Mark Howard, General Manager, Zettlex

Posted on 2 May 2013 by The Manufacturer

UK manufacturing needs to stop doubting and start believing. UK politicians are forever looking to Germany and asking: “Why can’t we have an economy like theirs?” There are some differences between the fundamentals of our two economies, but the things that are preventing UK industry from emulating Germany’s long running success are not physical, geographical or political – they are mainly psychological.

If Berlin had won the 2012 Olympic bid, a German person’s reaction would have been: “Great, we will now do fantastic job!” The original British reaction was: “Oh no – we’ll make a right mess of this,” – especially from the BBC, the British Bashing Corporation.

But we didn’t – we made a wonderful success of it because a group of people held their nerve, believed in a goal and focused their efforts to achieve something worthwhile. We could do with a similar, gritty resolve in UK manufacturing.

I freely admit that Zettlex has pinched the German ‘Mittelstand’ idea of being a specialist, high-tech manufacturing company. We export our precision position sensors all over the world – even to Germany. We expect that exports will shortly account for most of our revenues. I only wish we could buy more of our components from UK manufacturers.