British Coatings Federation crowned UK’s best trade association

Posted on 7 Aug 2018 by Maddy White

British Coatings Federation (BCF) has retained its titles as Trade Association of the Year at the Trade Association Forum’s 2018 Best Practice Awards; The Manufacturer sat down with CEO, Tom Bowtell.

British Coatings Federation - Pictured is CEO Tom Bowtell (center left) as BCF pick up Trade Association of the Year 2018 - image courtesy of BCF.
CEO Tom Bowtell (center left) is pictured as BCF pick up Trade Association of the Year 2018 – image courtesy of BCF.

The British Coatings Federation represents over 140 members, 74 associate members and more than 95% of the coatings market, this includes decorative coatings, printing inks, powder coatings, industrial coatings and more.

From the automotive sector, to aerospace and food packaging, the coatings industry contributes £2.8bn to the UK economy and supports a wider £150bn supply chain, according to BCF.

The Manufacturer recently sat down with CEO, Tom Bowtell, to talk about the federation; he commented: “My overall message is that we collaborate and I think that’s what makes us as a trade body successful, we are the glue that sticks a lot of things together.”

Bowtell explained that BCF works in a horizontal sector, and that subsequently the federation is present across many areas of UK manufacturing.

He said: “Coatings touch in every part of manufacturing, when we are talking to the government, we explain that industry doesn’t work without coatings and printing inks. Many industries have a coating process at the end, whether it is inside the factory or it is in an automotive plant.

“Food packaging, when you buy a bag of oven chips, the ink on there has come from one of our members. Our products are everywhere, but we aren’t that visible as a sector because we are horizontal.”

For example, three out of four cans of paint are currently made in the UK, and Bowtell said it is “crucial” to keep a good manufacturing base of coatings in Britain for the wider supply chain.

British Coatings Federation objectives as a trade association:

  • Reduce the cost and complexity of chemical regulation
  • Enhance competitiveness
  • Promote the industry and its exports
  • Enhance the attractiveness of the UK as a manufacturing base
  • Ensure the training of the next generation of skilled workers
  • Stimulate sustainable innovation

He spoke of the impact of the coatings industry on the UK economy: “20% of the UK’s GDP is dependent on our member’s products each day, we have estimated about 300,000 people work with inks and coatings everyday.”

At the awards last month, British Coatings Federation also picked up a win in the ‘Good Governance’ category and ‘Publication of the Year’ for their annual handbook.

On BCF’s success, Bowtell said: “Overall, there is no magic formula to this, we are listening to our members, responding to them and are trying to win new business, we are trying to be effective.”

Bowtell concluded: “What is important for us is our members, to support our customers needs, the people using paints and coatings everyday, making sure that we are giving them advice, but also bringing new innovations to them to make their products even better.”