Rail Forum backs project to protect supply chain firms
Rail Forum Midlands has joined a project which aims to help minimise the risks of the coronavirus pandemic on the transport manufacturing supply chain.
The group, which represents several rail-related firms in Derbyshire, has teamed up with leading regional industry associations from different sectors, including the West England Aerospace Forum and the North East Automotive Alliance, to support the ACCESS Project.
A digital business networking platform, the project will help companies expand into new sectors, facilitate onshoring by simplifying the process to identify suppliers and accelerate sustainable transport initiatives by encouraging open exchange of future technology, skills, capacity and innovation requirements.
Elaine Clark, chief executive of Rail Forum Midlands, said: “The rail supply chain continues to experience significant peaks and troughs in workload and while the industry is committed to creating smoother pipelines we need to do all we can to ensure suppliers don’t have all their eggs in one basket and can tap into wider markets both in the UK and overseas."
The ACCESS project is funded by Innovate UK, which, as part of UK Research and Innovation, is investing up to £191 million to fund single and collaborative research and development projects as part of the Sustainable Innovation Fund over the next two years.
The aim of these competitions is to help all sectors of the UK rebuild after the effects of Covid-19.
Elaine said: “We need to move faster in the development and deployment of new technologies to ensure that rail can take a leading role in the decarbonisation agenda for the UK; working with other sectors has the potential to accelerate technology development, help companies make better, more informed investment decisions and achieve cost effective production volumes faster.”
Dr Ian Campbell, executive chairman of Innovate UK, said: “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation.
“The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy.
“The ACCESS Project, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development.
“Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.”