Coverage of EEF National Manufacturing Conference 2015

Posted on 4 Mar 2015 by Jonny Williamson

As the 2015 General Election approaches, EEF's flagship National Conference today brings together the ‘who’s who’ of manufacturing and politics to debate the great British manufacturing revival.

Held at the QEII Conference Centre in London, EEF’s National Manufacturing Conference 2015 offered a varied and engaging range of topics – including panel discussions on the Best of British Manufacturing, and Sustaining the Renaissance – 20 Years on, and speakers including Martin Wolf CBE, chief economics commentor for The Financial Times, Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, and Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP – Business Enterprise and Energy Minister.

Along with searching Twitter for the hastag #EEF2015, the Editorial team will be providing you with rolling coverage from all of the sessions, so remember to refresh your browser and allow us to keep you up to date.

Panel Session 2 – Sustaining the Renaissance – 20 years on…

Panel Session 2 – Sustaining the Renaissance – 20 years on…
Panel Session 2 – Sustaining the Renaissance – 20 years on…

Brian Holliday, MD of Siemens Digital Factory:

“As a proud former apprentice, I am absolutely delighted to see the air time being given to vocational training both here and in the wider manufacturing debate.”

“We’ve been arguing for a long time for progress regarding investment, infrastructure and skills.”

“Given the proliferation of big data, technology is going to be key in the future.”

“We need to understand the art of the possible.”

“Industry 4.0 argues that fully-autonomous manufacturing is the future, and we see the PLM area as integral to that.”

Andy Wright, director of strategic technology at BAE Systems:

“I want to raise the challenge as to whether manufacturing is ready for big data.”

“Big data is going to be very big, but at the moment we don’t know how. The fear is that, if we are too complacent about it, it’ll hit and we won’t be ready for it.”

“90% of the data available in the world today has been created in the past two years.”

“Computer or IT hacks should be one of the top three risks for any company.”

“The important thing is that we don’t stand still, we continue to evolve our apprenticeships drawing on the work of organisations such as High Value Manufacturing Catapults.”

Dick Elsy, chief executive of High Value Manufacturing Catapult:

“The only way the UK will be long-term competitive, and remain there, is through investing in innovation and making step-changes.”

Pam Murphy, COO for Infor:

“Western manufacturers must compete in productivity, skills and innovation.”

“British success depends on overcoming its traditionally high cost base and tapping into markets beyond Europe.”

“IoT and Industry 4.0 is just the next evolution of joining people with devices. Equipment can now tell you, via your mobile phone, when they are down and what parts are needed to get them back up and running.”

“So, what’s next – machines that can fix themselves? Yes! As more and more machines are computer-based, many can now self-download software patches to overcome or prevent downtime.”

“There are so many technologies available today, manufacturers are limited only by their imagination.”

Sophie Thomas, co-director of design at the RSA (Royal Society of Arts):

“Take-make-dispose economy has to be transformed into the circular economy, taking that linear process and connecting it back together. We have been exploring the role design might have in that transformation.”

“It’s become really obvious to us that no one sector can solve this problem or fuel this transformation, so we are calling for  greater collaboration across all streams towards a circular system.”

“Our analysis shows that those who embrace disruptive thinking will benefit.”

“We do not currently design or produce for ease of de-manufacture. The manufacturing process at the moment, which is highly efficient, is incredibly difficult to pull apart materials, such as composites, or re-purpose them.”

“Carbon fibre is a fantastic material, but from an end of life perspective it is very difficult to recover that material. LEDs are another prime example of that. So we want to see a greater focus on how we recover materials and engage with that discussion right at the start of the design process.”

Panel Session 1 – The Best of British Manufacturing

Panel Session 1 – The Best of British Manufacturing.
Panel Session 1 – The Best of British Manufacturing.

Richard Kirk, CEO of PolyPhotonix:

“There’s a fear that talking to government is actually quite difficult, and it isn’t. Innovate has changed the way projects are funded and I think small SMEs just need to bite the bullet.”

“The government can only do so much, at some point CEOs and MDs have to stand up and apply for the funding available.”

“Continue to innovate and invest in innovation is the big opportunity for UK industry.”

Nicola Salter, HR director at Williams F1:

“We believe an interest in engineering and STEM has to be encouraged at a young age.”

“We actively encourage schools and the community to come in and see what we do.

“In 2014, we had our largest ever intake of female apprentices, all of which came to us on merit and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Continue to encourage the next generation is the big opportunity for UK industry.”

Tony Walker, deputy managing director of Toyota UK:

“The key to making continuous improvement happen is to make the generation of ideas from bottom up, providing every employee across all levels with a voice and listening to it. To facilitate this we share our company wide KPIs as well as breaking them down for each specific area.”

“This process relies on having skilled and motivated people involved in active problem solving everyday, from graduate to president.”

“To keep the UK supply chain competitive, we have to identify where we can compete most effectively. We do very well with advanced manufacturing for example, not so well in microchips.”

“If the way funding was released had less governance upfront, to become more efficient and effective, that would also have a positive impact.”

“Build capacity across your supply chain is the big opportunity for UK industry.”

Richard Hill, head of automotive and manufacturing at Natwest:

“In little more than five years, UK automotive has gone from little known to become one of the country’s leading lights.”

“UK automotive is highly investable going forward; thereis a well developed strategy between government and industry, and has wide reaching collaboration with stakeholders.”

“Collaboration across all stakeholders is the big opportunity for UK industry.”

Keynote speakers

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, leader of the opposition.
Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, leader of the opposition.

Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, leader of the opposition:

“I want to thank all of you gathered here today because you are the backbone of Britain; inventing, making and selling successfully during one of the most difficult economic periods in recent times.”

“We need to be a more productive country, creating good jobs with good wages. No sector is more important to that than manufacturing and engineering.”

“Our plan to extend prosperity starts where I think it should, with young people, developing the skills necessary to compete on the world stage.”

“If trends continue over the next five year, this country will face a shortfall of 500,000 engineers.”

“Work experience returning to the curriculum is absolutely vital moving forward.”

“Our plan for the economy doesn’t end with young people. Jobs for the future won’t come from a large number from big businesses, but rather a smaller amount but from many SMEs.”

“We need to address a historic weakness of not evenly distributing our wealth and prosperity across the country.”

“Just as we need to change the culture of where decisions are made, for government we also need to change how decisions are made as well.”

“Firms like yours rely on our infrastructure – road, rail, broadband – but it’s not just about what resources are put in, but the decisions that are made.”

“We need to hold government to count, and stop important infrastructure decisions from being delayed continuously – taking party politics out of the decision-making process.”

“Leaving the EU would be detrimental to the country, and I reject that course of action. For young people, families and businesses the EU represents best future for Britain.”

“When it comes to the way our energy market works, I don’t think it does. We need successful energy companies that will invest in the future, but you can only carry public consent on this if you have a regulatory system that works and people have faith in.”

“Science and engineering are areas of great strengths for this country, but we need to build on them for the future.”

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Business, Enterprise and Energy Minister.
Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Business, Enterprise and Energy Minister.

Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Business, Enterprise and Energy Minister:

“The success of UK manufacturing is critical to the vision that we have for a country that is balanced and the best place in the world to start and do business.”

“We will unashamedly back you with rhetoric, but crucially action as well.”

“We have acted upon your feedback regarding energy, skills and apprenticeships.”

“You told us we needed a modern industrial strategy, and in partnership we are now helping to deliver such a strategy because we believe in manufacturing. Not just because you are producers not predators, but because you provide things that other people want to buy. Ultimately, you help solve other people’s problems.”

“We have taken £10bn off the cost of domestic red tape and the first government in modern times to reduce the burden of regulation.”

“We have identified eight new technologies where the UK has the capability to become a world leader, such as robotics, and we are supporting them all the way from the lab to the marketplace.”

“When we came into government, apprenticeship programmes included those where an individual wouldn’t step foot in a workplace during its course. We have changed that.”

“You are the ultimate source of a society’s prosperity, business done right is a force for good in society.”

“We will keep taxes in low, but we expect them to be paid in full. We will keep Whitehall off your back, but we expect you to pay your suppliers on time.”

“Our new transparency measures will make payment a reputational issue.”

“Our long term economic plan addresses the long term productivity challenge the UK faces.”

“We have put in a huge amount of effort to bring back apprenticeships and change the cultural perception of what they mean, but there is an awfully long way still to go.”

Martin Wolf CBE, chief economics commentator for The Financial Times.
Martin Wolf CBE, chief economics commentator for The Financial Times.

Martin Wolf CBE, chief economics commentator for The Financial Times:

“The US and Europe have faced enormous recessions, the US economy has shrunk by almost a sixth compared to if it had continued on pre-crisis growth levels, and the UK tells a similar story.”

“UK growth rate has risen back to pre-crisis levels, though has been driven by employment growth rather than productivity, Productivity needs to return to around 2% once again to overwhelmingly return to long-term growth.”

“I expect interest rates to remain low, both here and elsewhere, for the foreseeable future.”

“We are the biggest single market the eurozone has, something many people don’t realise.”

“The oil price fall is going to cause some problems for the energy sector, those who have lent to the energy sector, and those countries who are largely dependent on oil.”

“Can the UK get back to the productivity levels we need now that the employment market has been stabilised, and ultimately can we rebalance our economy?”

“Growth for the UK truly lies in the hands of the country’s manufacturers.”

Welcome Speeches

Chief executive of the EEF, Terry Scuoler:
Chief executive of the EEF, Terry Scuoler.

Chief executive of the EEF, Terry Scuoler:

“UK manufacturing has shown seven quarters of consecutive growth, and our own survey indicates that will continue.”

“Manufacturing faces several headwinds, one of which is political…and ongoing global challenges.”

“Heathrow expansion is the preference of the majority of our member businesses.”

He  calls on the next government to support a more flexible workforce; a ring fenced and increased science and innovation budget; improved infrastructure; more secure energy and a dedication to improve skills for all.”

Head of Lombard, Ian Isaac:

“It’s largely because of UK manufacturing that the country is in such a good place to lift its eye-line to the horizon and start to plan for the future.”

“Almost £25bn spent on capital equipmnet using asset finance in UK during 2014, which equates to roughly £1 in every £4 spent.”