Manufacturing Advisory Service

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Manufacturing Advisory Service
Abbreviation MAS
Motto The manufacturing advisory service
Formation April 1, 2002; 14 years ago (2002-04-01)
Type Government agency
Purpose External technical and strategic advice for SME manufacturers in the UK
Headquarters Regional offices in the UK
Region served
England and Scotland
130 regional advisors
Parent organization
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Affiliations Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Business Link
£50 million (2012-15)
Website MAS

The Manufacturing Advisory Service is a government agency in England and Scotland that advises manufacturing companies.


It was founded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI, which became BERR in 2007) in April 2002. It was split into regions and was aimed at SMEs to offer technical and strategic advice. The regional offices were titled regional Centres of Manufacturing Excellence. There was also co-operation with trade associations, research councils and university departments. In the first year the MAS had on average improved companies productivity by 30%, reduced waste by 37%, and increased inventory turnover by 90%.[citation needed] It had been launched with £27 million funding for three years.

In many ways it is similar to what Business Link provides for all small businesses, except that Business Link may not have the in-depth experience of manufacturing, specifically the technical know-how. From November 2011 Business Link is mostly to be disbanded, due to abolishment of regional development agencies (RDAs), and replaced with regional websites. Much of Business Link's advice was previously via its extensive website. Like Business Link, MAS was funded through RDAs. Half of the MAS's funding came from its RDA and the other half came from BIS.


On 14 October 2011 Mark Prisk, a minister at the BIS, announced an overhaul of the MAS. It will offer much of what it has done, but due to the regional developments agencies being abolished, it will be a national organisation from 1 January 2012. The new national programme will be delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Consortium comprising Grant Thornton, Pera, WM Manufacturing Consortium Ltd, and SWMAS Ltd.[1]

On 10 December 2010 he had announced that the MAS would not be abolished, as Business Link will be, but will have a 25% cut in funding. It is costing £20 million a year, which will be reduced to £15 million. For the last financial year Business Link received £190 million.


With no warning, on the 27 November 2015, the closure of the Manufacturing Advisory Service was announce as part of the conservative government austerity programme, with the programme formally closing on the 31st March 2016.[2]


It has a helpline for advice. It can conduct a free Manufacturing Review on SME manufacturers, and offers subsidised consultancy (up to 50%), and has local events.

The support offered by the Manufacturing Advisory Service covers

Level 1 (Enquiries)Provided by a small team of advisors geographically dispersed round England supported by a website offeringonline support.

Level 2 (Manufacturing Review) Continue to provide 1 day (2 days for more complex businesses), on-site specialist manufacturing diagnostic review. MAC will use a new diagnostic tool based on the principles of "Manufacturing Excellence" developed in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group which includes comparisons against best-in-class. In addition, a "Fast Track" over the 'phone Level 2 will be introduced for common, well understood issues.

Level 3 (Events)Continue to provide training and networking events, including best practice visits. These will be an integral part of delivering the Business Improvement actions identified at Level 2. This will be complemented by a Sustainable Improvement Community using best practice social networking tools to provide peer-led best practice examples and lower cost forms of self-help.

Level 4 (Consultancy) Introduction of a three tier Level 4 project structure: · MAS Foundation Service: Funding up to £1,000 (or a maximum of 50%) towards an improvement project - targeted at companies who need basic low level help. · MAS Step Change Service: Funding of up to £3,000 (or 50% maximum) towards a more significant improvement programme. · MAS Transformation Service: Funding of up to £10,000 (or 50% maximum) for a strategic change to the business.

Level 5 (Referrals)MAS advisors are responsible for identifying partner organisation support but retain responsibility for referral until it is demonstrated and confirmed by the client that the partner organisation has addressed the client need.

Supply Chain Focus on helping SMEs diversify into advanced manufacturing supply chains; helping original equipment manufacturers and their supply chains develop better relationships and greater efficiency; helping groups of SMEs in supply chains or clusters interact more effectively. It will use the tools available through Levels 1 - 5 with custom implementation packages assembled to suit client needs delivered by a team of dedicated supply chain experts.

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