Manufacturing leaders make their own conference

Posted on 19 Sep 2012 by The Manufacturer

Members of the advisory board for the Manufacturer Directors’ Conference met last night to celebrate the official launch of the event's 2012 marketing campaign.

The advisory board has contributed to research over the past three months which has shaped the 2012 conference agenda.

A breadth of experience and sector knowledge from members has brought insight into key sector and technology-related challenges but also highlighted areas of common interest across the manufacturing community.

A full list of advisory board members is available below and the conference agenda can be viewed on the Manufacturer Directors’ Conference 2012 (MDC 2012) website.

The purpose of last night’s gathering was to review the results of TM’s research with the advisory board and asses areas of flexibility in the programme where recent political and industry announcements, such as government’s repackaged industrial strategy, might be incorporated – ensuring that the content remains as relevant as possible.

Focusing on three key themes in the conference, board members clarified a need to exchange experiences with peers on the development of appropriate skills to support their business strategy.

The relative value of graduates and apprentices in providing this flexibility was discussed as was a requirement for more highly skilled operatives.

Surprisingly, some of those present felt that apprenticeships were not the appropriate mechanism for providing operative upskilling – the structure of apprenticeship potentially being too formal for the focussed needs of individuals or key processes.

Vincent Middleton, chairman, Newburgh Engineering

Vincent Middleton, chairman of Sheffield-based Newburgh Engineering, is an advisory board member, but also a speaker at MDC 2012. He is due to share how Newburgh has developed its in-house training schemes to leverage national frameworks but flex them to meet the distinct skills of the business. Mr Newburgh feels that Modern Apprenticeships provide just 25% of the skills his operatives need.

Access to finance and guidance in navigating foreign markets were also approved as key points within the conference and a plan was hatched to provide MDC2012 delegates with Top Tips from the board which they feel will apply to most sectors and markets.

Updating this regularly as an online resource from TM was also discussed and board members expressed a willingness to support this going forward.

Jan Ward, CEO of metalurgy specialist Corrotherm, was particualrly vocal on the subject of exports and the difficulties posed by market entry in emerging economies. She described the growing pressure being placed on manufacturers in the oil & gas industry to operate in both physically and politically challenging regions as oil stocks diminish.

RBS, sponsors of MDC 2012 and of The Manufacturer of the Year Awards, hosted the advisory board meeting last night at Coutts in London.

Manufacturing Directors’ Conference Advisory Board:

  • Allan Cook CBE, chairman, Semta, Atkins and SELEX Galileo, deputy chairman, Marshall of Cambridge
  • Professor Sir Mike Gregory, head of the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge
  • Stephen Burgess, manufacturing process and technology director, Rolls-Royce
  • Jan Ward, CEO, Corrotherm
  • Andrea Rodney, director, Hone-all Precision
  • Melanie Leech, director general, Food and Drink Federation
  • Vincent Middleton, chairman, Newburgh Engineering
  • Brian Stringer, chief operating officer, Survitec Group
  • Shatish Dasani, group finance director, TT Electronics
  • Terry Farrell, engineering and innovations director, AkzoNobel Decorative Paints EMEA
  • Graham Dewhurst, director general, Manufacturing Technologies Association
  • Paul Everitt, chief executive, SMMT
  • Ian Lomax, chief operating officer, ATB Austria Antriebstechnik AG
  • Chris Mulvihill, manufacturing director, EMS Manufacturing
  • Andy Wood, managing director, Adnams
  • David Bott, director of innovation programmes, Technology Strategy Board
  • Mike Loughran, business leader, automation & software, Rockwell Automation
  • Steve Whigham, group operations & quality director, e2v
  • Gordon Macrae, special projects manager, Gripple Ltd
  • Edward Draper, innovation manager, JRI
  • Mark Davies, operations director, eXception Group