White knights of the roundtable

Launched in 2006 by the Midlands Aerospace Alliance and funded by industry, Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund, the £3.4m Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (ATEP) seeks to enhance competitiveness for the region’s aerospace supply chain companies through the development of technology. Edward Machin reports on the organisation’s latest roundtable meeting.

Collaboration for Success

Collaboration between universities and British manufacturing is crucial to innovation and the development of processes and products. Colin Chinery looks at some of the variations on offer in a fast-developing landscape.

In peak condition for staff productivity

For many businesses, the first whistle of the 2010 World Cup signified one of the biggest challenges in managing staff productivity. Matt Wheeler, product and marketing director at Amano UK, which designs and manufactures time and workforce management systems, discusses the key methods of ensuring successful workforce management regardless of the sporting calendar.

Bank lending: Hunting for finance in a tight market

Banks say they are open for business to manufacturers, but do they really understand the working capital needs of small firms trying to get going after a punitive two years? Borrowing terms can be harsh for companies with orders but no new assets to offer as security. Meanwhile HP options, while expensive, suit some firms as few of them demand personal guarantees. Brian Davis reports.

Standard practice

With the numbers of fines and the amounts being charged for non-compliance of environmental regulations increasing year on year, can manufacturers afford not to seek a recognised environmental standard? Mark Young explores.

UK Manufacturing must thrive

Finally it appears that the manufacturing sector is a key priority for government. It is almost impossible to pick up a newspaper without a government spokesperson stating that “a strong manufacturing base is essential for the future prosperity of the UK.” UK companies that make and export products are starting to get the attention they need, but are we doing everything possible to support this with investment, incentives and best practice?

Leaning towards consultancy

When a company whispers the suggestion of a new lean project it doesn’t take long for business consultancies to descend with promises of transformation. Jane Gray finds out from lean consultancy providers and clients about what consultants need to consider before prescribing the right medicine and what manufacturers need to do to get the most out of their investment.