Interflex is celebrating the award of a £254,000 grant as part of a programme offering £16 million funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial strategy (BEIS).

The cash is awarded as part of the NMCL Automotive Programme which was developed by an ADS Group Limited and Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) led consortium. The consortium has established a national best practice approach to improving the competitiveness of UK-based manufacturing companies such as Interflex.

Funding exciting expansion plans

Grant monies should be used to help raise workforce capability and productivity in individual companies. This in turn helps to boost overall economic growth in the UK and increase export levels. Interflex was notified of their successful application in April.

The award will fund 50% of a half a million pound project to bring in external sources with specific expertise to train, coach and mentor the Interflex team across a range of aspects of the business. The training programme is part of ambitious expansion plans which will see Interflex enter new sectors such as rail, aerospace, bus and trucks as well as expanding into overseas markets.

Developing the Interflex team

The grant-funded training programmes will focus on areas such as building on the skillset and experience of management, as well as developing our project management team and creating a new product introduction process. We are also planning to introduce Lean techniques to improve processes in manufacturing at the same time as enabling the team to manage an increasing supplier base and higher throughput of materials.

Managing Director Jim Griffin is delighted by the grant and acknowledges the difference it will make to the company’s future, commenting: “This is an exciting time for Interflex. We have risen to some tough challenges over the last 12 months and have emerged a more flexible and efficient operation as a result. Covid did delay our planned expansion into new markets, but with systems working effectively and the valuable cash injection that the award has given us, now is the perfect time to start putting these exciting plans into practice.”

Ensuring the highest standards and quality

Elements of the training programme will support Interflex in their attempt to gain the IATF16949 Quality Standard, a global quality management system developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF). Achieving the standard involves a range of rigorous procedures and requires certification by a 3rd party auditor.

Despite the challenges of Covid, Interflex had a successful year in 2020, partly due to the vision of managing director Jim in setting up a subsidiary company to manufacture PPE, providing an alternative revenue stream when the automotive industry ground to a halt.

As a result, we were able to invest £140,000 in equipment and additional staff last year, bucking the general trend of furloughs and financial losses in 2020.

“This grant will help Interflex to be proactive as company, enabling the management team to pursue a policy of initiative and expansion that will take us forward into 2021 and beyond,” comments Jim.