Posted by & filed under Gold Award Winners, SC21 News & Events.

It’s a golden period for Northern Ireland aerospace companies who continue to lead the UK in supply chain excellence.


Ballygowan based CCP Gransden Ltd joined an elite group of companies in the region by being awarded their first SC21 GOLD award. This prestigious award was presented to Jim Erskine Managing Director of CCP Gransden  by Philip McBride, Managing Director of Thales in Northern Ireland, at DSEI earlier this year. This is a double first as the award is the first Gold awarded for composites technology.

The region is now home to 70% of the UK Gold Award winners.

Maintaining the highest of standards means continuously seeking improvement and building on the successes achieved. In addition to first time recipients, Carrickfergus based injection moulding company, IPC Mouldings, has received its fifth consecutive gold performance award showcasing the company’s superiority in delivery, quality, sustainable improvement and the associated improvement frameworks, within the aerospace sector.

They are also joined by RTA (Ireland) Ltd who originally joined the SC21 programme to illustrate capability and performance using an industry recognised standard when a long-term supply exclusivity agreement came to an end with a key customer and RTA’s capabilities as a company were unknown.

This year marks their second Gold award.

These latest Gold awards were presented to the companies on Tuesday 24 October 2023 at an ADS Aircraft Interiors Group Meeting, hosted by Collins Aerospace, in the Kilmorey Arms Hotel in Kilkeel.

Colin Hart, Competitiveness Programme Director at ADS, commented:

“We congratulate both IPC Mouldings and RTA on the retention of their SC21 Gold Awards. Throughout their history with the programme, they have consistently delivered outstanding results.

The awards are designed to empower businesses from the UK’s thriving industrial base, and the gold award recognises the outstanding ability of businesses to achieve at least 99.0% delivery and 99.9% quality performance. The award also recognises organisational efforts to reduce supply chain risk, and the implementation of leaner production methods.”



Posted by & filed under Events, SC21 News & Events.

Advanced Engineering is the UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering and manufacturing professionals and with the SC21 programme offering a pathway to greater efficiency and produtivity, it is in good company at the show.

SC21 and the wider SCS Framework will be represented over the two full days at Advanced Engineering along with a number of beneficiaries of the programmes. Why not come along to meet the SC21 and SCS teams and the SMEs benefitting from the programme.



Day 1 – Wednesday 1 November


13:00 – 14:00 Main Hall

SC21 & SCS A national programme delivered regionally and awards

Hear from ADS’ Harriet Wollerton and Colin Hart as they discuss the SCS Framework. Tim Holmes from Midlands Aerospace Alliance will also talk about the programme from a regional perspective.

We will also celebrate recent award winners who will be there to pick up their awards


14:00 – 15:00

Reflect on NATEP Projects 

The National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) is a £20m programme to develop 80 aerospace technologies in the UK aerospace supply chain. In this session, some of the projects will be outlined and evaluated.


Day 2 – Thursday 2 November


14:00 – 15:00 Composites Arena

Innovation Funding for Aerospace and Defence

Hear from ADS’ Harriet Wollerton as she discusses some of NATEP’s innovative projects and find out about the opportunity for government funding through the Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP).


Not registered for Advanced Engineering yet? Register for your ticket here:

Posted by & filed under SC21 News & Events, Defence.

DSEI, the leading defence and security event in the UK was the fitting place to announce the latest signatories for the Supply Chain Solutions Framework.

The UK Ministry of Defence, Boeing Defence UK and Babcock International attended a signing ceremony with ADS CEO Kevin Craven, taking the total number of customer signatories to 13.

Welcoming the three signatories, Kevin Craven, CEO of ADS commented:

 “The importance of robust supply chain relationships has never been more evident than in today’s complex business landscape. The continued success of our wider Supply Chain Solutions Framework, is testament to the significance of these relationships. ADS is pleased to onboard leading defence organisations to celebrate the importance of our defence industrial base.”

Steve Burnell, Managing Director of Boeing Defence UK said: 

“Boeing is proud to join the SCS Framework and stand alongside the MOD and industry partners as part of our ongoing commitment to the UK aerospace supply chain,” said Steve Burnell, Managing Director of Boeing Defence UK. “We have a rich and diverse network of over 650 UK suppliers, engaged on both local and global programmes, delivering significant value not only for Boeing but within the local communities in which they are based.”

Martin Dolan, Group Director of Supplier Quality & Development, Babcock said:

“We are delighted to join the SCS framework and by doing so, celebrate our agile, innovative and versatile supply chain,” said Martin Dolan Babcock International Group, “Babcock are proud to recognize the commitment to excellence from across the UK’s thriving industrial base, including our innovative SME suppliers.”

MOD Director General for Industry, Trade and Economic Security, Avril Jolliffe said:

“Alongside our industry partners, the MOD is proud to support the SCS framework. Through this work, we can do more to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the UK’s defence sector.”

The SCS Framework is facilitated by ADS Group, the UK trade association for aerospace, defence, security and space in partnership with our regional partners. The programme recognises the importance of the UK’s supply chain ecosystem to delivering economic prosperity and national security.

Posted by & filed under Aerospace, Events, SC21 News & Events, Defence.


Join our colleagues at Farnborough Aerospace Consortium for their FAC Annual Conference later this month.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from industry leaders about the opportunities in civil aerospace, defence programme and the growing space sector in our region. There will be plenty of networking opportunities and a chance to see Brooklands Museum.

  • Thursday 28th September 2023
  • Brooklands Museum, Weybridge
  • 9am to 3pm


Posted by & filed under SC21 News & Events, Events.

Advanced Engineering is the UK’s largest annual gathering of engineering and manufacturing professionals. It offers an ideal opportunity to source new suppliers, network, build connections and learn about the latest industry developments all in one place.

NATEP has been a supporter of the event for many years and we are pleased to be able to be part of it once again, this time with our wider Supply Chain Solutions Framework colleagues and with new innovation opportunities such as the  Defence Technology Exploitation Programme (DTEP).

NATEP Programme Director, Harriet Wollerton, will be speaking at the event, along with some of the NATEP beneficiaries and Technology Managers, but this informal drinks reception on Day 1 is a great place to network and catch up with NATEP and ADS colleagues and members.

Drinks Reception

  • 1 November 2023
  • From 4pm
  • At the ADS Stand

No need to book a place, just turn up on the day.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Posted by & filed under Events, SC21 News & Events.

We are thrilled to be hosting a networking reception at DSEI 2023.

Please do join us to hear what’s new within the Framework incuding the Baseline Assessment Tool and our latest signatories to the programme. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our SC21 Award Winners.

Places are limited so if you would like to book your place – please register via a Microsoft Form here.

Posted by & filed under Aerospace, SC21 News & Events, Defence.

A new Baseline Assessment Tool (BAT) is helping SMEs assess their performance and understand where improvement is needed as they embark on their SC21 journey. It’s the initial phase of an enhanced SC21 programme and also now part of a larger Supply Chain Solutions Framework.


ADS SC21 Competitiveness Director, Colin Hart explains more:

Over the last 17 years the SC21 programme has helped over 1000 businesses improve their competitiveness and their bottom line and we are pleased to be able to offer a new Baseline Assessment Tool along with some new tools and techniques across a broader framework to enable businesses to become future fit.

Being led by industry for industry has always been a strength of the programme, and building on that foundation we have been expanding the solutions we can offer to participants to meet the future needs of supply chain performance not only in terms of traditional capabilities such as reliable delivery and zero defects but also sustainability, digitalization, and innovation.


The tool has been designed by industry supply chain experts from the aerospace, defence and automotive sectors, together with input from national and regional partners under the SC21 Competitiveness pillar of the Supply Chain Solutions Framework and developed by Vauechain Technology Limited.

Valuechain Technology Limited is proud to be in the business of connecting and managing supply chains through collaborative online software. Our strong emphasis on Quality, Delivery, and Cost performance management drives us to create effective solutions. With great pleasure, we announce our partnership with ADS for whom we’ve developed the latest online SCS Baseline Assessment. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to supply chain excellence.

Posted by & filed under SC21 News & Events, Defence, Bronze Award Winners.

KAEFER in the UK & Ireland serves a large and growing range of industries with asset integrity services. These services include access solutions, insulation, inspection & testing, protective coatings, asbestos management and more – generating an annual turnover of c.£250 Million. The company currently has 8 operating centres across the UK and Ireland, employing approximately 3,000 highly skilled and experienced people.

Keafer Ltd have been supporting Babcock International for a number of years by providing painting, blasting and scaffolding services.

Kaefer operates with a strategic Lean team. Babcock Faslane and Kaefer Corporate introduced them to SC21. Babcock Faslane are their regional partners, and JLC Consultants Ltd their SC21 partners.

Kaefer Ltd has strategic goals which include continuing growth in the UK naval sector, expanding the range and scope of service on all sites through the development of operational excellence.

Kaefer Ltd is keen to develop their SC21 journey across all sites. Faslane will embed the Bronze learning before seeking to progress to Silver level performance.

Kaefer has found that their Lean Champions act as ambassadors for ongoing participation with the ADS SC21 Continuous Improvement Programme, utilising the structures and gap analysis to deliver improvement and innovation.

Kaefer has experienced several benefits from the programme:

  • Leaner processes
  • Waste reduction
  • Workforce involvement/motivation
  • Improved workforce skills
  • Improved use of internal business information
  • Improved customer/supplier relationships
  • Improved quality performance over the past 12 months
  • Improved delivery performance over the past 12 months

A quote from their Business Manager, Alan Westhall: “Our SC21 Journey has facilitated our site teams in becoming better leaders; engaging with our staff and operators in focusing on improvements and a delivering actions.”

Posted by & filed under Aerospace, SC21 News & Events, Defence, Silver Award Winners.

Active Electronics head office is based in High Wycombe and is supported by a procurement subsidiary in New York together with a sales office in Brisbane Australia. Active has become a trusted source for electronic components and offer tailored supply solutions with quality systems and processes second to none. Active has a global sourcing ability and have the expertise and equipment to identify counterfeit components to ensure our customers only receive genuine products.

Active Electronics Plc was established in 1974 and has become a leading Service Provider for electronic components and assemblies to the Aerospace, Defence and Hi-Rel Industries.

The steps Active Electronics has taken to ensure the long-term sustainable growth of the business continue to benefit them. They continue to develop new business partnerships which seek to enhance and complement our existing product ranges. The strategy to concentrate on programme led opportunities has continued to bear fruit and the order book increased by 16% during the year and is at an historical high, giving good visibility and confidence going into 2023.

Active Electronics recognised the benefits to an aligned OTIF and RFT across the industry making co-operation with the majors a simpler task. This is the reason why they decided to be part of the SC21 programme.

For their participation, they aligned Metrics across the organisation and built better relationships with their major stakeholders.

Active Electronics’ MD Clive Homewood said: “[SC21] Has given Active senior management the opportunity to focus on itself and help improve every aspect of the organisation.”

Posted by & filed under Aerospace, SC21 News & Events, Defence, Bronze Award Winners.

Tannlin’s foundations lie in the design and manufacture of the world’s first stencil laser cutting systems. Initially for the production of laser cut stencils, Tannlin’s capabilities expanded encompassing advanced laser cutting systems, custom laser cutting production cells, high accuracy laser processing and electronic assembly support products. Innovation is at the heart of the business creating innovative customer solutions through continuous investment in people, research and development. The company supplies laser cut stencils to a broad spectrum of industry sectors, both commercial and military.

25 years as a leader in developing and selling state of the art, high precision, laser cutting machines and automated production systems, supplying product manufactured on these systems.

The organisation first engaged with the SC21 program in August 2021 and has progressed through the Manufacturing and Business Excellence Assessments, building their CSIP, awarded Bronze 2022.

For their future they plan to grow both their Systems and Products divisions, by developing in-house expertise, innovative system solutions, and continuously improving the service levels their people deliver.

The organisation sees the SC21 program as a significant tool impacting our ongoing continuous improvement strategy to deliver operational and organisational excellence.

The organisation has a long history of product and service development and delivery performance. Their products and services are consider to be best in class. The senior management team are determined to further develop their systems, behaviours, processes and ways of working in order to attract the best talent.

Tannlin recognises the scope and range of learning facilitated by the SC21 Program compliments their existing approach to continuous improvement. The SC21 platform gives them a focussed toolset that we believe will accelerate the delivery of improvements in operational and organisational excellence.

The company had been working on elements of Lean Continuous Improvement activities prior to engaging with the SC21 program: including reducing product lead times, process times and identifying/removing lean wastes. Engaging with the program has facilitated engaging the wider organisation in improvement activity. As they continue their SC21 journey they will see evidence across the wider range of elements opposite.

Other benefits they have experienced are:

  • Leaner production
  • Leaner processes
  • Waste reduction
  • Workforce involvement/motivation
  • Improved workforce skills
  • Improved use of internal business information
  • Improved quality performance over the past 12 months
  • Improved delivery performance over the past 12 months

A quote from Scott McPherson, Manager of Tannlin’s Operations and Systems Department:

“We believe by making the SC21 programme a key part of our wider strategy for continuous improvement, it will enable us to use our resources more effectively and see measurable benefits quicker. The CSIP has been integrated into our Business Improvement Processes”