British manufacturing: united we stand, divided we fall

Posted on 5 Dec 2012 by The Manufacturer

As manufacturers storm the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 league table and the Autumn Statement promises a that growth is on its way, John Hammann, SAP Manufacturing Industry Principal UKI, urges more business leaders to be ambitious and “think like a big company”.


John Hammann
John Hammann, SAP Manufacturing Industry Principal UKI

I firmly believe that the growth of Britain’s manufacturing industry is crucial to prising the country from the grasp of the ‘trip dip’.

I was therefore encouraged to see manufacturers so well represented on this year’s Fast Track 100 league table. Just three manufacturing business made it last year, but three times as many can now be found gracing its columns. No one can doubt the pressures facing British businesses for the past few years and, despite the Chancellor’s promises today of new policies and reliefs to help small and medium sized businesses, it looks like there are challenging times ahead.

But in spite of this, the nine businesses on this year’s Fast Track 100 list prove that growth is possible. With strategic thinking, innovation and the necessary business processes in place, British manufacturers can find a way to thrive and hold their top ten position in the world rankings.

Much of this has to do with recognising and acting on opportunities in the market which, judging by this year’s manufacturing front runners, are diverse to say the least. From wind turbines to drinks, packaged food to leather seating – all of these manufacturers have discovered how to put technology at the heart of their growth plan allowing them to punch well above their weight.

But it also has a lot to do with mind-set. No matter the size of the business, if you think like a big company, you can act like one. Placing innovation at the core of each strategy, embracing new approaches to challenge barriers and, just as importantly, having the kind of approach that will attract and retain the best talent out there, are key drivers to growth.

Watching and learning from these companies will provide us all with important lessons on what it takes to succeed in a less than ideal marketplace. British manufacturing is still a power to be reckoned with and it’s up to us to ensure that this continues to be the case. Not just for the sake of the industry, but for the sake of the country’s recovery overall.