Nine out of 10 companies which have joined the Fit For Nuclear programme would recommend it to other manufacturers, according to a new survey.
Fit For Nuclear (F4N) is a unique service which lets manufacturers measure their operations against the standards required to supply the nuclear industry – in new build, operations and decommissioning – and helps them take the necessary steps to close any gaps. F4N is delivered exclusively by the Nuclear AMRC, and supported by top-tier partners in nuclear new build and decommissioning.
Around 600 UK manufacturers have now taken the initial F4N online assessment, with most receiving ongoing support from the Nuclear AMRC’s industrial advisors and nuclear specialists. Completing the programme requires commitment and drive from senior managers, and typically takes 12–18 months.
Almost 100 companies at all stages of their F4N journey responded to the survey request in February. Nearly all are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Almost half of respondents said that they have already experienced meaningful business benefits, from demonstrable improvements in HSEQ measures to greater awareness of nuclear opportunities. A significant proportion say they have won new orders or enquiries as a result of their F4N journey – many more say it’s simply made their business better.
Around a quarter of companies said they would not have tried to develop their capabilities for nuclear sector if F4N support had not been available.
The survey results will help the Nuclear AMRC develop the F4N service to provide additional value to manufacturers.
“We welcome the frank comments in the survey about how we can refine the F4N service, and where manufacturers want to see additional support,” says Nuclear AMRC chief executive Mike Tynan. “One consistent message is the need for ongoing support after F4N granting, to make sure that companies can identify relevant opportunities and successfully bid for work. We are currently developing a number of new services to meet this demand.”
The survey also shows the appetite from SMEs for innovative R&D – 80 per cent of respondents said they would consider working with the Nuclear AMRC to solve their manufacturing problems and develop their capabilities, or are already doing so.
“Advanced technical capabilities and high-impact innovation are increasingly vital factors to winning nuclear work,” notes Tynan. “With the UK’s new build programme finally progressing, and the decommissioning programme reaching out to new suppliers, it’s a great time to start your F4N journey if you haven’t already.”
What manufacturers say about F4N:
- “F4N is essential for companies who need to improve their status.” – David Toone, W Maass
- “We are early on our improvement programme, however we are seeing significant improvements in the way our business operates.” – Peter Bruch, AE Aerospace
- “F4N has forced us to think through every aspect of our business systems and ensure that they meet best practice.” – Jeremy Kemsley-Pein, Heatsense Cables
- “We have over 20 years’ experience in the nuclear industry and we see F4N being very important for us to be considered for future new build projects.” – Paul Bunn, S&H Systems Design and Installation
- “Great programme. More help with the next steps would enhance it further.” – Matthew Heaton, DAE Systems
- “It will definitely change the company for the better, and well worth all the hard work.” – Chris Steele, WKW Precision Engineering