There seems to be a tendency to talk down UK Manufacturers, which is bizarre considering the developments that manufacturers have had to adapt to over the past twenty years.
If you casually drop the word ‘manufacturing’ into a social gathering the immediate response is that ‘we just don’t make anything anymore in this country’. Either that, or people make hasty excuses to get out of the conversation.
Manufacturers in the UK have an image problem. But, at least for the first time in years, manufacturing is being positively reported by the national media and people are being reminded that manufacturing not only exists, but is growing and offers huge opportunities in the UK.
Even despite three decades of neglect, UK manufacturers remain the seventh largest manufacturing nation by output in the world. The UK Manufacturing sector contributes more to the economy than the entire financial services sector and provides three times as many jobs.
Our aerospace sector is the world’s second largest, our pharmaceutical companies are world leading and our automotive sector is currently leading the economy’s march back to growth. Statements that should warm the heart of UK Manufacturers.
British manufacturing companies have achieved this by resilience and creativity in their approach to manufacturing over the past 20 years. By becoming leaner through automation and more flexibility in the way they handle work, UK manufacturers are now among the most productive in the world, having achieved an astonishing 50% increase in productivity between 1997 and 2007.
They have done this while maintaining an international reputation for quality and ‘Made in UK’ remains a badge of quality across the globe.
That’s not to say UK Manufacturers can be complacent. Over the past fifteen years we have seen the lowest growth of the top 25 global manufacturing nations and at 13%, the sector is now growing at only half the pace of global average.
To reverse the trend in UK manufacturing we need to see greater investment in capital facilities, which has halved over the past ten to fifteen years. Also, more support is needed for British manufacturers looking to turn their ideas into world-beating products and processes.
More than anything, we need a clear vision from Government on the part manufacturing should play over the next ten to twenty years. This is not an industry you can just play at, it needs serious investment, commitment and long term thinking to secure prosperity.
If we can change the general perception and not clear a room at the mention of manufacturing, so much the better.
At LG Motion, we are constantly appraising the industry and our position within it, working with other companies to offer outsourced manufacturing and helping to develop lean manufacturing processes for our customers. We continue to invest in our capital equipment as well as our staff and training, which is helping us to offer clearer solutions for our customers.
For more information about LG Motion, and our service offering within the manufacturing sector, why not contact us today?
Or, for more industrial and other comment, visit the Blog of Gary Livingstone, MD of LG Motion.