After two years of remaining fairly provincial, there are signs that the Sheffield City Region’s three-day Global Manufacturing Festival is actually going global. And there is proper value-add for visiting SMEs as the organisers plan to fix business networking meetings with multinational companies.
What is the GMF?
The Global Manufacturing Festival was conceived in 2008 as a showcase of manufacturing capabilities in the Sheffield region. The Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Marketing Sheffield assembled the main players, ably supported by pro-manufacturing organisations including the University of Sheffield, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, the Cutlers Company of Hallamshire, NatWest, Tata Steel, patent attorneys HGF, and law firm Nabarro.
The Festival (or GMF)’s aim is fundamentally to highlight and create business opportunities for manufacturers in the region. In addition, it has served to showcase some of the large scale project work being done at the AMRC and the Advanced Manufacturing Park, especially the capability of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the new Rolls-Royce aerospace single crystal blade factory.
The main trade fair and factory visits are preceded by ‘Get Up to Speed’, an event at the Ekspan Blue Shed that showcases the manufacturing sector to school children, students and parents, aiming to build confidence in the sector as a good place to work. The Made in Sheffield brand, which has amassed 120+ members, supports the GMF each year and hosts its annual dinner during the event.
The GMF has hosted keynote speeches by senior industrialists including chairman of Boeing UK Sir Roger Bone OBE, Director of technology at Rolls-Royce Professor Ric Parker, Jurgen Maier of Siemens, the Head of the AMRC with Boeing Prof Keith Ridgway and the Vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield Prof Keith Burnett.
What’s new for 2013?
This event is endorsed by big names and companies and has become a firm fixture in the Yorkshire business calendar. But is the GMF truly global?
Not yet. But it plans to be and is making steady progress on its fiveyear plan. This year the festival is inviting business delegations from China, India, Mexico and Thailand. These delegates have plans to both sell and buy manufacturing services, a sound reason for some subcontract SMEs to attend. The GMF is being marketed and promoted earlier this year, and its official launch in Westminster in February will bend the ear of the political elite.
In 2013 the GMF will be hosted on the Advanced Manufacturing Park near Rotherham, a modern venue fitting for the progressive, hi-tech, multi-discipline engineering activities the GMF hopes to promote.
The event sponsor says: “Patent and trade mark attorneys HGF is working at the heart of innovation with many global manufacturers. We are delighted to be sponsoring the GMF and bringing manufacturers from all industries together to drive growth for the future.”
The 2013 Festival is divided into four industry sub-sectors: Aerospace, Medical Equipment, Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy. These themes offer knowledge transfer and, crucially, clarity on business opportunities within each. For example, utility EDF will be there to explain as much as possible about accessing supplier opportunities for their nuclear power station at Hinckley Point.
New for 2012, the Festival plans to arrange ‘speed dating’ business meetings between visiting companies and up to six multinational, prime contracting companies. Details of these will be announced shortly – follow the Twitter handle @GMFSheffield.
The GMF 2013 will again provide high level keynote speeches from both industry and senior government, and includes a strong trade show which provides delegates with the opportunity to talk to domestic and international manufacturers. “In our experience the event has been a strong catalyst to driving forward new partnerships and business,” says Harry Hutchinson, a partner at HGF.