Newry engineering firm breaks new ground with aerospace industry accreditation

Stephen Cromie, managing director and Richard Hughes, operations director of the Exact Group.
Stephen Cromie, managing director and Richard Hughes, operations director of the Exact Group.

NEWRY engineering firm, Exact Group, has become the first company in Ireland to enter the aerospace supply chain programme, SC21, with a Silver Award on its first engagement.

SC21 is one of the largest supply chain improvement programmes in the UK’s aerospace and defence sector. It’s based on companies following a framework to achieve and maintain set criteria within areas including: Business excellence; manufacturing excellence; relationship excellence, and quality and delivery performance.

The Newry company was sponsored through the programme by Collins Aerospace.

Exact Group managing director, Stephen Cromie, said the achievement reflects the firm’s “commitment to excellence, dedication to best practice and high-quality manufacturing”.

The programme is managed by ADS in partnership with Invest NI. The aerospace trade body’s director in the north, Dr Leslie Orr, said: “Northern Ireland is home to a powerhouse of advance engineering companies, which is responsible for delivering almost £2Bn in annual sales, of which 90 per cent are sold outside Northern Ireland. The Exact Group is one such company in that integrated supply chain and their direct entry at SC21 Silver is recognition of their tremendous record of quality, performance, lead times and delivery.

“Given the current uncertain climate, this SC21 recognition will only serve to strengthen the company’s relationships with their customers in the aerospace sector and beyond. Well done to Stephen and his team.”

Bill Montgomery, Invest NI’s director of advanced manufacturing and engineering said: “Achieving SC21 silver accreditation is an outstanding achievement for the Exact Group and is testament to its hard work and commitment to grow its reputation in the global aerospace industry.

“We have a well-established relationship with the company and have supported it across a range of areas including skills development and consultancy support towards achieving the award. We look forward to seeing the future benefits of this achievement and we would encourage other local companies to participate in the SC21 Programme, to help increase global competitiveness in these very challenging times.”

Stephen Cromie added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Collins Aerospace for kindly sponsoring the Exact Group through the SC21 programme. We would not have achieved this without their assistance and keen support.”

Collins Aerospace Kilkeel’s managing director, Stuart McKee, said, “In a competitive market, it is great to see the Exact Group achieve the SC21 silver performance standard award, particularly on their first entry to the programme. Congratulations to all the team on this outstanding achievement; it is well deserved given their exceptional standards and hard work and dedication to SC21.”