Manufacturing Mondays

By Manufacturing Mondays

🎉 The Make UK National Manufacturing Conference is back!

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Manufacturing Mondays
Manufacturing Mondays
Back with a bang! 💥
After a two year hiatus, we were back for the National Manufacturing Conference at the QEII last Tuesday.
It was fantastic to have over 800 manufacturers from every part of the UK together to celebrate the work of the sector - from supporting the effort to manufacture PPE for the NHS, keeping food stocked on our supermarket shelves, to taking part in the ventilator challenge.
The key message of the day: manufacturing matters.
Throughout the day we were joined by Ministers, Government officials, industry experts and many many more to discuss all the big issues impacting the manufacturing sector. We run through the key takeaways below, and what it means for our sector.
Happy Monday! 😎

National Manufacturing Conference
Straight from the onset, the theme of the day was the importance of UK manufacturing to the success of the UK economy.
Our favourite host Steph McGovern was back to kick off the conference - a champion of apprenticeships but also the sector having previously worked in it. CEO Stephen Phipson then gave a more sobering analysis of the challenges our sector has had to face, but despite it all, order books are full, confidence is holding up, and investment is still a priority.
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2022
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2022
We then heard from our political commentators and speakers; Andrew Neil, Shadow BEIS Secretary of State Jonathan Reynolds, Lord William Hague and BEIS Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng.
Andrew Neil focused on the scarcity of labour issue, suggesting the real challenge facing businesses is the fight for talent - something most manufacturers would certainly agree with. But he also highlighted the change we are seeing in global supply chains:
Shift in market trends; retreat from globalisation, pressure for greener and ethical sources, means prices are rising as customers place a premium in security and reliability of supply chains
We then heard from Shadow BEIS Secretary of State Jonathan Reynolds, who reiterated the Labour Party’s commitment to reintroduce an industrial strategy to support the manufacturing sector:
Manufacturers need a Government that gets it. A Government that understands the need for skills strategy, sustainability and investment.
Lord William Hague then spoke about the next decade being one that will focus on innovation. Economies and countries that focus on this will prosper. He interestingly called for a Department of Science Innovation and Engineering to make sure the UK manufacturing sector remains at the forefront of this new frontier:
What is the competitive advantage of the UK after Brexit? It will certainly be the economy that brings together innovation, talent and capital in crucial industries.
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2022
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2022
We then discussed the big policy issues in our breakout workshop sessions on transitioning to net-zero, building resilient workforces, and global supply chains.
👏 A BIG thank you to the industry experts who joined us for the panels.
Here are the key takeaways from each session:
Transitioning to a net-zero economy
This workshop focused on taking stock of where manufacturers were on their net zero journey six months on from COP 26. Rosa Wilkinson, Director of Policy & Comms at HVMC set the stage setting out the importance of the manufacturing sector’s transition to net zero, the potential challenges that businesses might face, and the potential commercial opportunities that could be gained.
Our own work found manufacturers see net zero as a high priority and they are implementing net zero strategies within their business. Ava Jones from AESSEAL and Howard Pickard from LBBC gave direct business views, talking about the practical steps their businesses have taken to move towards net zero, and how they have overcome challenges and have already gained returns on their net zero investments. Finally, Dimitrios Spiliopoulos shared how digital technologies can support manufacturers on their net-zero journey no matter how big or small the business.
Building resilient workforces
Attendees of the ‘Building Resilient Workforces and Leading Successful Businesses’ breakout session identified higher-level technical skills, digital skills, and leadership and management as their immediate priorities for investment in training and development.
Panellists from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, ABB and training provider Multiverse agreed that progression and the right company culture are key to workforce retention as manufacturers fight to keep talent in their businesses and that investment in leadership and management, as well as technical skills, is a key part of achieving this.
Global supply chains
The Covid pandemic has highlighted both the strengths but also some weaknesses in the supply of raw materials and inputs as well as supply chain systems and infrastructure. In addition, the UK has undergone the most significant reset of its international trading relationships which continues to evolve.
But despite the immediate supply challenges being faced by the industry, the panellists were optimistic about the future opportunities that businesses will be able to take advantage of as the UK moves to capitalise on its strengths.
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2022 - Breakout Workshop sessions
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference 2022 - Breakout Workshop sessions
A manufacturing prospectus
We finished the conference with dinner where we were joined by Minister for Industry, Lee Rowley. In his address to manufacturers, he announced a new manufacturing prospectus - with the aim to recognise that manufacturing matters and that we must make the UK a destination to do manufacturing.
Whilst it isn’t quite the national manufacturing plan we called for in our recent levelling up work, it is a welcomed step in the right direction to providing the kind of business environment that manufacturers need to thrive - but crucially support the wider levelling up agenda.
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference Dinner - Minister for Industry Lee Rowley
Make UK National Manufacturing Conference Dinner - Minister for Industry Lee Rowley
We look forward to working with BEIS on making it a reality to transform the sector!
Mental Health Awareness Week
This week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. After two years of living through a pandemic, going back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is – is not easy. More and more we hear from manufacturers that they are placing greater emphasis on supporting their staff’s mental health, from appointing designated mental health first aiders to investing more in training senior leaders to develop a culture in which mental health needs can be discussed.
The most recent statistics show that mental ill-health now accounts for around half of all sickness absence from work, and manufacturing businesses are recognising the importance of being able to address this and provide the right support for their employees.
To support the sector, every day of this week we will be releasing a new podcast with a different guest speaker, discussing how we can overcome the mental health pandemic we are seeing and why it is so crucial to do so now.
The podcasts will have advice from leaders in the sector on what works well to help employees suffering with poor mental health, as well as what more can be done to be proactive in preventing and addressing mental health needs in the workforce.
Hear from:
  • Chloe Smith MP, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work
  • Andrew Ward, Make UK
  • Laura McBrown, G&B Electronics
  • Alison Corner, Enginuity
  • Rachel Newman, RNLI
  • Shaun Lundy, Tetra Consulting
Make UK Podcasts | Podcast on Spotify
We 💚 policy and manufacturing, so let’s talk:
📱 Twitter
📧 Email
💬 LinkedIn
🔗 Linktr
Copy editor: Bhavina Bharkhada, Make UK Head of Policy & Campaigns
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Manufacturing Mondays
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