A manufacturing network harnessing the separate skills of six different companies has been set up in the Midlands.

The Midlands Assembly Network (MAN) is a group of component manufacturers working together to develop new business, share knowledge and best practice and find solutions.

All six member companies within the network are component manufacturers which supply complex sub assemblies to the global automotive sector and to OEMs.

Members include Brandauer Precision Pressings (Birmingham), Modular Automation (Small Heath Business Park), Alucast (Wednesbury), Barkley Plastics (Highgate), Maxpower Automotive (West Bromwich), Barton Cold-Form (Droitwich Spa).

David Spears, managing director of Brandauer Precision Pressings, said: "OEMs don't want to speak to six or seven different manufacturers. It is too expensive.

"When any member of MAN receives an enquiry about new work, project teams are selected based on agreed criteria relating to the manufacturing process."

Barkley Plastics, which employs 120 people at its base in Highgate, is a member.

Deputy chairman Maurice Cassidy said: "We are all well established companies in the Midlands, with a wealth of knowledge and expertise.

"Collectively we list most global OEM and Tier 1 companies as customers. Working together is a very European practice, which has not previously been formalised in the UK.

"Instead of going to lots of different people, we can offer a single solution."

Mr Cassidy added the MAN could also act as a positive reference for each of its members.

"If you go around a conference and see a group of companies working together that shows they all have confidence in each other.

"The fact we are working with our peers shows there cannot be a weakness in the chain, so in a way we give good references for each other."

Although the group was predominantly concerned with the automotive sector, it could also work in other areas of manufacturing, added Mr Cassidy.

Meanwhile, the group was also looking for new members. ..SUPL: