The Manufacturing Technology Association acknowledged leaders in training and collaboration among its members last night at its annual dinner in Birmingham.
Hundreds of manufacturers and industry stakeholders gathered in Birmingham last night for the MTA’s annual member dinner.
The trade association’s president Mark Ridgway OBE, also MD of machine tool and automation manufacturer Group Rhodes, welcomed guests with a challenging speech which summed up sector successes in the past year but set out a clear ambition for more growth and, crucially, investment in 2014.
“Business investment in the UK is at its lowest since 1963,” observed Mr Ridgway before optimistically pointing to MTA’s prediction that investment will grow by 6.3% this year.
Ridgway challenged MTA members to make the most of the business environment, investing in their own progress as well as seeking out equipment sales.
He urged companies however, to be mindful of a set of changes and trend to manufacturing business models and modes of doing business.
He emphasized the role of service innovation and collaboration in making the UK competitive despite challenges from low cost economies.
“We need to provide what our competitors cannot or will not provide,” he said, stressing the importance of creating a highly communicative and connected industrial community.
Ridgway finished his speech by highlighting the watchwords that ambitious manufacturers should bear in mind as they seek growth this year: maturity, alignment, confidence, horizons.
Read more about MACH with insight into the health and ambitions of the UK machine tool industry in TM’s dedicated MACH supplement which will be published in March.
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It’s no accident of course that these watchwords form the acronym MACH, also the name of the manufacturing technology industry’s biggest UK exhibition which the MTA is responsible for organising.
Following Ridgway’s speech MTA members were provided with entertainment from impersonator and comedian Alistair McGowan before hearing the announcement of MTA’s 2014 award winners.
Graeme Dewhurst received a special acknowledgement for his longstanding contributions to industry this year.
Obviously humbled by the surprise recognition, Mr Dewhurst commented: “I don’t ‘do spontaneous’, but I am honoured.”
The 2014 awards for the Best Training Scheme went to Leeds-based Craftsman Tools while Bowers Group and Sylvac SA received the Best Supplier Partnership award, which recognises effective collaboration for mutual business benefits.
The MTA also awards two regular awards to recognise young talent in its member companies.
Last night, Phil Baker of Tamworth-based CT Machine Tools was named Young Engineer of the Year while Adam Hazeldine of Holroyd Precision in Rochdale, Lancashire received the annual AMTRI Scholarship which nurtures young talent in machinery development and engineering based manufacturing.
Lucky Mr Baker also won an iPad mini in the MTA raffle draw.