Another Successful WEAF Annual Conference

Published on: 23rd February 2017

“Really enjoyed the speakers, and a great venue”
“A refreshing change to hear leaders speak frankly about the industry”
“This has been an outstanding success for us to exhibit here – we will undoubtedly get new customers”
This is just some of the immediate feedback from delegates and exhibitors who attended yesterday’s WEAF Annual Conference at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol.  Over 200 delegates and 50 exhibiting companies enjoyed the excellent new venue for the WEAF Conference, and took full advantage to network with fellow professionals and experts, as well as showcase their products and services.
Focusing on the Conference theme of ‘Competitiveness in Brave New World’, Colin Smith, Chair of AGP and Group President Rolls Royce, along with Paul Kahn, President Airbus UK, opened the Conference with their keynote briefings on how AGP and Airbus view the industry landscape in light of Brexit.  Delegates then had the opportunity to quiz both leaders in a highly informative and interactive Q&A session.
The SME perspective was well received from Andrew Hopcraft, MD Helipebs, who explained the merits and advantages of gaining a Queen’s Award for Exports.  Steve Puetz, CFMS, then highlighted the increasing importance of Industry 4.0 and how the whole Supply Chain can take advantage of high power computing and modelling to achieve breakthroughs in this new paradigm.  And the morning session was concluded with Clive Lewis, Achieving the Difference, giving delegates an update on the aerospace global market and how servitization is changing business models throughout the Supply Chain.
After a busy networking buffet lunch, the afternoon session kicked off with Chris Wilson, WEAF Chairman and VP Production Safran Landing Systems, explaining how WEAF aims to implement a number of changes in its continuing effort to improve value to members.  The Conference then gave an excellent unplanned opportunity for Bloodhound SSC to bring delegates up to date on progress of their phenomenal project, how it’s engaged with over 1,000,000 students to promote STEM, and (the reason for the unplanned part) how the project needs the immediate help of businesses to manufacture a number of components to keep the project on track – WEAF delegates and members responded amazingly, and the Bloodhound team now has many tangible offers of help.

Conference was concluded with a presentation from a very progressive Japanese SME, YSEC Group.  Mr Yamauchi, President of the Group, explained the challenges of the Japanese aerospace supply chain, and how the Group has invested in a ground-breaking Flexible Manufacturing System that enables YSEC to produce complex safety-critical precision components for aerospace and medical, yet reduce labour costs by a sixth!
Undoubtedly, the 15th WEAF Annual Conference was a resounding success for all who attended – a superb and full exhibition space, and excellent networking for over 200 delegates.  A very big thank you to our Conference sponsors – Atkins, Airbus, Bouygues, KDC Resource, Kyocera SGS – and of course, a huge thank you to all our speakers, exhibitors and delegates.
We aim to make the WEAF 2018 Conference even better, so watch out for details in Autumn this year!