Manufacturing does matter – endnote Digby Jones

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Gradually the myth that manufacturing is a less valuable component of the economy is being dispelled.  Is it yet another American cultural import?

manufacturing 1987 text

mas logoThe Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) has launched a campaign launched to help raise the profile of SME manufacturers and their importance to economic recovery.

Engineering Capacity reports that the campaign is focused around the launch of a new website, which will be used as a focal point for SME focused breaking news, latest interviews, debates and video blogs.

manufacturing WM

It intends to discuss key challenges and opportunities in the industry and ensure that the right support is in place to encourage growth and future job creation.

Other partners involved in the campaign include BIS (the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), GrowthAccelerator, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and UKTI (UK Trade & Investment).

The Manufacturer reported that in Manufacturing Week, at the end of November, the spotlight was firmly on SMEs. On day three of the week – centred on innovation James Pozzi of MAS did a whistle stop tour of the West Midlands to visit some of the players driving ‘the innovation game’ in the region. While statistics tell you the region’s manufacturing has been one of the slower areas to recover, the reality in the form of the Innovation Road Show betrays this. See more at: http://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/innovation-in-the-west-midlands/

Nick Brainsby, of investment company Pemberton Capital, agrees with Pozzi: “I am also regularly surprised and impressed by the level of genuine innovation you see in smaller companies. Yes, the big boys tend to get the headlines, but the genuine breakthroughs or new technologies come from England’s SMEs…usually without huge budgets. It’s amazing what can be achieved at the coalface when a practical problem needs solving”.

He reflects that the high profile collapses of MG Rover, Peugeot’s Ryton plant and AGCO – made the banks, financiers and less conventional funders more than a little sceptical about the potential of the sector:

“Fantastic engineering businesses with great potential have been turned away when pitching for cash to aid their expansion, whilst struggling companies have had a possible life jacket ripped away due to over cautious decision makers. The latter is often out of the hands of management and down more to external market and economic factors . . .”

He concludes that there is now a strong business case for investing in UK manufacturers.

digby jones2Digby Jones writes:

All my adult life I have believed in something I call socially-inclusive wealth creation. It is possible to create wealth (and lots of it) but also be an agent for good in our communities.

“Capitalism with a human face” if you like:

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  • Train your people,
  • be sensitive to your environment,
  • be responsible with your supply chain,
  • show (and not just talk about) that your care for your employees does not end as the shift leaves the factory gate.
  • Use your position in the locality, your brand with people, your clout and your financial muscle to reach out, down, round and under those who can’t in our society,
  • And be living proof that for the Good Samaritan to do good, he had to have a few bob in his pocket!

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Good to be able to agree with him – for once!

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