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Paul Cadman Interviewed on Topical Business Issues for 2017

Top manufacturer, Paul Cadman, was recently interviewed on some of the issues currently facing manufacturing and how they may impact on businesses on the B46. Paul has received a number of accolades including one of Manufacturing Magazine's Top 100 most inspiring and influential individuals in Manufacturing; finalist in EY's Entrepreneur of the Year, 2016; West Midlands Business Masters Manufacturer of the Year, 2016; and Acquisition International's Most Innovative UK Leader for 2016. Paul has been a spokesperson on manufacturing for the region’s Chambers of Commerce.

You talked about the causes and impact Brexit at the last interview: can you elaborate further?
I have seen examples of poor practice where countries are able to get away with protecting their own positions rather than following the agreed rules. Because the UK to its membership seriously, we were penalised by the additional cost of legislation whilst some of our competitors did not have to comply.

What is the answer?
Firstly, our apprenticeship and other education systems do not produce people who are well-rounded, are critical thinkers or take a stewardship approach to career objectives. Secondly, there are too many highly capable business leaders playing it safe where with a little more aspiration they could double in size or more. We do not invest in ourselves nor do we invest in our people. We are not out there breaking down barriers to international trade and driving the government’s strategy for economic growth. Our business groups remain unresponsive caught in the headlights of Brexit, austerity and economic volatility. Who is going to take the lead? Ministers criticise business leaders who put their own interests first and yet at the same time create a culture of self-aggrandizement within Westminster and Whitehall. Businesses either fall victim to game playing and lack of planning in government or take full control of their strategies and make brave decisions that will safeguard their future profitability and as a results the communities from which they draw their people.

What would you ask politicians to do?
I actually met with the Rt. Hon. David Jones MP, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union at a recent Chamber event and posed some questions to him. The UK’s net contribution to the EU was £8.5 billion in 2015. Following Brexit there will be no structural or social funds to address infrastructure or job creation so I suggested that these funds could be invested in bringing our manufacturing infrastructure up to the level we need it to be. At the moment 80% of our exports are services: this is not sustainable. We have to address our trade deficit, which in June, was £5.1 billion. To be a successful well-balanced economy we have to make things and sell them across the world. British manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005 when 1,595,697 vehicles were produced, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 77.3% of total car production was for export.  However, as the British car industry is foreign owned, and the importing and exporting of component parts confuses rather than clarifies what is actually home-made, I hope that the Minister of State for Exiting the European Union can make the case to invest more in the infrastructure all our manufacturers need to outperform their competitors. I a world where other governments are actively investing in the industries, we are being prevented from further success. If Trump’s words come true, that the US is waiting to steal UK trade opportunities with the EU and around the globe, our manufacturing sector will never recover and the 600,000 industry jobs IPPR has suggested that we will lose by 2030, will happen unopposed. 

Tell me about other major strategic issues facing manufacturing?
The EEF published a report towards the end of 2016 on the 4th Industrial revolution – sometimes called Industry 4.0. What this is really about is how manufacturers can use new technology to help their customers exceed the expectations of their customers. It is how technology helps manufacturers move beyond simply producing things to providing value added services to customers in collaboration with other manufacturers. According to the EEF it is about how we align three things: machines and technologies collecting, sharing and acting on data between themselves; the capture of data on everything and real time analysis of that data by machines and systems; having a resilient network to link everything up. Manufacturers see the benefits as providing a quicker route to innovation and an enabler of greater ambition. It is just what we need to be able to regain the Midlands’ position as the premier region globally for manufacturing and remanufacturing. We need business leadership to secure the political support for infrastructure and incentives to underpin such a step change. At a time when Ministers are preoccupied with Brexit we do really need to create a compelling business plan that aligns with initiatives such as Smart Cities. This is an activity with which I am currently involved.

Are there any good examples of support for manufacturing locally?
I can give you two examples of what is available just around the corner: the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC) and the Apprenticeship scheme operated by BMW. The AMTC (located at Ansty Park, Coventry) has been designed to provide premium training for the next generation of engineers and technicians.  Lloyds Bank is the largest private sector contributor to the centre and is contributing £5m over a five year period as part of its commitment to support the UK manufacturing industry and to help tackle the sector’s shortfall in skills. The bank’s contribution will support over 500 trainees. BMW Plant Hams Hall Apprenticeship programme combines the expertise of a world class engineering company with locally supplied teaching within the context of the BMW Group's reputation for technical excellence and quality.

What you say to local business leaders in this area?
This is going to take significant investment and our business groups need to be lobbying to ensure that we do not fall behind in this area. They provide components to the booming auto industry and we even have a robotics company that can help us with automation. We need them to join voices and to make demands that safeguard the UK manufacturing sector. I would like the opportunity to talk to some of our local businesses and share some of their successes. If you are interested please contact me.

Last modified on Friday, 06 January 2017 09:46

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