hosts launch of new £1.1bn ‘ Midlands Engine’

Unipart’s ground breaking joint venture with Coventry University – the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) – was centre stage for when the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid signed a £1.1 bn deal with local authorities to create a Midlands Engine.

The deal with local authorities will see the region taking greater control of its own destiny in key areas like economic growth.

George Osborne called the event the single largest act of devolution in the country for many years and said the AME was a sign of the success that the Midlands has demonstrated in bringing together education and industry.

Unipart and Coventry University are leading the way in developing talented young engineers through the AME, which made it a natural choice for an announcement that will see more investment in research and development coming to the Midlands.

Developing work-ready young engineers has been the primary focus of the AME, but this quickly accelerated to look at how the institute could develop into a world class R&D centre that focused on exploring new technologies for existing and new clients in automotive, aerospace, rail and renewables.

Now all the solutions being developed in the AME will meet an immediate or future customer need with seven R&D projects secured in the first year including the development of a fuel rail for the Ford Fox Engine and a lightweight exhaust system entering into low volume production for Aston Martin.

The 1700 sq metre AME has been purpose built on Unipart’s manufacturing site in Coventry and is equipped with £3m of state-of-the-art training robots, robotic welding, tube bending, metrology and test equipment.

An expert team of engineers, lecturers, researchers and professors has also been recruited and are responsible for the innovative learning and shaping new technologies.

Earlier this month, a showcase event at the AME provided the platform for Unipart to launch a major national campaign to raise awareness of the productivity issue facing UK industry.

Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive John Neill explained:

“Productivity is at the heart of our nation’s quality of life and yet Britain is lagging behind our global competitors. Economists talk about this as a puzzle, but we believe that Unipart has the solution,” said John Neill.

“The Government has made productivity improvement a major priority, and Unipart is pleased to be able to play our part in helping to unlock the potential that exists amongst millions of people in the UK to not only be more productive, but to do so by becoming more engaged with their organisations,” he said.

“Over the past 25 years, Unipart has invested in creating a comprehensive ecosystem called The Unipart Way which continuously improves productivity in any organisation. The Unipart Way is at the heart of how we are developing young engineers in Coventry.

“We have implemented The Unipart Way in all of our own operating companies and in our clients around the world. We know it works because it consistently delivers strong results. It is not a lottery that relies on the breakthrough ideas of a small number of people. The Unipart Way is a complete ecosystem that engages everyone in the organisation in the science of improvement.”

Unipart is setting out to raise awareness of how to improve productivity through a major national media campaign and a web based information hub which can be found at www.productivitypuzzle.com.

The campaign features video interviews with a wide range of senior industry leaders including CBI Director General John Cridland, McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt, Unipart Chairman and CEO John Neill, Institute of Directors Chief Economist James Sproule, and many others.

Highly creative new print ads are signposting The Unipart Way as the solution to the productivity puzzle. The ads are appearing in the business sections of major publications like The Times, Sunday Times and The Telegraph. They will explain that certainty of productivity improvement comes from adopting The Unipart Way.