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NWAA Members gathered at their Annual Conference held at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel on 16th May.  The conference was themed around “Preparing for a New Era” and explored how the UK Aerospace and Defence Sectors in 2019 will be shaped by new geo-political pressures, the speed of technology and innovation and the need to maintain a competitive advantage over global competition.

During the morning session, the conference heard the very latest global aerospace and defence market forecasts from Dominic Maxwell, Associate Partner for McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s most respected consultancies. Dominic provided an excellent overview of the hot topics in the aerospace industry ranging from how the supply chain navigates the turbulence in the demand for aircraft through to winning the war for new talent.

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Picture above: Dominic Maxwell, Associate Partner for McKinsey & Company

This year’s PLATINUM SPONSOR – MSP, in a presentation delivered by Peter Hammond, Technical Director focussed on “Breaking the Mould in Aerospace Manufacture”. Peter gave a fascinating presentation on the changes the supply chain needs to make in order to manufacture parts at ever increasing rates.

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Picture above: Peter Hammond, Technical Director, MSP

Simon Jewell, Strategy Director for BAE Systems – Air, presented on “Future Fit: Preparing for the 2020’s and Beyond”.  Simon’s presentation covered an overview of the business and its key programmes including the new Team Tempest programme. Simon strongly emphasised that a partnering approach is required to ensure the delivery of a cost effective series of solutions that creates new opportunities for he supply chain. Of particular interest, the conference learned that the aerospace and defence sectors would need to increase the pace of change.

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Pictured above: Simon Jewell, Strategy Director for BAE Systems – Air

Ideagen’s Senior Sales Consultant, Greig Duncan presented to the conference as one of the 2019 GOLD SPONSORS, on the topic of “Taking a Risk-Based Approach to Supply Chain Management”. Greig showed how risk is an important aspect of every business and, through a unique example of an extreme mountaineering challenge, how risk can be managed.

Nichola Robinson, Supply Chain Director at Bombardier gave her presentation “Supply Chain – Collaboration for a Competitive Future”.  Nichola provided a very positive view of Bombardier’s current position, with solid market positions, unique capabilities, and a strong order book. Nichola was confident that they would see strong growth in the Aero-structures business with the market forecast increasing from $50 Billion to $61 Billion over a 10 year period.

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Pictured above: Nichola Robinson, Supply Chain Director at Bombardier

Glyn Complin, UK Engineering Director at Heroux-Devtek, the second of this year’s GOLD SPONSORS, outlined the “Challenges for Future Landing Gear Development” in his presentation to the Conference. Glyn described the technical challenges of designing and manufacturing landing gear systems. Of particular interest, was the insight the conference received in the challenge of moving from traditional systems to more electric landing gear systems.

Delegates heard from Simon Barker, Vice President Government Affairs at Leonardo whose presentation “Leonardo: Prosperity Built on Intelligent Partnerships”.  Simon gave a fascinating overview of the breadth and depth of capability within the Leonardo business one of the world’s top 10 aerospace and defence businesses. Simon gave the conference into the innovations taking place within the helicopter sector including tilt-rotors and unmanned air vehicles. Simon described the increasing drive towards dual-use technology and the innovations transforming the future of vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Of most interest was Simon’s view of how Leonardo will develop competitive advantage through intelligent partnering with a wide range of stakeholders, citing the example of how the South West’s aerospace and defence industry is collaborating around innovation and skills.

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Pictured above: Simon Barker, Vice President Government Affairs at Leonardo 

Following a buffet lunch in the extensive exhibition area, the conference then took part in an interactive session led by the North West Aerospace Alliance.  Delegates were split up into small groups with facilitators and scribes and were posed a series of questions that were discussed in the groups.  The discussion was themed around supply chain performance, supply chain structure and the increasing digitalisation of the supply chain. The interactive sessions helped individuals to network by forcing discussion within the groups and with facilitators who engaged everyone in the discussions.

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Each group provided feedback to the whole conference, again improving networking and also generating an interesting debate about the key conference theme – Preparing for a New Era. The volunteers to feedback from each group did an excellent job engaging everyone in the theme.

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The sixth NWAA Annual conference was closed using a mobile phone based real time voting platform to ask the audience for their feedback on the conference. It was clear that the attendees voted overwhelmingly that the conference had met or exceeded their objectives, and also that the new interactive style of conference was supported.

Initial feedback from delegates...

‘This year’s annual conference was a huge success – more opportunities for networking and interaction through the instant polling app’.

‘The NWAA Annual Conference always provides great networking opportunities and a range of insightful presentations from industry leaders’

‘The NWAA annual conference is a diary essential, interesting, thought provoking and excellent for networking with industry peers’.

‘The conference went very well with good speakers and a good mix of interaction. I particularly liked the Mentimeter instant polling app’.

‘A fantastic event for collaborating with many different layers in the aerospace supply chain. Many opportunities for networking and discussion around what is topical in our sector, both now, and into the future’.

‘I would encourage anyone who wants to learn more about Aerospace Manufacturing, its supply chain and all the latest industry facts & figures to attend this event!


Thank you to our conference sponsors: 


Sponsors 2019 V1


A copy of the presentations, delegate list and workshop feedback will be made available to delegates. 

Please contact Claire Lambert on claire.lambert@aerospace.co.uk or call 01772 648800.

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