Supply Chain Connect – Changing perspectives

Federico Ercoli reports on TM’s Supply Chain Connect event in Liverpool.

Every manufacturer will confirm: supply chain management is crucial for the success of an organisation.

For both suppliers and buyers, building up and securing an efficient supply chain has been a constant challenge, most of all, for SMEs. Breaking into the OEM supply chains that reign over UK industry has proven to be a constant struggle for them, and too often a reason for failure.

To help SMEs better understand how to overcome the issue, The Manufacturer’s events team decided to hold, for the second time this year, another Supply Chain Connect event at 1 Mann Island in Liverpool.

In partnership with the Liverpool City Region LEP and Superport, supported by nine sponsors and partners, and with more than 15 expert speakers over two days, the event saw in excess of 100 attendees participating in one-to-one meeting sessions, workshops and networking receptions.

SMEs had the chance to learn the dark arts directly from OEMs, which explained their procurement methods and how they developed their own supply chains among the different sectors: from industrial lubricants; to shipbuilders; rail; plastic injection mouldings; and logistics.

Jennifer Donoghue - Director, JPS Supply Chain.
Jennifer Donoghue – Director, JPS Supply Chain.

Manufacturing veteran Bernard Molloy, global industrial logistics director at Unipart Logistics spoke about the steps necessary to close the productivity gap, saying: “The challenge with the SME community is actually the investment that’s required to do things. Because when you think of what they have to overcome, finance is a critical issue. But there are also all kinds of complications in terms of employing people. Some of our archaic employment practices are a challenge.”

Following up on the issue of talent acquisition, Jennifer Donoghue, director at JPS Supply Chain spoke about challenging the perceptions of recruitment in the supply chain. “It’s really useful to come and hear of other people’s experiences and of people that get what we are trying to achieve and what supply chain is all about,” she explained.

“It’s still a niche industry, so it can be quite a lonely industry sometimes, because people don’t actually get it. It’s good just to come together and to collaborate.”

Peter McCabe, manufacturing development trainee at Rolls Royce was advised to attend to broaden his understanding for a secure future at the company. He said, “I’m here today to gain a bit of an understanding of the supply chain. I’m new to the business of Rolls Royce and I’m sort of building on my career. As I’ll be working in the supply chain in the future, it was decided that this would be a really good opportunity for me to expand my knowledge.”

If still uncertain on the benefits that come from attending the Supply Chain Connect, let Molloy’s testimony help you take away the doubt: “Somebody said to me earlier today this is the best networking event he’s ever been to, and he meant it.

“It was a reasonably sized SME, but he said he came here last year and he got some business and orders out of it. He’s come here today so full of enthusiasm and guess what? He’s got more business out of it.”

Ready to book your place at the next one?