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Product verification (PV) is a vital process

required by manufacturers to provide

complete assurance that components and

products are manufactured according to

the original design specification, thus

reducing product failure, poor performance, waste and customer dissatisfaction.

The best way of showing the importance of

accurate PV is what happens when the

process breaks down and something is

delivered to market with hidden flaws. For

example, in 2010 a leading car manufacturer

had a problem with an accelerator pedal

that saw several models, and millions of

cars, recalled across the globe.


The cost in rework terms was over $100 million, but the total cost of the measurement

failure, including the subsequent changes

that needed to be made to the process, is

estimated at more than $4 billion.

Accurate measurement is at the heart of PV

and it involves a whole range of specialist

skills, equipment, processes, environmental

conditions and standards. Work with major

manufacturers at the head of international

supply chains has shown that PV activities

account for up to 20% of the cost of the finished product.

Therefore, any solution to

make this more effective can boost business

for the UK supply chain and add billions to

the UK economy.

NPL is leading a new initiative to support UK

advanced manufacturers to improve their

product verification capabilities. The National

Product Verification Programme (NPVP) was

established by NPL in July 2013, to provide

technical services, and consultancy to identify and improve

the PV skills within workforces,

supported by an accredited training

programme. The programme is overseen by

a National Advisory Board and an

Operations Group comprising the key university partners of Bath, Coventry and


The NPVP promotes the importance of PV

skills and provides practical support in a

number of different ways. Firstly, a Health

Check service provides an in-company

review designed to quickly identify areas

where improvements in PV activities can

make an immediate impact, leading to

measurable bottom line benefits.

Identifying key members of staff and additional training requirements

is an important

part of this.

Beyond the Health Check, PV support services are

provided in many forms, dependent






A National Aerospace Technology

Programme (NATEP) aimed at small and

medium sized suppliers to help them

develop their own innovative technologies has been developed by the AGP.

The aim is to enhance their capabilities and

increase their ability to win new business

with higher tier companies anywhere in the


By developing a supply chain with a high

rate of innovation, rich in new technologies,

the UK will be better able to offer the right

products and services, at the right time and

ahead of competition - and will ensure market opportunities are

exploited with high

value manufacturing work retained in the

UK. The AGP recognises that the larger

companies, acting alone, will not be able to

make the product technology advances

needed to sustain the UK s market position

in global aerospace markets.

To remain competitive, many companies in

the supply chain need to develop greater

competences and move up the value chain.

A step change towards an R&D supply

chain is required. However, the market is

not creating this with sufficient urgency, says

the AGP. It is to counter this that it has

developed NATEP.

Grant funding of £50,000 to £150,00 is

available under the £40million programme.

To qualify projects need to comprise a supply chain technology partnership of at least

two entities and preferably three or more.

They need to be industry led and have the

objective of pulling through new technology

or process. Direct financial support will usually be up to 50% of spend. In kind matching

is expected. Outline applications for Call

2 closed on Mar 20, 2014 (final application

May, 2014). Application closing date for Call

3, Aug 2014; Call 4, Nov 2014; Call 5, May

2015. Programme ends March 2017.



on individual requirements.

The PVP will form an integral part of the

government-funded new Sharing in Growth

programme, which is providing over £110

million training and development to 55 highvalue manufacturers

in the UK aerospace

and civil nuclear sectors.


The NPVP is committed to providing long

term solutions to organisations with PV

requirements, which is why it is so important

that technical consulting is accompanied by

high quality training. It is designed to help

UK manufacturers become as self-sufficient

as possible in executing PV.

By 2018, the PVP aims to be at the centre of

coordinating UK assets, resources, capabilities and services related

to PV; recognised as

a national resource and source of expertise

in PV, supplying knowledge, training, accreditation and networking>specific, prioritised industry requirements.

Contact: Phil Cooper, National Product

Verification Programme Leader. NPL.

Tel: 0208 943 8641;


Photo courtesy Airbus


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