Introducing a new voice for UK Manufacturing thought leadership

Posted on 29 Jun 2018 by The Manufacturer

Helena Sans introduces herself as Barclays' head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics (MTL) for its Corporate Banking business.

UK Manufacturing - Helena Sans has more than 20 years corporate banking experience, with over 10 years spent in various specialist debt financing roles - image courtesy of Barclays.
Helena Sans has more than 20 years corporate banking experience, with over 10 years spent in various specialist debt financing roles – image courtesy of Barclays.

As many of you will have heard, after more than a decade supporting UK manufacturing, transport and logistics (MTL) businesses, Mike Rigby is stepping across to assume the mantle of Barclays’ Head of Business Services.

I am both excited and privileged to have taken the helm as Barclays’ new Head of Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics and further our goal of becoming the number one bank to support and drive the innovation and productivity needed for the UK return to its rightful place in the world’s top five industrial nations.

In a world of fast-paced technological change, it is a thrilling time to be working in these three diverse industries, each of which forms a critical part of our economy.

Having spent the past two and a half years as Barclays’ Industry Director for the Retail and Wholesale team in the UK, I have seen first-hand the positive impact technological innovation can have and the new opportunities it can create.

I have witnessed how digital capabilities such as ecommerce and omni-channel have shaken up the entire retail industry, helping to enable differentiated and seamless customer experiences; something that absolutely has parallels with MTL.

Innovate or die

The high street has been particularly hit hard of late and you don’t have to look far to find reports of well-known brands announcing profit slumps or downsizing.

Though fashion and food look to have been particularly disrupted, every business has to innovate. Predominately, success has been achieved by leveraging the power of technology to drive greater customer experiences, sales, revenue and improve back office efficiencies.

The consumer – or client – is in control today. In the past, it was about the retailer; what the retailer wanted to sell and when. Now the consumer has so much control and will often dictate when they’re buying, what they’re buying, where and how they’re buying and from who.

Profit and margin are challenged from intense competition, structural changes are led by digital disruption. My learn from retail is that every company has to innovate early – technological change and its impact is so rapid companies have to make brave decisions early.

That scenario will no doubt be familiar to many UK manufacturing organisations, and I look forward to continuing Mike’s and Barclays’ work to support them through this time of both opportunity and challenge.

On the horizon

Over the coming months I will travel the length and breadth of the nation, alongside attending relevant events and conference, to meet and speak with as many of you in person as possible.

Like Mike, I will be publishing regular articles to help spread the inspiring stories you share with me, and highlight the key trends, opportunities and challenges we all face together – skills and lifelong learning, (particularly regarding digital and data), diversity and gender disparity, access to finance, a modern infrastructure, and global trade.

I will also be focusing on new emerging markets and how the UK can better exploit them; such as battery technology; an area the UK has already positioned itself as a world-leader in thanks to considerable support from government via its £246m Faraday Battery Challenge research and innovation fund.

In Mike’s final article as Head of Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics, he gave an overview of the changes he’s seen over the past decade and looks ahead to what the future may hold. You can read his thoughts here