The Manufacturer Podcast: How do the leaders see things?

Posted on 19 Aug 2022 by Tom St John

In this episode of The Manufacturer Podcast - A panel discussion of leaders, a European site visit and a new category at our TMMX Awards.

The John Mills Institute for Prosperity hosted a panel discussion, which included manufacturing leaders, to propose solutions to some of the issues within UK manufacturing.

We travelled up to Sewtec Automation, which is a global automation specialist based up in Wakefield as the panel discussed whether now is the most opportune moment for a manufacturing revival in the UK.

Hear what the team made of their trip to Leuven, Belgium to see additive manufacturers Materialise and learn just how wide ranging 3D printed end applications truly are.

And the TMMX Awards finalists were announced recently. Returning to this year’s event is the Manufacturing in Action category which is chosen by the editorial team. Find out which manufacturers have made the cut following particularly impressive site visits and interviews with these selected manufacturers over the past year.

Listen here!


The panel discussion at JMI included John Mills, JMI founder; Mark Cook, Chairman at Sewtec; Mike Wilson, Chief Automation Officer at MTC; Dr. Yan Wang, remanufacturing expert at Brighton University and our own Tom St John, multimedia editor at The Manufacturer. The panel was moderated by Caroline Flint, Chair at JMI.

Video courtesy of John Mills Institution for Prosperity

Mark Crook on current challenges

“One of the biggest challenges we have constantly, not just over the past few years, is getting the right resource into our industry. Getting young people excited about manufacturing and engineering and getting them to join the industry has been a big issue. Government incentivisation would be helpful, that could be through taxation, I know they’re trying to do this quite a bit already in R&D tax relief. But there just needs to be a little bit more help, I think that would help to level up the field compared with our financial colleagues in London.”

Mike Wilson on the profile and support of the industry

“There’s a recognition that there’s a lot of manufacturing in the UK, but it doesn’t get the profile and the support that maybe it deserves. There’s opportunities to build on that sound base, but it needs support, it needs facilities. It needs not only infrastructure in terms of roads and transport, but also buildings. It needs financial support, so that we can actually attract more of that next generation talent. If we can expand on what we’ve got, I think that would seriously addressed the levelling up issues that we face in the UK.”

Rt Hon Caroline Flint on the difference that MPs can make

“I was an MP for 22 years up to 2019, and for me, it was about looking at potential assets as a community and realising the job opportunities within those assets to allow for the prosperity of local families. The truth is, MPs and other politicians, at local, council and regional level, can make a huge difference. Particularly, I think, in communicating why these jobs are so important and what they mean for local people. Sometimes you can work to bring people together and for all the bad press that politicians get, I think that’s a really valuable part of the job.”

The Manufacturer MX Awards 2022 finalists announced

The Manufacturer MX Awards 2021

The finalists of The Manufacturer MX Awards will compete across 11 categories ranging from innovation and sustainability, through to supply chain, leadership and staff engagement, with one company being crowned the overall Manufacturer of the Year 2022. They go through to the second round of judging, and for the first time since 2019, the independent judging panels will be able to undertake site visits and the judging day face to face. Returning this year for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions have eased, is the Manufacturing in Action category. These finalists are picked from companies that The Manufacturer editorial team have visited in the last 12 months.

Manufacturing in Action category finalists 

Brompton Bicycles 
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners 
Siemens Digital Industries Congleton 
TSP Engineering

Last year’s awards were quite something – but 2022 promises to be bigger and better