The Turning Point - Part 2

June 1, 2018

In my last blog I had got to the point of outlining the opportunity that the 2007/08 recession provided for our manufacturing industries, but I also chronicled the problems that still existed within our industries borne of past hierarchical divisions and deep mistrust between Management and workforce.

So, what was, and to a large degree still is required is a plan, a blueprint:

  • To tackle the Malaise
  • To shake everyone out of the sleepwalk
  • To recognize the opportunity the Turning point has provided 

and to do these thing whilst not making the same crippling mistakes we made in the past, when inefficient, complacent, disjointed and conflict-riddled businesses watched helplessly, frozen by their own stupidity, while we lost our manufacturing reputation and market share.

Which in truth brings me pretty much up to date, and to the reason I have been chronicling this sad, sorry story of our manufacturing demise.

It has been a labour borne of frustration..........

  • frustration that we got ourselves into this mess int he first place
  • frustration that we simply didn't know how to combat the challenges when they came
  • frustration that even if we had known, we wouldn't have had the attitudes and wherewithal to join together to fight them....
You could argue that there were mitigating circumstances, because despite what we had being nowhere near good enough, we hadn't actually ever 'lost' before! In other words, it is only with hindsight that it is clear what a mess we were in.

However, we can't use that argument now.

Because now, we HAVE lost!

So now it would be criminally stupid to fail to make the most of the new opportunities afforded by the current renewed focus on manufacturing by making those same old mistakes again.

And it is this that excites me.
  • It is trying to contribute to not letting that happen that gets me up in the morning
  • It is for this reason that I do what I do
More about what I DO actually do later, but for a moment.................back to the plan!

In my mind there are 5 key things that we MUST do to return ourselves to the world’s manufacturing ‘top table’, and I genuinely believe we belong:

1) Get everyone pulling in the same direction - engage everyone in achieving success
2) Restore trust and respect - consign "them and us" to the dustbin of history, where it belongs!
3) Simplify and optimize business processes - eliminate the unnecessary and create smooth relationships and work flow across the business
4) Implement an immediate training "task force" to develop and provide the skills needed RIGHT NOW 
5) Develop a broader and deeper Apprenticeship programme, so that once again young people can be offered a worthwhile career path that does not incur the cost of University, particularly for those with greater practical skills than pure academic ability

I hope someone, somewhere is finding this interesting and relevant, and if so, please leave some comments on the site, and next time I will expand on the plan.

Thanks for reading

 


 

The Turning Point - Part One

May 13, 2018

For anyone who has managed to come across my blog, you may be wondering where I’m going with it!!

Is it just a rant from an old fool who has been unable to accept that the days of Brunel and Empire are long since past?

No.

Its not that at all.

I’m doing this to try and explain (to myself if nobody else is reading this) why I still do what I do. Why I’m still impassioned about UK manufacturing, and above all else why I firmly believe that if we learn from the lessons of the past we W...


Continue reading...
 

The Reaction

May 7, 2018

The Reaction

In my last Blog I described how our industries collapsed under the threat of low-cost foreign competition, and now I’ll consider if we were ‘innocent bystanders’ in the situation…..or whether we were complicit in our own downfall.

There was of course, some truth in our protestations.

The huge price differentials that were being achieved were in no small part due to the enormously reduced labour rates in the countries that were emerging, and their quality was indeed inter...


Continue reading...
 

The rot sets in

May 1, 2018

At the end of my last blog I explained why I felt a sense of personal responsibility for the demise of British Industry, and now I want to go on to explain why I feel EVERYONE connected with industry should feel that similar sense of complicity, whether they were involved in:

·         The governance of it

·         The management of it

·         Simply working within it

So, following the challenge from foreign competition, the ‘rot’ continued to set in……………………. 

I...


Continue reading...
 

The crisis of complacency

April 22, 2018

I ended my last blog by setting the scene of a nation who had fallen from ‘manufacturing-grace’, and that I felt in no small part, personally responsible!

So why did (and still do) I feel this way?

That’s simple. In 1973 I left school and joined British industry as a craft apprentice at British Aerospace (then BAC) in Weybridge. At the time we were manufacturing the magnificent Concorde, and I was excited and proud to be joining what I was regularly reminded was the ‘best workforce ...


Continue reading...
 

The good old days?

April 14, 2018

Who’s going to want to read anything I’ve got to say?

It’s not that I’ve got anything brand new to offer, my thoughts have been thought and brought to the world before now, and done so by far more eminent, educated and respected people that me.

After all, I’m only me.

So, who am I?

I have spent a lifetime in industry, and has observed, and been a part of the reason for, the dramatic decline in our manufacturing industries through the 1970,s, 80’s, 90’s and much of the noughties. 

“...


Continue reading...