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Editor’s comment

The storm after the calm What a month September was! After the August dip in news and manufacturing output, we kicked off with an encouraging recovery in PMI figures and ran through 30-days of almost non-stop headline-hitting announcements. Jason Holt confirmed and exposed failure in supporting the uptake of apprenticeships among SMEs (p34-35) and Vince Cable revealed government’s stab at a real industrial policy (p18) – neatly timing this so that the sudden departure of Mark Prisk as Business Minister and the the arrival of his replacement, Michael Fallon, faded conveniently into the background. Then BAE Systems and EADS shocked us with the revelation of an aerospace mega-merger (in revealed its news) and – most importantly! – shortlist of dynamic manufacturing companies vying to top up their trophy cabinets at this year’s Manufacturer of the Year Awards on November 21 (p16). But how much momentum for growth – the daily obsession of our beleaguered government – does this clamour truly indicate or inspire? According to research from Lloyds Bank, after a disappointing first half of the year, 2012 should close with a manufacturing turnaround. Exchange rates, slowing growth in unit wages and a fall in raw material costs all suggest that UK manufacturers are manoeuvring into favourable positions for expansion, says Lloyds. But it takes more than an improvement in the macroeconomic outlook to actually achieve growth. A company must have the leadership, ambition, strategy and capability to exploit its environment if it is to succeed. The Manufacturer Director’s Conference, on November 21, will this year focus on how to ensure that all these elements are in place – so that when the time is ripe UK manufacturers can seize opportunity with both hands.

Cover image: Find out what manufacturing leaders had to say about the ‘new’ industrial strategy on p18.

A single company may not be able to argue with stubbornly sluggish demand across key markets. But you can make your own luck to some extent by finding out about available support or or funding mechanisms for: skills, equipment, IT infrastructure, R&D and process improvement and leveraging them for all they’re worth. Jane Gray, Editor

18 26 34 60 1

The team Nick Hussey, Managing Director Nick has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry spanning titles in the UK, US, Asia and Australia. In addition to his commercial experience Nick has also worked in government, spending a year as Managing Director of Manufacturing Insight, a programme aimed at changing the image of Manufacturing. He holds several non-executive directorships and is a founder member of the IET’s Manufacturing Policy Panel.


IT Editor Malcolm Wheatley

Associate Editor Roberto Priolo

Reporters George Archer

Tom Moore


Art Director Martin Mitchell

Henry Anson, Sales Director Henry is a shareholder in SayOne Media and is responsible for the company’s commercial activities, developing new concepts and products for ’s readership. Henry is keen to build a bridge between the manufacturing community and the services sector which supports them.

Designers Alex Cole Vicky Carlin Nick Bond

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Will edited for two and a half years and now is working to expand the SayOne Media publishing portfolio. He is responsible for the launch of new reports and special and for the maintenance of editorial supplements for standards across SayOne Media publications. Before joining SayOne Media, Will worked for Euromoney and IPC Media.

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Jane joined SayOne Media in 2009 for the launch of the Lean Management Journal, sister publication to . Reporting concurrently for , Jane focused on industry skills development features and lean enterprise until she became editor in June 2011.

Tim Brown, Web Editor Tim joined SayOne Media in 2009 after working as a journalist for six years in Australia on a range of lifestyle and business magazine publications. His primary areas of interest include the automotive industry and business development.

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Contents 04 News and regular columns A summary of manufacturing news and events along with commentary on industrial research and policy

11 The Naked Engineer

At large in China but hamstrung by the Bribery Act

14 Lean on me

Roberto Priolo, editor of Lean Management Journal, brings updates from the growing international community of lean practitioners

18 Lead Industrial Strategy Uncovered: It’s been a long time coming but on September 11 the Business Secretary unveiled government’s long term industrial strategy. asks industry leaders what they think of the strategy’s five key pillars and how likely it is that that this plan will go the distance

26 Interview Radio-head: Keith Attwood, CEO of e2v talks with Will Stirling about diversification and business restructuring in the world of semiconductor manufacturing

Pillar features 34 Workforce and Skills

Appropriate apprenticeships: Following the Holt Review of SME apprenticeship provision Semta shows what it is doing to overcome barriers to greater apprenticeship uptake in manufacturing

38 Employee of the month: James Watmoore, manufacturing engineer, Darchem Engineering

40 Manufacturing Leadership

Signposts for growth: It’s out there – but how do you find it and how do you prepare to take advantage of it when you do? Tom Moore finds out

42 Finance and Professional services

Your own personal Judas: Insider fraud is on the rise. about the manufacturing industry’s enemies within

finds out more

52 Manufacturing Technologies

Perfectly composed: What exactly does strength in composites manufacturing mean to the UK? Will Stirling investigates

54 IT in Manufacturing

A flexible friend?: Malcolm Wheatley explains why one size does not fit all when it comes to ERP systems and what flexibility in IT infrastructure looks like today

October in-bound supplement 71 Energy: Energy optimisation gadgets

What technologies are available to help manufacturers improve energy efficiency and optimisation in their plant and equipment? explores.

Manufacturinginaction Each month conducts interviews and case studies with companies from the whole gamut of UK manufacturing from large multinationals to niche SMEs across sectors. This month visits:

84 H+H UK – Building materials 88 Atkins – Engineering services 92 Last Word

Jane Gray questions the level of commitment behind seeing low carbon innovation change the way we live and work


Manufacturing LEISURE MARINE

PSP Southampton Boat Show 2012 - What the exhibitors said: Cornish Crabbers Peter Thomas, managing director of Cornish Crabbers, a yacht manufacturer based in Rock, Cornwall, said: “The PSP Southampton Boat Show is an international platform for sales. We build all our boats to order, so the sales we make here will see us through until the Dusseldorf Boat Show in January.”

Princess Simon Clare, head of marketing for Princess, said: “It is an important show as it provides a great platform for us to showcase our products. It’s important on an international level too, as in the boat industry there are not many opportunities to see all the boats together like this.”

Boatbox Sunseeker’s new Predator 80 was launched at the PSP Southampton Boat Show 2012 The PSP Southampton Boat Show ran from September 14-23 and attracted nearly 12,000 visitors. The show is now in its 44th year and had over 1,000 boats on display as well as hosting manufacturers of parts and accessories for the leisure marine industry. According to the British Marine Federation this industry is worth nearly £3 billion to the UK. Over the course of the show there were 18 global and 60 UK launches of power, motor and sailing boats, including 30 unveilings on the first day. F1 star Jenson Button and racing pundit Eddie Jordan stole the headlines as they launched two new yachts for British yacht-builder Sunseeker – the Portofino 40 and Predator 80. Figures show that the leisure marine industry is weathering economic uncertainty well though there has been a 2% decline in trade during the last six months.


Boatbox displayed its car roof box that transforms into a dinghy. The Dorset-based SME had a stall last year to display its prototype and returned in 2012 with the finished product. Boatbox inventor Mark Tilley said: “I have spent a lot of money getting the product to market, now it is in production I feel we are finally ready.”

R&D Marine R&D Marine showcased its range of flexible shaft couplings and engine mounts at the show for the 25th year. Roger Firth, director of R&D Marine said: “I sell to all major engine companies, being at the Boat Show means that if they have a problem, they can come and talk to me face to face.”



‘Airbus’ is being considered as the new name for the aerospace megacompany, worth Eu38bn, to be formed from a merger between BAE Systems and EADS. The proposal to use Airbus as the new umbrella name came from EADS but BAE is resisting the move due to concerns over the effect it would have on BAE’s position with US customers. Airbus, EADS’ civil aerospace division, is the biggest rival to Boeing – the leading US name in civil aerospace and the two companies have a bitter past of controversial competition. An aerospace spokesperson, unrelated to BAE and EADS told The Financial Times that using the Airbus name would “be anathema to a lot of Americans.”

Construction began on Sheffield’s new £8.5m University Technical College as part of a nationwide plan to raise the level of industrial skills in the UK. The college will become the first UTC in Yorkshire when it opens in September 2013 and one of 18 such schools across the UK. The facility will provide specialist vocational learning, with an emphasis on engineering and digital skills, for 600 students aged between 14 and 19. The curriculum will be employer-led.

BAE Systems is unhappy with EADS’ suggestion of ‘Airbus’ as the new name for the aerospace super power to be formed from a merger of the two companies

News INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY Business Secretary Vince Cable announced details of a government industrial strategy which, government hopes, will provide a long term structure for business confidence and UK growth. Dr Cable set out five areas in which intervention could boost economic growth. The five pillars of the strategy are: 1. Business bank: a state-backed lending institution to provide business with easier access to loans at more preferential rates; 2. Sectors: defying Opposition calls of ‘picking winners’ government has nominated key sectors for priority investment and support. These include automotive and aerospace 3. Technologies: the development of “nascent disruptive technologies” in which the UK has a good knowledge base and the potential for significant competitive advantage. Technologies identified so far include synthetic biology, graphene, intelligent sensor networks, service robotics and energy harvesting 4. Skills: the Government’s skills strategy will maintain its focus on apprenticeships. Cable announced the first round of winners in the £250m Employer Ownership Pilot scheme 5. Government procurement: is to become clearer – particularly for SMEs. In April the Government published £70bn of future contracts in 13 sectors over the next five years. Cable also assured that government is pushing for change in EU rules on government procurement practices See p18 for more.

Vince Cable announces his industrial strategy at Imperial College London on September 11.

GOVERNMENT EVENTS Members of the advisory board for the The Manufacturer Directors’ Conference met at Coutts in London to celebrate the official launch of the event’s 2012 marketing campaign. The industry-led advisory board has contributed to research over the past three months which has shaped the 2012 conference agenda. A breadth of experience and sector knowledge from members has brought insight into key sector and technology-related challenges but also highlighted areas of common interest across the manufacturing community such as skills, exports, access to finance and innovation. The conference will dig deeper into these challenges to discuss specific routes to building operator skills and management capability as well as how to identify international business opportunities and position for growth. Advisory board members, include representatives from large firms like Rolls-Royce and e2v and also SME organisations like Newburgh Engineering, Gripple and Corrotherm.

Michael Fallon, deputy chairman of the Conservative party, replaced Mark Prisk as the business minister as part of David Cameron’s government reshuffle. It is believed that the appointment is an attempt to appease critics of Business Secretary Vince Cable within the Conservative Party. Fallon, served as junior minister in the Thatcher government. A spokesperson from the Technology Strategy Board described him to TM as “a smooth operator” who was quick to assure industry that his appointment would not bring changes in policy in its wake but seek to drive existing measures for industry support harder and faster.

PHARMACEUTICALS Alliance Boots will acquire a 12% stake in Nanjing Pharmaceutical Company, the fifth largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in China, for £56 million. On completion of the transaction, which is subject to various regulatory approvals, Alliance Boots will be the second largest shareholder in the company with Board and operational management representation. Last year Nanjing Pharmaceutical Company Limited, which is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and operates distribution centres in 12 cities across China, recorded sales of around £2bn.


Manufacturing RESEARCH RBS and Lloyds have used the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending scheme to launch new funds targeting cheaper loans to SMEs.

WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group) is to open a new energy storage R&D centre with funds from the Government (£9m) and the lottery (£4m). Research will focus on the development of batteries for hybrid and electric-powered vehicles. The centre will be based within the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at the University of Warwick. The Government has promised to invest £400m to develop the market for hybrid and electric vehicles over the next four years, which is currently worth around £250m in the UK.

Photo courtesy of Images of Money



The Government has made an £11.2 million pot available for innovative offshore wind technology projects. The funding will be delivered through the Technology Strategy Board and will be split into two parts, both of which aim to stimulate innovation throughout the offshore wind and marine supply chains. Grant funding of £10m will be made available by TSB, in partnership with the Department for Energy and Climate Change, for feasibility studies (£3m) and component technologies development and demonstration projects (£7m). The second part of the fund – constituting £1.2m – will establish knowledge transfer partnerships to build innovation capability in UK businesses.

RBS and Lloyds Bank launched new or modified versions of lending schemes designed to help small and medium-sized and ‘mid-cap’ businesses to access credit. The facilities both take advantage of the Funding for Lending scheme, where the Bank of England provides cheap money to banks in exchange for assets as security. RBS launched the second version of its Manufacturing Fund, designed for smaller companies which offers cheaper borrowing rates and favours manufacturing companies, while Lloyds Banking Group introduced “Lloyds Funding for Lending”.

AUTOMOTIVE On September 10, Toyota Manufacturing UK celebrated 20 years of manufacturing vehicle engines at Deesside, Wales, with the First Minister for Wales as the guest of honour. Since the start of production in 1992 the plant has produced over 3.7 million engines in total and was the first plant outside Japan to manufacture Toyota’s class leading Hybrid engine. The Engine plant currently supplies Toyota plants in Europe and across the world including Africa, Japan and South America. The manufacturing facility in North Wales currently produces 1.6ltr and 1.8ltr petrol engines and 1.8ltr Hybrid engines.


The Raspberry Pi bare-bones computer will now be manufactured in Wales at the Sony Technology Centre. Image courtesy of Mike Cough


Over 300,000 units of the Raspberry Pi, a credit card sized bare-bones computer, designed to encourage interest in computer programming, will be produced in Wales, at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed. The announcement came after a deal between Sony and the computer’s distributor Premier Farnell. The decision to produce it in Wales will create 30 jobs. Delivering the product within budget has previously represented a barrier to UK production. The Raspberry Pi retails at just £16, a price tag essential to its mission to provide children with access to low cost computer programming tools. Sony Technology centre is shortlisted for TM’s 2012 Leadership and Strategy Award (the winner will be announced at a ceremony on November 21 in London).

News FOOD AND DRINK Milk processing company Arla Foods has started manufacturing Anchor butter in the UK, after moving production from New Zealand. Production takes place at a plant in Westbury, Wiltshire, in which Arla owns a stake together with First Milk and Milk Link. The site will eventually manufacture the entire range of Archor products, while at the moment only block butter is to be produced there. The decision to move production to Wiltshire was partially due to Arla’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint.

EDUCATION Education Secretary Michael Gove announced the GCSE exam system will be replaced by the English Baccalaureate Certificate. Mr Gove said GCSEs were a type of qualification designed “for a different age and a different world.” He added that the new system will ensure “truly rigorous exams, competitive with the best in the world”. Students starting secondary school this year will be the first to take the new exams in English, science, math, geography, history and languages in 2017.

GOVERNMENT Government has announced plans for a set of new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT), to build skills and knowledge in macromolecular therapies, continuous manufacturing and crystallisation, and ‘ultra precision’. £14.1m of government money will be invested in these centres. One CDT will be at University College, London in the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies. Prof David Delpy, CEO of EPSRC welcomed the funding and assured that, “The whole landscape in which academic research is done has changed dramatically. We have an academic base now that is incredibly engaged with industry. The UK is second only to the US in terms of the number of collaborations, and I suspect per capita we are number one.”

Datesfor yourdiary October


The Manufacturer magazine’s ERP Connect in Daventry minimises the time and effort involved in qualifying potential Enterprise Planning software vendors, offering you the opportunity to see the best in class all in one place, all at the same time. For more details contact Benn Walsh on 0207 202 7485 or email


The Innovate to Grow Conference 2012 bring to Birmingham case studies on collaborating with universities, applying new technologies and taking innovation from concept to manufacture. Contact Benn Walsh on 0207 202 7485 or to hear more on this event

31-1 Nov

The Lean Management Journal’s two-day Lean Immersion Programme is taking place at Accolade Wines in Bristol, with additional speakers from British Gypsum, GKN and Cardiff University. Contact Benn Walsh on 0207 202 7485 or email to find out more



The Composites Engineering Show will take place at the NEC in Birmingham, with presentations on composite materials technology, bio composites, processing methodology, simulation of processing, automation and composites training. For more info and booking details visit


Automotive Engineering and Aerospace Engineering 2012 are co-located with the composites event at the NEC in Birmingham. Launching this year, it is the UK’s first exhibition to showcase the latest engineering services, design and production technology, specialist parts and component suppliers, allowing visitors the chance to source new technologies and service partners.


The Manufacturers’ Directors Conference 2012 takes place at Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London, accompanying TM’s annual awards. With manufacturing case study presentations, thought leadership keynotes and lively debate the conference is a valued forum for industry. For more information visit


Join over 600 industry leaders at The Manufacturer’s Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony 2012 at Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. We will be announcing the winners of the Manufacturer of the Year awards providing entertainment until the small hours. Contact Benn Walsh on 0207 202 7485 or for more info


Albion Overseas is hosting Russia: Practical Solutions 2012 in Newcastle, bringing a comprehensive range of advice on exporting to one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Saving money, finding distributors, product certification and freight will all be covered. Call 01732 783 555 or email for further info


The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is hosting a one day seminar on Manufacturing Strategies for the Future: Supply Chain Integration at Ansty Park in Coventry. Visit or email for more information



Looking at the enablers for transformation, including employee engagement and leadership, the Lean Management Journal’s Lean Immersion Programme will visit BAE Systems’ site in Samlesbury for two-day tour packed with a range of seminars. Contact Benn Walsh on 0207 202 7485 or email to find out more

For all of the latest news in the manufacturing world visit


ManufacturingAppointments UK Appointments


Phil Wild James Cropper

Paper manufacturer James Cropper appointed Phil Wild as CEO after Alun Lewis announced his decision to step down. Mr Wild has a strong commercial and manufacturing background with over 20 years’ experience in industrial,

healthcare and security markets. Most recently he was the managing director for 3M Security Printing and Systems, business director of 3M Cogent Systems GmbH and EMEA business director for 3M Security Systems Division.

Dick Elsy The High Value Manufacturing Catapult

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult has announced the appointment of Dick Elsy as its first full-time chief executive officer. The Catapult aims to bridge the gap between business, academia and other research organisations to support UK manufacturing in

the commercialisation of new technologies. Mr Elsy, previously CEO at technology and transmission manufacturer Torotrak, is a chartered engineer, fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and a former director and trustee of EngineeringUK.

Steve Barnes The Food and Drink Federation

The Food and Drink Federation appointed Steve Barnes as its new economic and commercial services director. Mr Barnes joined FDF at the end of August, following 17 years at IGD where more recently he has worked as a director in a variety of

business development positions. FDF director general Melanie Leech said: “Steve’s appointment will be pivotal to delivering our shared ambition to grow our highly successful industry by 20% by 2020.”

Dominic Lowe was appointed chairman of the UK Snack, Nut and Crisp Manufacturers Association (SNACMA). Mr Lowe is MD at Kettle Foods. He joined the company in 2011 after eight years working for Cadbury. Previous to this he worked for several other major brands in the premium food and drinks category including Schweppes and Diageo. Mr Lowe succeeds James McKinney, previously of Tayto Group, who stepped down from the role of SNACMA chairman last year.

Business secretary Vince Cable announced the appointment of two new members to the governing board of the Technology Strategy Board: Doug Richard and Hazel Moore will serve up to June 2015. Mr Richard is an entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in the development and leadership of technology and software ventures. Ms Moore is chairman of FirstCapital, a technology-specialist investment bank which she co-founded in 1999.

Ex-stock supplier of non-metallic electrical enclosures Spelsberg appointed two area sales managers, Daren Field and Clare McCusker. Mr Field will work with the South West, the West Midlands and Wales. He has worked in the electrical industry for over 15 years. Ms McCusker will concentrate on the North East and Eastern England. She began her career working with a global supplier of electrical distribution and automation control equipment, then moving on to become a key account manager for a provider of electrical connectivity and housing solutions.

International Appointments Johnson Controls, the supplier of automotive seating, interiors and electronics, appointed Alexander Zaytsev as general manager for the company’s Automotive Experience business in Russia. Mr Zaytsev previously worked for 13 years in various positions for a global automaker in European markets including Russia. For the past three years, he has served as the company’s head of purchasing in Russia.

Birkenhead-based trade body Mersey Maritime, which represents more than 1,700 firms supplying the maritime sector, appointed marketing coordinator Sarah King from international shipping firm Atlantic Container Line. John Weatherall joins as business coordinator from a finance position with Maritime and Engineering College North West, which is also part of the Mersey Maritime Group.

Robert Brevelle was appointed president of e2v aerospace and defense, the provider of technology solutions to the US mil/aero marketplace (p26). He previously held the role of vice president of business development and marketing at Advanced Reconnaissance Corporation. He also worked at DRS Defense Solutions, Rockwell Collins, L-3 Communications and Raytheon. Mr Brevelle will be based at the company’s Milpitas, California facility.

To notify The Manufacturer of your company’s appointments, please contact Roberto Priolo at: or: 0207 401 6033

Delighted. Proud. Ready to use our Manufacturing expertise to help you achieve more. Having won this award for the second time in three years, we’re naturally delighted and proud. We’re also very grateful to our clients, partners and staff for making it possible. Indeed, what gives us greatest satisfaction is that the award criteria recognised the powerful combination of eBECS’ business acumen, technological expertise and the very positive feedback from our clients.

As specialists in Manufacturing, our aim is always to delight clients by implementing proven Microsoft Dynamics® AX and Microsoft Dynamics® CRM solutions that drive efficiency, profit and growth. This award inspires us to achieve even more on behalf of existing and new eBECS’ clients. Thank you. If you’d like to achieve more with Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, let’s talk. Call Stephen Wilson on 08455 441 441 or email

eBECS Limited, Enterprise House, Bridge Business Centre, Beresford Way, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S41 9FG Tel: 08455 441 441 Fax: 08455 441 728 Email:

Offices in: United Kingdom | North America | Kingdom of Saudi Arabia | Jordan | China



Communicating visually


It is often said that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. In fact, says Dr Clive Kerr, a really effective graphic can be worth far more but all too often graphics do more to confuse than enlighten.

raphics are used all the time in the business world, with the aim of conveying information in a succinct and effective way. But graphical representations often require considerable verbal explanation in order to communicate anything to the average viewer. Worse they can actually put the reader or audience off altogether and discourage any further interest in the topic. Some potential pitfalls for the inexperienced graphic creator include: Overloading a visual with too much information and complexity Adding ‘visual clutter’ such as unnecessary colours and icons Trying to impress with extra decoration that adds no extra information A good visual should be aesthetically attractive, but above all it should create a clear and relevant message that draws the reader in. It should sustain the viewer’s interest by providing answers to an issue that concerns them – or by raising further questions to consider. There are two main aspects to think about when creating a graphic: Selecting and editing the content and choosing the most appropriate format (process map, roadmap etc) Using the best design to ensure the reader can quickly grasp the key messages and follow the flow of information through the graphic Graphics used to convey business strategy need to communicate clear goals, together with the steps required to achieve them. They should be geared to the needs of their intended audience, focusing on the key issues to be communicated. Ideally they should show different functional groups how they play their part in the organisation as a whole.

Scan the QR code for more information about this event visualstrategy


Dr Clive Kerr is a Research Associate in the Centre for Technology Management at the Institute for Manufacturing. He will present a course on ‘Visual approaches for strategy and innovation management’ in Cambridge on Wednesday 7 November 2012.

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As EEF’s latest survey highlights that manufacturers are facing the toughest trading conditions in three years, Terry Scuoler, CEO of the manufacturers’ organisation, calls on government to urgently address economic growth.


ur message to government is this: We need we know what you government to be are trying to as relentless and do on the deficit, but we need a determined on clear plan on growth. growth as it has There is a consensus that before been on reducing the deficit the recession our economic model was wrong– and that now we need a better balanced economy. We know that UK manufacturing, with its focus on investment and exports, can help recovery and be a driving force behind this new economic model. But our economy has stalled and with it efforts to rebalance. To get things moving again we need to re-clarify what kind of economy we are trying to build and the role of government in making it happen. Firstly, we need government to be as relentless and determined on growth as it has been on reducing the deficit. In the Budget 2010 the Chancellor set out the fiscal mandate, providing a clear set of measurable, independently monitored, targets for public finances. We are lacking a comparable approach on growth. This is vital. Every business knows that you need to cut costs in tough times, but you also need a strategy to move forward. Government must show us a crosseconomy industrial strategy, setting out its route to a better-balanced economy. This shouldn’t be about supporting manufacturing alone, we need policies which will help all companies seeking to grow through exports and investment. Step two is a coherent approach to supporting this type of growth across government. Too often, welcome initiatives to reduce tax burdens or increase apprenticeships, for example, have been undermined by policies in other areas like energy or regulation that add to companies’ costs. A third and final element to get our economy going is accountability. We’d like to see a Cabinet Committee for Growth to hold departments to account and progress should be independently measured and reported every year alongside the Budget. EEF has summed up its vision of how to put these points into practice in a report on Industrial Strategy (available on We’ll be pursuing its application with all political parties, beginning at fringe events around this month’s party conferences, through to the Autumn Statement and at our national conference next March, just before the Budget.

Monthly columns

Thenaked naked engineer The inscrutable Orient An involuntary sense of fair play hampers NE’s ambitions in China


anded in Beijing twelve hours after leaving Heathrow. BA business class is really going downhill – not a stewardess under forty and not even so much as a hot towel to mop away the executive stress of running a top flight engineering business. Consumed as much of BA’s passably decent champers as I could manage while retaining the ability to stay upright and took the opportunity to look at the latest absurd initiative from Hemlock Engineering’s compliance group – bribery and corruption training. I was a bit confused at first as I was expecting it to tell me how to get away with it. Not that I’m generally for inflating official salaries – would rather it went on my expense account – but needs must, and in some places you have to go with the flow. Got it sorted out eventually though – seems that greasing the wheels of business is a thing of the past. Somebody needs to tell them that any machine without grease seizes up pretty bloody quickly. Going to have to pass up that half case of single malt I’d been offered though by the look of it – damn! I’m met at the airport by Hemlock’s China area manager Ho Lee Fook, thankfully known as Lee to his friends. Wash and brush-up at the hotel followed by dinner and then to a bar with Lee to discuss our China strategy. Sat next to a gorgeous, long-legged creature in a silk dress. Lee winked. “Raydee of the night,” he whispered. Encouraged, I decided to impress by practising my Chinese. “Duo shao qian yi wan shui jiao?” I enquired. She almost fell off her stool laughing and Lee explained that instead of asking her, “How much for one night?” I’d inadvertently asked, “How much for a bowl of dumplings?” Easily done. I asked Lee to fill me in on our latest opportunity in China – a major contract pending to supply engine control systems to the Chinese airforce. “Ahhh so” began Lee. No need for that sort of language, I thought, then realised he was

just kicking off in Chinese style. “Need to huv beeg bunkwet with air Rice-Marshall” said Lee. “Much drinking and women and ajun need to do mush wok, you know.” He winked. I presumed he was telling me our agent needed to grease a few palms. “Ah, no, we can’t do that sort of thing,” I said, recalling the dire threats in my recent training of spending time at her Maj’s Royal pleasure if we so much as eyed proffered gifts or lavished

£Four million quid contract down the pan for the sake of a few plates of crispy duck and some falling over juice.

a prospective client with anything more frugal than a cup of tea and a biscuit (not the chocolate ones). “Wo you meen?” asked Lee with a look of astonishment. “UK Bribery Act,” I said. “Afraid we’re stuffed when it comes to that sort of thing now.” “Bu evyone duz et in China. No jiggy jiggy, no business. In China you do it our way,” explained Lee. “No bunkwet and Air RiceMarshall be veeery unhappy,” said Lee. “No win contract now.” He’s not the only one going to be unhappy I thought to myself - shareholders aren’t going to be too chuffed either. £Four million quid contract down the pan for the sake of a few plates of crispy duck and some falling over juice. Looked like I might need that half case of Scotch after all - to drown my sorrows when I got back to the UK. Any similarities of characters to persons living or deceased is purely intentional.

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Letters to the editor

Production lines 2 new messages

Letters to the editor


Tony Burke, assistant general secretary at Unite, on the proposed BAE Systems-EADS merger.


onfirmation of the merger talks between BAE Systems and EADS received significant space in the media – as it should. The effects of creating a $49bn global business, employing over 220,000 workers are vitally important. Some pundits and politicians rushed to welcome the move and said it was inevitable. Some are opposed on national security grounds. But what about the workers? Unite members in the UK heard about the move as they were getting ready to clock on the following day. One journalist rang to say a source “close to the company” had stated this wasn’t about redundancies - it

was about growth. Mandy Rice-Davies’ famed comment of “He would say that wouldn’t he?” sprang to mind. Unite convenor, Phil Entwistle, a skilled toolmaker with BAE for 32 years, hit the nail on the head in The Observer saying: “It’s easier for us to be the whipping boys. We want assurances that if this goes ahead, the design and manufacturing in the UK for Typhoon, F-35 and Hawk, and our jobs, are not suddenly to be moved abroad.” The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond pledged that government would stand by its “golden share” in BAE and seek assurances over security and jobs. But once the ball gets rolling it’s hard to stop.


Terry Scuoler, CEO of EEF, responds to Mr Stephen Preston’s letter in the September issue of


read with concern the letter in the September issue regarding EEF’s photography competition and, in particular, the wider reference to EEF not being interested in traditional manufacturing. I want to reassure manufacturers that this is not the case, either in respect of the competition itself or our wider support activity for companies and lobbying on behalf of the sector. With regards to the competition, I accept that our reference to modern manufacturing could be misconstrued, but what we are aiming to represent is modern only in the extent of the processes used, not the types of company or sectors. We certainly give no instructions to the competition judges and the facts and figures bear out that ‘traditional’ manufacturing sectors are very much


a part of the competition. Of last year’s twelve shortlisted as finalists, seven were from what might be described as ‘traditional’ sectors. Furthermore, the winning entry in the amateur category for the last Sept] has two years, [see p33 of come from Sheffield Forgemasters. Some would say this sector is very traditional, but it also demonstrates the most modern processes. With regard to EEF’s wider support for business and our representation activities I also wanted to reassure readers that we provide support to all sizes of companies and across all sectors, as well as lobbying government on their behalf. Last year, for example, we mounted a long-running and vociferous campaign to get better government support for companies

in traditional, energy intensive sectors. The damage caused by rising energy costs and inappropriate climate change policies needs to be offset. This campaign culminated in the announcement by the Chancellor in the Budget, of a financial package which will be worth some £250m to energy intensive companies. Our membership is a very broad church and we have broadened our membership base and service offerings deliberately to reflect the fact that the definition of manufacturing is far wider now than it used to be. However, this is not to the detriment of companies that have been members of EEF for a long time and we make every effort to provide the same level of service to any company of whatever size and in whatever sector.

If you would like to respond to one of ’s articles or comment on current manufacturing trends and events please email your letter to

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Leanonme Issu e 8 Vol um e

Roberto Priolo, editor of Lean Management Journal brings readers up to speed with the publication’s international explorations and gives an insight into the next edition which focuses on lean failure.


n August I attended a summit organised in São Paulo by the Lean Institute Brazil. I was impressed by the quality of the case studies presented, ranging from Embraer to Brasil Foods (you can read about some of the best Brazilian companies in the October issue of LMJ). During the summit I had the chance to listen to keynotes from some great lean thinkers, from Jim Womack to Mike Rother and a recurring theme seemed to be that Toyota does not necessarily represent the Holy Grail of lean anymore. While everybody acknowledged the pioneering contribution Toyota gave to the business community, there was a sense that many of the speakers thought it was time to treasure some lessons but, essentially, move on. Toyota has certainly had its share of problems over the past couple of years, with the infamous recall crisis first and the

Until 2011 Toyota had a 50 year record of profitability and its rise from obscurity to snatch the crown of world number one car manufacturer from GM rightly deserves admiration.


aftermath of the tsunami later. These events, hugely reported on by the media, showed that no company is untouchable. It became clear that Toyota didn’t have a clear idea of its supply chain past Tier 1. When parts were needed and suppliers couldn’t deliver after the tsunami, production had to be shut down. Toyota never spoke of itself as the master of lean, that’s what we have made of it because of its unrivalled success spanning decades. Until 2011 Toyota had a 50 year record of profitability and its rise from obscurity to snatch the crown of world number one car manufacturer from GM rightly deserves admiration. It is unsurprising that many have fallen into the trap of simply copying Toyota’s actions, with the conviction that it will lead to the same extraordinary results for their company. And yet, even in its failure Toyota issued a lesson we would all do well to learn from: that responding to a massive screw-up (in the parlance of our times) takes humility and a drive to do better - read the interview to Toyota Europe’s Mark Adams in the September issue of LMJ to understand more about how this lesson was realised.


| October 2012 | www.lean

mj. com


Examining the lean thinking synergies between and a green strateg

y Companies featured in this edition Toyota, MIT include: IE, Gemalto , Tesco, 3M , Brasil Foo ds IN THI S The future I S S U E : of superm on a stro arkets: Tes ng co’s success Cardiff Bus lean and green etho relies iness Sch the UK exp ool and Cra s. Experts from lain nfield Uni versity in Green, lean … and clea managemen n: MITIE is Europe. Jon t company that ope a facilities rate Lightowler lean and talks abo s in Britain and green with in the bus ut the interaction of iness Lean’s We ster article, Rich n beginning: In the account of ard Schonberger pro final part of his the history vides an interesting of lean Leaning and booming: Brazil to This mon ana th LMJ trav American lyse the adoption els to of lean in country the South A new para digm for asse Netherland s-based digi ssment: Denis Bec shares his ker of view on lean tal security special a new mod ist Gem asse ssment, and alto el is needed explains why LMJ in con ference: Rob in São Pau lo organise erto Priolo reviews d by the Lea the n Institute summit Brasil

Failure is common in lean initiatives, so much so that it forms the focus for the November issue of LMJ. We will ask what can be done to recover after a lean implementation has gone south and identify what was missing to allow the failure in the first place. Perhaps you have a bunch of ideas about this. Wouldn’t it be great to test them without running the risk of wasting valuable time and resources? LMJ’s October interview with SIMUL8 shows that the tools exist to allow you this luxury. This piece also highlights that having a clear idea of the current and future states of a company is fundamental. While, we are going to analyse failure in the November issue, have no fear - it won’t be all doom and gloom. We’ll also look at some of the best examples of lean implementation in France, and provide readers with the mix of commentary, analysis and reviews they are used to. If you are interested in subscribing to Lean Management Journal, you can email me on r.priolo@ or call me at 0044 (0)207 401 6033.


Music creates a better working atmosphere 74% of factories agree that playing music increases staff morale.* If you play music in your business, it is a legal requirement to obtain the correct music licences. In most instances, a licence is required from both PPL and PRS for Music. PPL and PRS for Music are two separate companies. PPL collects and distributes money for the use of recorded music on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects

and distributes money for the use of the musical composition and lyrics on behalf of authors, songwriters, composers and publishers. A PPL licence can cost your business as little as 19p per day. For more information on how to obtain your PPL licence visit or call 020 7534 1095. To ďŹ nd out more about how music can work for your business visit *MusicWorks survey of 1000 people, conducted May 2012.

www .them anuf actu rer.c om/a ward s


n the evening of 21 November, manufacturers from all sectors of the industry will be gathering at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London, to discover which of them will be crowned The Manufacturer of the Year, and to celebrate the very best of British manufacturing. It is with great pleasure that we announce the shortlist for The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2012.

people & Skills Sponsored by: Pera Training

Accolade Wines Apex Linvar Caterpillar (UK) MBDA Newburgh Engineering

Leadership & Strategy

World Class Manufacturing

Sponsored by: Zurich

Sponsored by: Newton

Accolade Wines CNH UK Herman Miller Hotel Chocolat

Precision Polymer Engineering The Authentic Food Company United Biscuits

Accolade Wines Entek International Parker Hannifin Manufacturing Ltd, domnick hunter Process Filtration Division

Milliken Industrials Molson Coors Brewing Company (UK)

Sustainable Manufacturing

R & R Ice Cream Sony UK Technology Centre TT Electronics

Young Manufacturer of the Year

Sponsored by: IBM

Sponsored by: Epicor

Accolade Wines Coca-Cola Enterprises Crown Paints

GKN Autostructures Premier Foods Tulip Ltd (Ruskington Site)

AkzoNobel: Catriona Brownlie BAE Systems: Sean Gallagher Greene, Tweed & Co: Tom Hunt

Manufacturing in Action Sponsored by: Alix Partners

Apex Linvar BAE Systems (ES) CooperVision

Eaton Hydraulics SCA Hygiene Vernacare


Honeywell Electrical Devices & Systems (Southend): Adam King MBDA: Gemma Ritchie Robert McBride: Matthew Clegg

SMe Manufacturer of the Year

Supply Chain eexcellence

(over 125 employees)

Sponsored by: DHL

CNH UK Entek International Honeywell Electrical Devices & Systems (Southend)

Co-sponsored by: Kingston Smith and JAM Recruitment

Honeywell Electrical Devices & Systems (St Asaph) Milliken Industrials

Entek International Ford (Ford Aerospace and Ford Components) Hi-Technology Group

reserve your place at the manufacturing event of the year and raise a glass to the best of Uk manufacturing!

innovation & Design

Join us at this prestigious black tie event as we’ll be celebrating the success of our finalists. Guests will enjoy a drinks reception followed by a three course dinner, awards ceremony and entertainment to the small hours. So come along for a spectacular evening of industry celebrations and networking!

Sponsored by: Oracle and Inoapps

Alumet Systems Blackman and White Elster Entek International

GKN Autostructures Nampak Plastics Vent-Axia Group

You are invited to join over 500 manufacturers at the biggest night in the manufacturing calendar!

Through-life eengineering Services

The Manufacturer of the Year Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner

Sponsored by: The EPSRC centre for Innovative Manufacturing

Entek International Honeywell Electrical Devices & Systems (St Asaph)

Newburgh Engineering Tharsus Engineering Vernacare

Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London 21/11/2012

Rolls-Royce Vernacare

Book noW To Be pArT of iT Booking information:

Tables of ten: £1,745 + VAT Groups of five: £895 + VAT Individual places: £195 + VAT

iCT in Manufacturing Sponsored by: The ERA Foundation

Ford (Ford Aerospace and Ford Components) Hayward Tyler Hi-Technology Group

To book your table contact Benn on +44 (0)207 202 7485 or Matt on +44 (0)1603 327005 or email

Origin Enterprises Roke Manor Research WDS

SMe Manufacturer SM of the Year

(under 125 employees employees)

Corp orat e spo nsor :

Co-sponsored by: Kingston Smith and JAM Recruitment

Industrial Automation Control Kensa Engineering Penso

TMAT Trolex Wood & Douglas

Co-s pons or

awar ds Ce remo ny & Gala dinn er pr oGra mme spon sor:


s logie l o n h wil tec king nt. Some l c a b e tria ls, d skil procurem ew’ indus ate e l r e d t y ‘n man mplo vernmen ould the c i e , m k no an go tc ess b nd fairer efore, bu ssing eco n i s u mi ll b Ab rs, a secto heard it a art of the s. strategy d n a e rt sp v ’ o u y p o documents as i e e r r h say t y be a se ll Stirling ‘New Jobs, New Industry’, i g strate needs? W the ‘Low Carbon Industrial n Strategy’ and ‘Going for Growth’, Britai


ince Cable launched the Government’s industrial strategy on September 11. An industrial strategy for all business, to help companies compete globally, to upskill the workforce with relevant, employerled skills, for the long term. “Hurrah!” the massed ranks of industrialists cried, and they danced a rain dance and sacrificed a goat and there was much feasting and rejoicing. Maybe not, but followers of Britain’s previous attempts at a manufacturing strategy are forgiven for feeling somewhat underwhelmed. A ‘Manufacturing Strategy’ was originally proposed under Labour in 2004, followed by a more detailed version in 2008 which included an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy. There followed such memorable


Stackedup against the government’s fiscal mandate, the industrial strategy, while attractive, has some congenital defects that will consign it to policy oblivion unless addressed quickly Andrew Churchill, managing director, JJ Churchill

targeting mid-sized companies. The ‘Manufacturing Framework Strategy’ of December 2010 – was several weeks in the planning, well-conceived and robust, according to one of the architects of the project, a manufacturing businessman. Primed for launch, at an ideal point in the economy’s recovery cycle, it was withdrawn at the last minute. Suffice to say that the history of government’s attempts to work in sync with industry, especially manufacturing, on long term projects has been… challenging. The Business Secretary himself conceded at the CBI Industrial Future Dinner on September 17 that many small company owners and managers will ask “What the hell does this have to do with me?” as they struggle to unpick the relevance from the rhetoric. But commentators who should know a lot about the real needs

of business – Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, Juergen Maier, MD of Siemens Industry Sector UK – say there are many good things in here. Even Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna said “I broadly welcome the general approach that the Secretary of State has set out,” in a House of Common’s debate on September 10, though he raised an important question in asking Dr Cable whether his strategy enjoys “the support of his ministerial team, let alone that of other Departments?” Time will tell whether key areas of government like the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the Department for Education and, critically, the Treasury, have taken note of Cable’s announcements. But since the strategy is more a corralling of existing initiatives than an innovation it certainly won’t make cross-departmental consistency of purpose any worse. The detail is sketchy. How precisely will Dr Cable’s ‘business bank’ operate, for instance? But a key element in the success or failure of the strategy’s implementation will be the reaction of business and asked industry to its vision. manufacturers what they made four the key pillars on which the strategy is founded.

Leadstory Industrial strategy uncovered

A bank for business Mark Ager, CEO, Stage Technologies Group – a manufacturer of winches and stage automation equipment. “It is difficult to comment on whether the creation of a new policy will be effective based on the initial statement from the government. The way the policy is implemented will prove key. The government could learn a lot from the (government funded) success of the Olympic athletes in 2012. We saw clearly, time and again during the Olympics how proper backing of talent can produce world beating results. This is just as true in business as in sport. For me there were two key elements for success in the financial backing of Britain’s sporting success. Firstly, there was a clear decision to back only the best. Money was put on those who had the greatest chance, without concern for other criteria such as ethnic, or regional ‘fairness’. No one who merely rated as ‘pretty good’ received funds. All resources were focused on one or two outstanding performers in a field and ensuring that they had everything they needed to win. This approach has not always been the case with government funding in business. Witness the inability of the Regional Growth Fund to actually deliver support to those who need it and are well placed to leverage it. For Stage Technologies the reintroduction of the ECGS – why on earth this was ever suspended I will never know – has provided a far better-targeted scheme for boosting exports. This scheme has, to date, resulted in us winning around £15m of orders which we would not have otherwise been able to fund. Those orders will generate and protect UK jobs. The 80-20% split between government and commercial guarantee under the ECGS ensures that there is a commercial check on all such guarantees. My only sadness is that for some reason the government has decided to limit the countries to which exports will be supported under the scheme. The USA is a glaring omission from the list. A second comparison between the strategy behind Britain’s Olympic success and government’s approach to business success should be drawn with regard to talent spotting. Some unsung heroes did an incredible job in finding the potential medal winners for Team

Stage technologies supplies the technical support for dazzling live entertainment events around the world.

It will be interesting to see who is to run this bank, if it is an ex-civil servant then it is probably doomed to failure.

GB, but government struggles in understanding just what the talent it is trying to support looks like in nascent form. Equally, SMEs in emerging industries do not have the time or energy to seek out all the potential funding opportunities from government and other organisations – or to jump through the necessary hoops if they do stumble across them – our RGF application took six man months to complete and was then turned down. Vince Cable’s announcements seem to recognise that certain emerging sectors need targeted outreach and support. Using enlightened commercial organisations to promote awareness and to talent spot companies with real potential would seem the best way to progress. Our ECGB applications were dealt with by our existing bank manager who, after 20 years of working in the SME market, understood our business and the challenges it faced. He also knew exactly how to get that information through the system. The key to the success of any new bank is going to rely on the people at the sharp end understanding the businesses they want to support, and the environment in which they operate. This being the case, it seems odd to set up a new bank, separate to those in existence. If it is to succeed, the Business Bank will need people on the ground who are able to intelligently select which talent to nurture. To date, government does not have a great track record of success in this. In my view it would be better to work with the best of the commercial banks that are already making these links. It will be interesting to see who is to run this bank, if it is an ex-civil servant then it is probably doomed to failure.


Sectors Andrew Churchill, managing director, JJ Churchill – a precision engineering business. “One of the key “pillars” of the Industrial Strategy is ‘Sectors’. Independent of which parties are in power, it is sadly inevitable that the mere mention of sectors will provoke a cry of ‘picking winners’ from the opposition. This shallow point-scoring impresses no one and suggests a bizarre world where only the binary choice of centrally-planned or pure marketdriven economies exists. Although the experience of industrial intervention in the 70’s was scarring, Cable is right to have a sectoral element to his strategy: previous cack-handed failures shouldn’t be preclude a more nuanced approach.

Cable is right to have a sectoral element to his strategy: previous cack-handed failures shouldn’t preclude a more nuanced approach Andrew Chuchill, managing director, JJ Churchill

An industrial strategy for Britain needs to be just that: a strategy for British industry, all of it, and not just the chosen few sectors Sir Anthony Bamford, Chairman, JCB

The aerospace, automotive and life sciences sectors were cited as but a few examples, and it was important for the strategy to acknowledge the differing degrees and types of government support various sectors require. But here again, without ownership at a higher level (above BIS), the ability for seamless delivery on taxation, education, infrastructure, competitive energy prices and planning is doubtful. A final thought: I’m pleased that the long timescale typical of manufacturing has been overtly recognised. We are quite different from the other nationally important contributors to GDP – finance, retail and services. It’s fine for government strategy to be flexible and market-led in the detail of delivery, but give us the predictability of a long-term goal against which to plan, then link that to cross-departmental policy and manufacturing can deliver.”


JJ Churchill supplies to the automotive, defence, power generation and industrial sectors.

JCB won the PwC Private Business of the Year Award in August 2012

Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman, JCB – global manufacturers of construction equipment. “An industrial strategy for Britain needs to be just that: a strategy for British industry, all of it, and not just the chosen few sectors. I’m all in favour of our aerospace and automotive industries being given the support they need to become the world leaders they deserve to be. We should be very proud of their achievements and they must be given every encouragement to reach even greater heights. However, there are many other manufacturers facing the same challenges of competing in tough global markets, but in the case of smaller to medium-sized companies, these challenges are on a different scale. It takes a lot more nerve for a small component manufacturer to export than a large automotive OEM, for example. So export assistance that is geared up to help SMEs is essential. The same logic applies to the mid-sized construction group, which thinks it could help drive infrastructure growth in the BRIC economies but is unsure of how to set about it. The Government can help guide the way by making it easier for such companies to get their foot in the door.

Leadstory Industrial strategy uncovered

Technologies Tony King-Smith, VP marketing, Imagination Technologies – a provider of intellectual property solutions for electronics companies. “We look for emerging markets, or ones in which ‘discontinuities’ are creating opportunities for disruptive new technologies and technology providers. We create exceptional technologies to exploit those opportunities. One issue with looking for these changes is that, by the time government or wider industry has targeted them with initiatives too, the time to gain advantage has gone. Government needs to encourage industry in the broadest senses by creating a framework in which industry can achieve, but to leave the direction of those achievements to the very capable leaders we have in business in the UK.

Targeting specific functions for ‘special help’ is not the approach – better to build a platform from which all the technology industry can succeed Tony King-Smith, VP Marketing, Imagination Technologies

By working with the ecosystems that form around companies like us government can help create a ‘joined-up’ UK technology industry that includes companies from design through to manufacturing. In return these can deliver a world class showcase for UK capabilities.

Steve Bagshaw, Managing Director of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies a manufacturer for the biopharmaceutical industry. Supporting technologies where the UK could become a world leader could have huge benefits to the UK and we welcome the government’s approach.

Imagination Technologies passionately promotes UK strengths in electronics manufacturing to some of the biggest brand names in the sector.

There is little understanding in manufacturing of what biotechnology can offer and many working in biotechnology don’t understand the needs of downstream industries Steve Bagshaw

Vince Cable identified synthetic biology, graphene, intelligent sensor networks, service robotics and energy harvesting as technologies to receive priority investment from government and these are all good choices. The UK has a good knowledge base in these industries and the challenges now holding them back - such as skills and underdeveloped supply chains – are entirely surmountable. Take Industrial Biotechnology (IB), to which synthetic biology is closely related. The IB industry has the potential to reach a value of £12 billion by 2025 according the report, IB 2025 and we have a top three position in research and technology for biosciences and biotechnology. Couple this with some excellent emerging businesses and it is easy to see that the UK is well positioned to become a world leader. But while all the technologies identified in the industrial strategy are doing well at the top-end, downstream looks less rosy. Graphene, which has huge potential, exists largely in R&D departments. The other technologies are a bit more mature, but work needs to be done to increase collaboration and understanding. For example, there is little understanding in manufacturing of what biotechnology can offer and many working in biotechnology don’t understand the needs of downstream industries. Developed industries like aerospace rely on a mature supply chain and customers who recognise the benefits. This is what we need to aim for with these emerging technologies. The government has already recognised this problem and has done great work through the Technology Strategy Board’s Knowledge Transfer Networks. In our industry the Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network and Industrial Biotechnology Leadership Forum are playing an essential role bridging the gap between scientists and business, promoting and developing opportunities and reporting issues back to Government.

Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies welcomes government’s newly expressed approach to backing technology development


Leadstory Industrial strategy uncovered

Skills Andrew Esson, managing director, Quick Hydraulics – a hydraulic systems manufacturer “I have to confess to being nonplussed by the skills pillar of the new strategy. It appears to start and finish with the Employer Ownership of Skills scheme. I expressed concern to BIS and UKCES at the launch of Employer Ownership of Skills that the funding thresholds set would exclude SME’s, despite a professed desire to ensure that SMEs could exploit the scheme. The fact that the successes of the pilot are Siemens, Sembcorp and Nissan confirms my reservations. This year we will deliver an average of five days training per employee, ranging from management development, through sales and strategy coaching to lean manufacturing coaching and specialist hydraulic training. Much of this training is tailored to the specific needs of my business. Try as I might – and this is despite my involvement in a number of industry groups, including the EEF – I cannot envisage how I can take advantage of Employer Ownership of Skills.

Skills is a major issue at all levels. It’s not just about apprentices, or other forms of technical training. UK manufacturing is lacking in management capability and vision Andrew Esson, Managing Director Quick Hydraulics.

A further concern I have is that skills is a major issue at all levels. It’s not just about apprentices, or other forms of technical training. UK manufacturing is lacking in management capability and vision. My experience on the MAS Advisory Board experience has shown me that many SMEs are not achieving their potential because of this. I am not convinced that this industrial strategy does enough for manufacturing SME’s overall. We need a package which will incentivise companies to recruit apprentices, train their existing staff, up-skill their management, develop new products, develop a business strategy, and so on. National Insurance holidays for new recruits and tax credits for training would help in this area, but the real challenge is reaching out to the hearts and minds of current SME owners and managers.”

Quick Hydraulics supports skills development across all disciplines of business and manufacturing.

Summing up Overall, comment sent to TM on the industrial strategy expressed hope. But this was always followed with caveats about obvious flaws in the cross-departmental – and cross party – support which the strategy has behind it. Many also found the articulation of detail to be lacking when compared to government’s fiscal mandate – whatever your views on its effectiveness this is at least clearly defined and is owned at the highest levels of government with independent progress reports made against publicised benchmarks. A fifth and final pillar to the strategy – improvement in government procurement practices – evinced little comment from industry leaders who perhaps doubted the ability of government to alter EU procurement rules as Cable assured it is doing. For a breakdown of the five pillars within the industrial strategy and the policies corralled under each, go to: or scan the QR code (left).

To hear more about Quick Hydraulics training schemes, come along to the Manufacturer Directors’ Conference on November 21

Have your say at


The Manufacturer’s Future Factory Series provides practical opportunities for manufacturers to learn from industry experts, academics and government officials to gain insight into how best practice will be implemented in the future.

Innovate to Grow will provide delegates with the knowledge and expertise they need to nurture innovation in the workplace and find more efficient ways of developing new products.

Sponsored by:

Innovate to Grow

Innovate to Grow Conference 2012 Tuesday 16th October, 2012 The Hilton Metropole, Birmingham (NEC) benefIts of attendIng: How to manage open innovation that can tap into the brainpower of your organisation, leading to lower costs, less risk and greater value for your company Innovation strategies that have been adopted to create commercially based solutions How to harness the creative capacities of your entire workforce to your advantage How innovation can be a structured and flexible process that permeates all aspects of the business

Supported by:

How medium sized UK manufacturers are collaborating with universities to co-develop ground breaking new technologies usually restricted to the major players How the right innovation framework can enable your organisation to become a successful innovator that delivers enhanced business performance Learn from the innovation culture in Asia how to devise appropriate strategies to develop new products The 20 questions your company should ask itself in order to improve the quality and quantity of innovative ideas

Researched and delivered by:

conference topics: Removing the barriers to innovation Nurturing innovation in the workplace Creating change in the workplace Creative thinking for growth Fostering collaboration between universities, government and business Funding R&D Understanding the innovation life-cycle Strategies for innovation

Case study speakers and presentatIons: Ian Helmore, Inventor of Steri-Spray and Managing Director, Steri-Spray Ltd

Gordon Macrae, Special Projects Manager, Gripple how to become a successful Innovator: Ideas generatIon, prototypIng, InnovatIon clImate and team workIng

from InventIon to manufacture

Professor Roger Bromley, Visiting Professor of Innovation and Collaboration, University of Huddersfield open InnovatIon – a new paradIgm

Dr Edward Draper, Innovation Manager, JRI Orthopaedics

Dr. Victor Higgs, Founder and Managing Director, Applied Nanodetectors InnovatIon strategIes: dIfferent approaches to successfully develop and commercIalIse new products

Caroline Clay, Special Advisor to The Edward de Bono Foundation UK

JrI orthopaedIcs, workIng wIth unIversItIes to thrIve through maJor technologIcal changes

David Verduyn, President, C2C Solutions Inc. Is InnovatIon a Journey or destInatIon? a corporate wIde, practIcal and effIcIent “InnovatIon process” to harness creatIvIty

serIous creatIvIty for hIgh performance leaders: how to defIne and develop understandIng creatIvIty In the work place

Professor Martin Lowson FREng, Founder and President, ULTra PRT Limited challenges and pItfalls of InnovatIon: InsIghts from ultra prt and other proJects

Stian Westlake, Director of Policy and Research, Nesta plan I, nesta’s recommendatIons for InnovatIon-led growth

Rod Howells, Innovation Manager, Pera Training leadIng InnovatIon - makIng InnovatIon happen

To register and for more information contact Peter Kealy on 0207 202 4893 or email:

Technically the French are very capable. But the employment laws are quite draconian if you’re trying to save the company

Radio-head What do the Airbus A380, the Hubble space telescope and the Kennecott copper mine in Utah have in common? Answer: e2v. CEO Keith Attwood speaks to Will Stirling.


agnetrons, thyratrons and travelling wave tubes will mean nothing to most people. But think radars, microwaves and satellite imaging and the work of e2v, headquartered in Chelmsford, Essex, becomes more tangible. Born in the late 1930s as a part of the Marconi group, the company designed and made magnetrons – vacuum tube components that boost the


power of radio frequencies into gigahertz – for the Chain Home Radar, Britain’s early warning radar stations built during World War II. The English Electric Valve Company was then created in 1947 and quickly gained fame for supplying orthicons for the television transmission of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The radar industry has changed immensely since then and with global competition, e2v, as the company is called today, has

diversified to thrive. Its customers include Airbus, NASA, Siemens and the Eurofighter Typhoon. For example, e2v works with NASA to produce high performance images of planets and galaxies by converting photographic images to electronic signals in space. But this LSE-listed company with 1,650 employees, revenues of £235m this year, sites in Europe, the US and Asia, that makes high-tech products you’ve barely heard of, is a British gem that sits under the radar. “Our business is relatively simple,” chief executive Keith Attwood assures. “There are two base technologies, three divisions, eight applications we sell all around the world.” A semiconductor business is divided into high reliability semiconductors and imaging applications, and a microwave-based division working with radio frequency (RF) technology. Semiconductors – components which have electrical conductivity between a conductor and an insulator – are the foundation of all modern electronics. The microwave business harks back to the company’s earliest work developing the crude radar defences in WWII. Today e2v’s employees – half of whom are scientists and engineers – design, make and test precise components used in aerospace, defence, medical, industrial and space applications.

All change Change is par for the course in the global electronics industry. But in 2009 e2v had to change further, and faster, than it had ever done before. A punishing recession for the technology solutions provider led to a big restructuring, the pursuit of markets further afield and an orientation away from defence into novel areas like rock ore analysis in mining operations. Today, says Mr Attwood, it’s about moving up the value chain and, like other advanced manufacturing companies, servitisation of products. Part of e2v today is a business that does semiconductor lifecycle management. “Instead of having a broad-line of speciality components, we wanted to be a major player in particular applications and leverage our original component position as a means to move up the value chain,” says Attwood. “Today we are doing more on service solutions and sub-systems. Historically we did some of that but now it’s deliberate.”

Interview Keith Attwood

The last recession was one of the key drivers. E2v was hit hard, losing between 30%-40% in overall revenues across an eight-month period. “We had to change the shape of the cost structure and reduced nearly 30% of [personnel] capacity in the business,” says Attwood. But by pushing into Asia and the US e2v re-orientated its business and raised its available global market value from an estimated £2bn to about £3.3bn. “We followed the well-trodden path of other UK defence firms and set up in the US. You have to be present there for their defence, and other, markets.” e2v’s facility in Santa Clara now employs about 120 people. This change challenged Attwood and the management team profoundly. “We had to execute a difficult and challenging restructuring programme, especially in Europe, and we’re still technically in ‘delivery mode’,” he says. But the realignment has worked. In 2012 e2v delivered record operating profits of £41.9m. Underlying top line revenue for the business is growing at 10% for the second year running. Furthermore, the turmoil has not undermined e2v employee loyalty – evidenced by the fact that 70% of the apprentices it recruits stay for 10 years. Pre-2008, Attwood admits there was a feeling of immunity to large scale cuts due to the niche, and clever, nature of these products. How did he manage the change? “In the main, the workforce understood why we had to implement changes, such as short working weeks, due to the conditions,” he says. The most difficult situation was the French division, he adds. “There are lots of pluses about the French, and technically they are very capable. But the employment laws are quite draconian if you’re trying to save the company. But when we’d finished, the process was deemed by the local politicians as a model process.” Attwood adds that some of the

Lessons learnt and achievements earned Keith Atwood has spent over 25 years in industry. What has been your most important lesson? “In the recession, we thought we were insulated. We thought it would be fine because of the market position we had. We fundamentally underestimated the impact of the recession on e2v. The middle of that was a dark period, where all that I thought I knew about e2v was proven to be not the case.” And your greatest achievement? “Coming out of that was probably my biggest success. By engagement with the directors and our workforce, together with the group FD and the senior team I put together a turnaround plan which has significantly altered the course of events for group.”

Honing your best asset I feel that teachers that can teach well for the tests are more successful in the current environment than teachers who are capable of inspiring young people


s a young man, Attwood took time to find his vocation. “I made a few wrong calls at school. I talked to my dad about getting a job, but ended up playing drums, riding motorbikes and having a bit of fun for a couple of years. I followed my father into textiles but worked out it wasn’t going to be around for very long!” After joining telecoms company Plessey he worked out he wanted to carve a real career. Plessey sponsored him through an HNC in Business and Finance, and on to an MBA. Attwood feels that a company is measured on the quality of its people, and people need help in fulfilling their potential; a view no doubt shaped by his own background. e2v invests about £12m – 5% of turnover – per annum on equipment and upgrades. And people? “We invest heavily. In the last two years, we’ve run about 250 managers through the modular management programme. The top one per cent take a relatively intense mini-MBA in partnership with the University of Nottingham, and 150 people are going through sales management training too.” How do skills gaps effect e2v’s recruitment? Attwood says what is missing is employability skills. “Yes we find it difficult to find some people and sometimes I have been disappointed with the calibre of the people we attract. There are some things you’d expect people coming out of university to be able to handle, such as working in teams, engaging sensibly with each other and other parts of the organisation, being able to structure coherent written reports with a start, middle and end. To find things like that lacking is frustrating.” Chairing the CBI’s education committee, Attwood has excellent access to the cause and effect of this problem. “The issue I have with education generally is [that] the system is driven by very tough league tables. We all use KPIs, but I feel that the teachers that can teach well for the tests are more successful in the current environment than teachers who are capable of inspiring people and teaching with a passion.”



Lean Immersion Programme 31st October – 1st November Host site: Accolade Wines, Bristol

Jim Boughton Head of Global Complexity Reduction GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

Mike Lloyd UK WCM Operations Manager Molson Coors Brewing Company

Philip Holt

Key content covered:

Heading of Continuous Improvement Philips Consumer Lifestyle

• Enterprise Value Stream Mapping

DR Nick Rich

• Reducing complexity to accelerate improvement

Assistant Dean, Faculty of Business Cardiff Business School

Stephen Smith Supply Chain and Operations Director British Gypsum

Gill Woodward

• Total Productive Maintenance

• Assessments and auditing • Integrating lean into the supply chain • Visual Management • Systems Thinking

Lean Enterprise Manager Accolade Wines

• Creating a lean culture and sustaining it

Richard Lloyd

• Practical Gemba and facilitated workshop

Global Head of Manufacturing Accolade Wines


Professor John Seddon


Register before 4th October and save £150 per delegate

For more information visit or telephone Benn Walsh on 0207 202 7485

Interview Keith Attwood

I’m passionate about real people doing real things for real customers. That is really important: I like the fact that we design and make things, and that these products make a difference

Biography Keith Attwood 1991: Completed MBA, Business, Nottingham Trent University 1994: Director and business manager - Overseas Investments GPT Limited 1997: Operations director, GEC Marconi Avionics 1998: Joined e2v (then EEV) as managing director

engineers in the French division set up their own business, which e2v have supported them with.

The earth moves Being good at building equipment based on complex electronics and RF technology means you can adapt to a completely new application fairly quickly. In February, e2v signed a memorandum of understanding with global mining group Rio Tinto, backed with support from its research partner the University of Nottingham. e2v’s ProWave system is used in a new sorting process that analyses the metal ore content of tailings, smaller rocks where the amount of metal (here copper) is not sufficient to justify running it through the fiercely expensive extraction process. ProWave ‘cooks’ the rocks to reveal those with a viable ore content. “There’s a range of new applications for these industrial processing systems where a giant microwave oven can typically either create a new process or supplant carbon fuel heavy furnaces”, says Attwood. “This is technology that is right for the times and we’ve repositioned ourselves in the value chain to take advantage of this need.” Clearly Mr Attwood has had some practice explaining his company’s work to a lay audience – and with good reason. e2v is visited by several schools a year, dispatches its

staff to many more and has a strong community outreach programme. Attwood and charities committee chairman Andy Bennett are proud of the CSR programme they’ve devised and in August, e2v celebrated raising £35,000 in 12 months for good causes. In May the company was visited by Messieurs Cameron and Clegg en route to a press conference held at another Essex factory, Case New Holland. “They didn’t stay long. They wanted the photo shot with a shiny blue tractor – our products are less photogenic,” quips Attwood. “In fact there was one blue and one yellow tractor, which I think they might have engineered.” Unfazed by the PM’s early exit, Attwood gets his message on industry support across through other channels – he is chair of the CBI’s national education and skills committee and used to chair the CBI East of England region. “I see that as my pro bono work,” he says. “I’m passionate about real people doing real things for real customers. That is really important: I like the fact that we design and make things, and that these products make a difference.” Next time you see a photo of Earth taken from space, or you come across a radio therapy treatment for cancer, think of this world-beating British company sitting under the radar.

2002: Led a management buyout of EEV from Marconi to create e2v 2004: Floated the company on the London Stock Exchange 2006: Led acquisition of the Grenoble France based imaging and specialist semi-conductor business from Atmel 2007: Appointed chairman of the CBI East of England Regional Council 2008: Led acquisition of QP semi-conductor in USA 2010: Appointed chair of the CBI Education and Skills Committee Keith is married and has three children.

Cryogenic testing of a space grade imaging sensor in e2v’s clean room facility

Have your say at


ANT Telecommunications Limited, Swift House, Peregrine Business Park, Gomm Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire HP13 7DL Telephone: 01494 833100. Fax: 01494 833101. Email:

Unified communications

Home-working solutions

Messaging and task management applications

Video and audio conferencing solutions

PBX and call centre solutions


VoWiFi PMR Lone worker alarms

Each solution a masterpiece The art of integrated communication


NT Telecom has helped businesses to reduce cost and increase productivity through the successful implementation of integrated communication systems. These solutions have enabled manufacturing companies to improve communications with their customers, suppliers and with each other internally. The benefits have led

to greater profits, improved service levels, faster response times and better personal safety. And all this delivered by a company recently awarded “Partner in Customer Excellence�, by Avaya. ANT Telecom has made integrated communications into a fine art. Let us paint a scenario for your company. Call 01494 833123. Avaya Partner in Customer Excellence

Call 01494 833123. Visit

ANT Telecom

Onsite mobility: which technology is right for you? In the past organisations that wanted to give onsite mobile workers a communication solution didn’t have many choices. Today there’s an almost bewildering array of technology options. How do you go about choosing the platform that’s right for both current and future requirements? Chris Potts, marketing manager at ANT Telecommunications ( explains.


ospitals, clinics, research facilities, manufacturing plants are just some of the organisations that tend to have a lot of employees who move around their sites. In many cases, there will be some kind of communication system in place for those mobile workers: a radiobased system for maintenance and engineering; pagers for medical staff; a tannoy system on the factory floor. But over the years, organisational or employee needs may have changed, and some of these older systems may no longer be completely fit for purpose. If a customer or supplier calls to speak with the engineering manager, how easily can he or she be brought to the phone? The engineering team may be able to contact each other, but be cut off from the maintenance team. And the back-office may be unable to speak to either team. Communications may have been enhanced in some areas using point solutions, such as providing team managers with mobile phones. But if it’s been done in an ad-hoc way, there will be no overall integration or site-wide improvement — just increased costs and multiple contracts to manage.

More than technology alone It can be hard to find the time to analyse the situation properly to work out what each department needs and what’s required across the site as a whole. The sheer range of technologies on the market today also makes this a daunting task. How do you work out which one is right for your organisation? However skilled a specialist supplier, they may not be able to give you independent advice, instead focusing on the technology they know, without taking account of your needs or the systems already on your site. Ideally, you’d work with a provider that’s knowledgeable and experienced across the entire communications spectrum — one that can provide you with unbiased consultancy and advice that starts with what you want to achieve, rather than any one technology. ANT Telecom is one such provider. Our preferred approach is to work closely with our customers and spend time on site. That way, we can find out not just what the facilities or IT manager thinks, but also how end users work and what would make their lives easier.

A process-driven approach We’ll look at the overall communications and IT infrastructure that’s already in place, with a view to utilising it wherever possible. Are your teams struggling to work within the limitations of your existing communications technology, rather than being empowered by it? We’ll investigate all aspects of your current setup to see if there are opportunities to enhance or streamline processes to increase efficiency and productivity — and even safety. If you have lone workers, we can look at whether they’re well protected by your existing technology. We can provide sophisticated handsets that feature ‘man down’ alerts; or integrate location information using an IP-based solution over WiFi. If your business depends on machine-driven processes that trigger alarms when a problem occurs, we can integrate those alarms with your mobility solution and route specific alarms directly to the mobile handset of the person or team responsible — speeding up response times, helping staff make better use of their time, and reducing process downtime. Fire alarm systems can be similarly integrated, enabling staff to investigate potential problems more swiftly.

Scalable and future proof It’s generally the case that no single technology can provide the complete solution. Your site may be too large for DECT or voice over WiFi alone — a radio system may need to be integrated to extend coverage when people go further afield. If GSM phones are part of your mobility solution — because people sometimes need to be contactable offsite — we can install a private mobile network for making and receiving internal and external calls on the same handsets at much lower rates than over the public network. What’s also clear is that investing the time and effort in a period of unbiased consultancy — that looks at both business needs and technology — tends to be worthwhile. ANT Telecom’s overriding objective is to provide its customers with an integrated solution for onsite mobile communications that’s designed to meet the needs of the business and its users. Naturally, the solutions we propose are scalable too: so you can be confident that they’ll take care of tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s. We can supply rugged devices for hazardous environments; or smart devices like tablets that can receive enhanced alarm information.

Tel: 01494 833123 Web:


60 second Interview – The Funding for Lending scheme in practice

It’s the Peter Russell Headmanufacturer of Manufacturing and Industrials UK, RBS RBS launched a new tranche of its Manufacturing Fund in September, making use of the Funding for Lending scheme. Peter Russell, Head of Manufacturing and Industrials UK at RBS, explains what’s on offer. : Borrowing appetite: Popular consensus is still that big companies are sitting on cash and smaller companies can’t get the borrowing terms they need? Do you agree? A number of large companies with healthy balance sheets are still focused on paying down debt and have seen liquidity improve through unwinding working capital cycles. There is also less M&A activity too so in that sense they are not as hungry to borrow as pre-2008. For SMEs the picture is different. RBS has 1.5 million SME customers, across all sectors, the highest number for any UK bank. For full year 2011, RBS total gross corporate lending was £42bn and of that, £19bn was lent to SMEs. Our H1 results reported a 4% increase in our lending to the manufacturing sector overall. : You’ve just launched the latest round of the Manufacturing Fund. What is it, and what happened to the first iteration of the Manufacturing Fund? We launched our £bn Manufacturing Fund in mid-2009 when businesses were very reluctant to borrow. The proposal was unique in its support for the sector and gave a clear message that RBS wanted to help. Demand took time to build but it has performed reasonably well alongside other lending products we provide. We did not set ourselves a target date to lend it all and, in the current climate, we are happy that it continues to play an important component in the funding mix that we make available. We’re now into tranche 10 of the Fund, which coincided with the Government’s Funding for Lending scheme. : What are the features of this Fund? First of all it is £1bn specifically for mid-sized manufacturers, to help them invest for growth. Our interest rate margins and fees are transparent. Other banks may provide this information but, to my knowledge, they are not publishing it in the same way as RBS. The Fund offers a fixed rate loan, on a three or five year term, where both have a capital repayment holiday of two years. In addition we’ve provided a variable rate option for companies that want to borrow against LIBOR. The loan terms are again 3 or 5 years with option of a capital repayment holiday. Interest rate margins are 2% and 2.25% respectively. Fees for any loan option are 0.5% flat. That’s 0.5% to


1% lower than they would normally be. The Fund is open to any manufacturer with turnover of £25m and above. Some customers of the Manufacturing Fund have £600m-£700m turnover so it attracts all sizes. : Do you think Funding for Lending will make a difference to companies’ borrowing and therefore investment? Yes I do. The terms that we are offering under the Fund and also to our SME borrowers are a direct result of Funding for Lending. : Will Funding for Lending, and Vince Cable’s new ‘business investment bank’, make existing schemes like the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EGF) and Business Growth Fund redundant? No, because it depends on the borrowers’ circumstances. We have provided 40% of the finance through the EFG to date, which is well above our natural market share of the SME market and it has been very successful. It provides money to businesses that lack adequate security for a standard commercial loan. I am also a big supporter of the Business Growth Fund. It is relatively early days but demand is building and I believe that the BGF will play an increasing role in financing manufacturers. For the right company that is growing fast, accessing the Business Growth Fund is sometimes more appropriate than a bank loan. : What other routes to finance are proving popular at the moment? Asset-backed lending is proving to be particularly successful in supporting the manufacturing sector and we continue to see real growth in this area.

A complete version of this interview, with details on loan terms and interest rates as well as the NatWest lending hotline for SMEs whose loan applications are declined, is on

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Appropriate apprenticeships T

Aircelle has seen skills soar through its apprenticeship scheme

In the wake of the Holt Review on apprenticeship provision for and by UK SMEs, Bill Twigg, apprenticeship director, at sector skills council Semta explains its projects to improve recruitment and support for apprentices and answer the needs of employers in small and medium-sized science, engineering and manufacturing companies.

he last few months have seen a significant increase in awareness and activity around apprenticeships. A lot of work has gone into exploding the myths, improving the apprenticeship framework through new pathways and working in partnership to help meet the challenges ahead. But as the recent Holt Review (scan the QR code opposite to read the document in full) suggests, much more needs to be done, particularly to support smaller businesses. Apprenticeships have been at the forefront of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track and companies in the advanced manufacturing sector are playing a leading role. More young people are recognising that workplace learning is a great alternative to going to university while significant steps have been taken to ensure the best graduates understand just how rewarding a career in manufacturing and engineering can be. It is vital we build on this momentum which is why we are delighted to be working with companies, the National Apprenticeship Service and others on three specific projects to do just that. These projects cover mentoring, the recruitment and retention of the best talent and inspiring young people to consider a career in advanced manufacturing.

Strong growth


oubling the number of advanced and higher level apprenticeship registrations by 2016 is the challenging target the Semta Apprentice Service set in our Apprenticeship Ambition but we are making excellent progress. We have hit 9,200 starts at level 3 and level 4 in a year. That’s an additional 1,200. So we have already met our 2012-13 target of a 25% increase on 2009/10. It gives us real confidence that we will achieve our ambition. We are working hard to make it easier for employers of all sizes to take on apprentices from securing quality candidates to developing the frameworks that truly add value to businesses. The sector skills council’s Apprentice Ambition, launched just a year ago in partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service and leading employers such as Siemens, Tata, Ford and Airbus, aims to increase advanced and higher level registrations from 8,000 to 16,000 through a ten-point plan. The plan includes measures to help combat barriers to apprenticeship uptake such as attracting more quality entrants, reducing


bureaucracy, developing frameworks that meet employers’ needs, and improving training provision. A great example of this is the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Level 4 and 6 Higher Apprenticeship Framework (AMHA). The AMHA is designed to provide the manufacturing and engineering sector with the very best technicians and engineers, combining practical skills with a higher education qualification. The nine pathways - Marine, Research and Development, Maintenance, Aerospace, Nuclear, Mechanical, Electrical/ Electronics, Automotive and Wind Turbines - cover a wide range of job roles and will help employers fill the skills gaps. Companies such as BAE Systems, Jaguar Land Rover,

Siemens and MBDA have already recruited more than 400 apprentices for the new framework. But we need to engage with more SMEs on this upskilling agenda. Only 6.9% of engineering staff in this group have level 5 qualifications compared to 17% in large companies. Addressing the skills issue would improve productivity creating high value, sustainable jobs and exports. Realising these opportunities would result in an additional £9.4bn UK business in the automotive supply chain alone, where currently only 36% of automotive components are produced in the UK out of a potential 80%. Similar opportunities exist in aerospace, a market worth $3.1 trillion to 2028.

Workforce and skills

Safety in numbers Mentoring an apprentice is often a major challenge for smaller firms that have neither the time nor the experienced personnel to support them. We are working closely with Group Training Associations (GTA England) to address this by developing tools and processes to ensure the apprentice gets a better experience and the chance to develop his or her full potential. There will be peripatetic mentors who can work alongside the apprentices on a wide range of skills, working in clusters so that young people get the opportunity to learn alongside fellow apprentices at different firms. We have seen this work in a few small trials but are keen to hear from employers as to how we can develop this mentoring system.

Facing up to the challenge Semta research indicates that industry needs to recruit and train 82,000 engineers, scientists and technicians across the UK by 2016, and 363,000 of the current technical workforce is qualified below world class standards and needs to be skilled up.

Scan for Holt Review

Redirecting talent Secondly, we are looking to strengthen collaboration between large and small employers on recruiting and training apprentices. We have developed talent pools through assessment days for large firms, like Tata Steel, where those who do well in the tests but do not secure a position are signposted to potential apprenticeship opportunities with other employers in the local area. This is just one way Semta is playing a leading role in creating common recruitment and assessment processes, bringing large and small firms together. We will be exploring how we can do more of this and what other measures to we can introduce regionally, nationally and within the supply chain. Employer input is welcome!

Consolidating skills campaigns Through the third project we are working with the Fab Lab in Manchester on approaches that will draw on their unique operating model to help build a pipeline of young people who are inspired to enter a career in advanced manufacturing.

Over 10% of Warren Services’ workforce is now made up of apprentices

SMEs only please!


n November 12, Richard Bridgman, Chairman of precision engineering firm Warren Services, will chair a round table debate for manufacturing SMEs. Discussion will focus on the value-add which apprentices bring to business and how the Semta Apprenticeship Service (SAS) can help make apprenticeship delivery simple and hassle-free for SMEs. SAS provides a complete end-to-end apprenticeship delivery solution. From planning the apprenticeship programme through sourcing training providers, recruiting apprentices, assuring quality and funding, SAS can offer support to SMEs free of charge. The event will take place at the House of Lords and will be hosted by Baroness Wall of New Barnet. Numbers are limited and attendance will be based on a first come, first served basis. To confirm your attendance, please call Megan Henderson ( on 01740 627006. Alternatively if you would like a Semta representative to visit you to discuss how we can support you please email customerservices@ to arrange an appointment.


E F I L L s A p i E h R ntices e r p Ap

Following the Holt Review asked a range of SME manufacturers about their experiences of supporting apprenticeships. Just how difficult is it?

Warren Services

Westley Engineering

Employs: 90 Number of apprentices: 10 Company turnover: £6.5m

Employs: 28 Number of apprentices: 3 Company turnover: £2.5m

Richard Bridgman, chairman says: “SMEs have not been supported enough in establishing apprenticeship schemes. Semta has finally recognised this. Through my work with them as [East of Enlgand] regional chair I have arranged an event at the House of Lords in November to Richard Bridgman and his directly address this issue and to apprentice gang show other SME employers the service Semta has developed for them – a big part of the problem is that people simply don’t know about it. “The Semta Apprenticeship Service needs to be better communicated but it does provide exactly the kind of support SMEs need. It is very similar to the service I have been getting from JTL for years. JTL provide our electrical apprenticeship training. “They help you find and select the apprentice, they do all the associated paperwork and arrange for funding to be drawn down for you. They then make sure that the apprentice gets the training you need them to have and they monitor the quality of that training. This kind of managed apprenticeship takes all the worry out of the employer’s hands.” Warren Services has applied for government funding to establish an apprenticeships school capable of training 50 apprentices a year. See p34 for more on the Semta SME apprenticeships event mentioned above.

Gerry Dunne, managing director says: “The Semta Apprenticeship Service ticks all the boxes for me. It can take a while to get responses to your questions. But the service provides a lot of Gerry Dunne hand holding and is the nearest thing in quality that I have seen to my own EITB apprenticeship training. “Before coming into contact with Semta I had been disappointed in the quality of apprenticeship provision on offer from my local Tamworth College. Following that, I did get a good service from EEF but I like level of support that Semta offer. There are so many training providers who come knocking at your door touting for business and using the Semta Apprenticeship Service saves you having to deal with that.”

Zeal Electronics Employs: 34 Number of apprentices: 3 Company turnover: £1.7m Sally Anderson, HR manager says: “We have just taken on our first three apprentices – recruitment was a trying process as I didn’t get the support I was led to expect from the service I used.


“Our training provider Jim Bell has helped us devise the apprenticeship scheme. It took us a long time to find a provider who could deliver the kind of specialist electronics skills we need but since finding Jim we have had great success with our broader in-house training and development programmes.”

Find out more about Semta’s services for manufacturers on p34.

It’s not a challenge for an SME to take on an apprentice, but it is a challenge to manage an apprenticeship programme properly Brian Palmer, Managing Director, Tharsus Engineering

Workforce and skills

Takeda Cambridge

Quick Hydraulics

A drug discovery company based on the Cambridge Science Park. Number of apprentices: 1

Employs: 21 Number of apprentices: 3 Company turnover: £3.2m Andrew Esson, managing director: “I have established apprenticeship schemes in two Andrew Esson and some of his old family-owned SME apprentices at Quick Hydraulics. L-R Andrew businesses now and, Esson, Dale Tansley, Corey Nelson, speaking personally, Beth Henderson have never found it to be particularly challenging. “At Quick Hydraulics our training is provided by TDR which specialises in science and engineering training in the North East. They know exactly what they are doing. Andrew Esson will speak at ’s Manufacturer Directors’ Conference 2012. See p38 for more details or go to

Lisa Millett, head of HR: “Like many in the pharmaceuticals Lisa Millett industry we’ve usually taken on graduates to fulfil our skills needs – getting involved in higher apprenticeships was a hard sell to some. “But I cannot speak highly enough of the Technical Apprenticeship Service [TAS] – run by our sector skills council, Cogent. TAS takes care of everything, right down to payroll. This is invaluable support and without it I doubt we would have taken on an apprentice. “The challenge now is to inform more people about TAS. I know they are trying to increase awareness of Higher Apprenticeships in Life Science – I recently helped them produce a video designed to do just this – but there seems a very low awareness among SMEs in our sector.” Find out more about the Technical Apprenticeship Service at

Tharsus Engineering Employs: 160 Number of apprentices: 8 Company turnover: £12m Brian Palmer, managing director says: “It’s not a challenge for an SME to take on an apprentice, but it is a challenge to manage an apprenticeship programme properly. In our experience you need to appoint someone internally who is passionate about apprenticeships as a route into engineering and manufacturing and who will champion the quality of their training. “We use external training providers but the management of the overall scheme is internal. We had disappointing experiences in the past where we felt that training providers were promoting particular course or encouraging people to progress further than they felt comfortable with at the time, simply in order to access more funding. We run a regular formalised review process for the training we give our apprentices to make sure the scheme is delivering what they need and what the business needs.”

Guardian Global Technologies Employs: 85 Number of apprentices: 6 Company turnover: £5.5m Iain Maxted, managing director: “We run between four and six mechanical and electronic apprenticeships at any one time. All are offered full-time employment post-apprenticeship and so far no one has turned us down! We tend to deal directly with local training providers rather than using sector skills councils or trade bodies. “There is variability in the quality of training and support locally available. Some are very conscientious with good level of regular engagement, one we have had to drop in the last 12 months due to a poor standard of training for two apprentices. We did manage to move them easily to another training provider however. My overall view is that there are many training providers offering training for training sake, as a business model, rather than through a genuine desire to create what is best for employer and apprentice.”

To read ’s article It’s easy when you know how on the effectiveness and quality of apprenticeship support for manufacturing SMEs in the UK, scan the QR code below or go to:


f o e e y o l Empmonth the er 2012 b Octo

James Watmoore Manufacturing Engineer, Darchem Engineering The UK nuclear industry employs around 44,000 people in the UK and has been earmarked for significant growth after many had assumed it to be in terminal decline. But before it can achieve this the sector must bridge the massive skills gaps which appeared as technology advanced ahead of investment. For this reason, young high achievers like James Watmoore are to be valued and applauded. : What are the main responsibilities of your role? I work within a nuclear bid team. It is my responsibility to price-up a wide range of components, fabrications, machined items and manufacturing costs. Bids can go from £10,000 up to a £50,000,000 so accuracy and methodical thinking is essential. I am also an ‘ambassador’ for apprentices within the North

CV in brief:

James Watmoore Age: 23


A-level psychology, sport and physical education AS-level geography NVQ level 2 performing engineering operations NVQ level 3 fabrication and welding BTEC level 3 manufacturing engineering – double distinction Open University certificate in nuclear professionalism Currently studying HNC in mechanical engineering at Darlington College in Partnership with Teesside University


Motorbike riding Rugby


East. I visit schools and colleges to talk to pupils about manufacturing apprenticeships so that they can give the option informed consideration. : What are the key skills you use? My role needs good interpersonal skills as I must be able to discuss bid details, both technical and statistical, with clients and customers. I am also required to read and interpret a range of manufacturing drawings – these can originate from a number of different countries, let alone customers. Good computer skills, maths and knowledge of technical/mechanical components are also essential in putting together complex and varied bids. : What are the most rewarding parts of your job? Watching a contract go from the bid stage to winning the order. Having been a part of the original bid team makes the actual manufacture of the components and organising work on the shop floor all the more rewarding. Finally, seeing the finished component get shipped to the customer brings an immense sense of achievement. : What do you consider to be your biggest personal success at the company so far? Winning both the Nuclear Supply Chain Apprentice of the Year and the National Apprentice of the Year awards. To win the Supply Chain Apprentice of the Year was amazing but to win the overall National Apprentice Award was completely overwhelming. It’s great to get recognised in the field in which you work and I thought I had no chance against the opposition. : What first attracted you to a career in manufacturing? My grandfathers, my dad and my step dad were all engineers but that’s not the reason I decided to

Have your say at

go down this route. I took my A-levels, but I did not like the learning style at college and I thought a degree would certainly not suit me. I wanted a more practical approach to learning. I tried numerous apprenticeships but ended up deciding on fabrication and welding. : What will your next career move be? I’d like to move into a managerial role. I’ve learnt a lot in my career so far, largely in technical based office roles, and I think my experience and personal and professional skills would suit being a manager. Having been made an ambassador for apprentices in the North East I would also like to work more closely with apprentices in the future. : How do you think best to get more young people interested in manufacturing? Manufacturing is not emphasised enough during school and college. I had to do the vast majority of my research of apprenticeships for myself – opportunities for apprenticeships need to be advertised much better. There should be a lot more information made available for young people. Schools and colleges could work more closely with employers.

UTC Diary

UTC Diar y

In August this year the JCB Academy – the original UTC – celebrated its first set of GCSE students achieving results which left national averages far behind. James Gratton, a star performer among this high achieving group, explains how a UTC education helped him get the grades to match his career ambitions.


wo years of study at the JCB Academy have been an interesting, insightful and, above all, different experience. I first heard about the JCB Academy three years ago and felt inspired to follow a career in engineering. One year later I was a student there and ready to follow through on my aspirations – but this was not without its problems. One of the biggest challenges at the start was this big leap into the unknown. Myself and around 119 students had left behind the safety and comfort of our previous schools to go to a new building, meet new people and work in an entirely new world. A major difference at the academy was the way that our learning was structured and the contact we had with staff. Our year group was split into three groups, known as houses, of 40 pupils. Our engineering and business lessons were done with the whole group while for other lessons such as English and Maths, we were taught in smaller groups of 20. The engineering and business sessions were led by our

A major difference at the academy was the way that our learning was structured and the contact we had with staff James Gratton

engineering leader, who also led the house overall, and supported by engineering mentors, who have engineering backgrounds. Everyone was assigned to an engineering mentor who they would have regular meetings with and who would sit with the house at lunch. At the end of the two years we had become a close knit group and had all learnt a lot from each other despite having mixed interests and abilities. Over two years we developed our engineering skills for our diploma qualifications and prepared for our GCSEs. I think one of the best things about the diplomas was that even though some people chose not to continue with engineering after two years, they still had valuable and important skills they could transfer into their other studies as well as an understanding of what an engineer’s career might involve. One of the other best things about the way we studied was that, although the grades were important, our teachers were flexible in letting us decide how we did the necessary work. For example, we did practical

lessons with lathes in the workshops. Those that were good and happy to do it were pushed to do better while those that were not so confident would work on additional coursework. These workshop classes helped several people get into apprenticeships. The school allowed us both freedom and support for our Year 11 engineering projects. My project focused on innovation – the invention, design and manufacture of a new product. My engineering mentor guided me while the engineering workshop staff helped me with the variety of machines available. I definitely want to continue engineering and work in the sector, but I’m not sure exactly where to go from here. Hopefully I can decide this during my time at the sixth form. I would like to be a designer and inventor like James Dyson and have found I’m very good at it. The JCB Academy has certainly helped get me closer to that ambition and with some good grades now in the bag I hope I continue to progress quickly.


Signposts for

growth Tom Moore speaks with manufacturing leaders on how to plot pathways to growth in times of global market volatility shortages in skilled labour.


hen tasked with producing an article on signposting growth the risk of getting lost in the dense undergrowth blocking manufacturers from securing new contracts is a worry. Eurozone uncertainty seems to be ruling with an iron fist when it comes to sluggish demand – and without demand talk of growth is moonshine. Having said this – there are opportunities for UK manufacturers to piggyback on or learn from in order to tee up future growth. How to identify these will be the focus for presentations in one stream at ’s Manufacturer Director’s Conference (MDC) on November 21. For instance, Turkey is the only European country among the world’s 25 fastest growing economies (note it lies outside the eurozone). It has a large manufacturing stronghold, and although the UK may be unable to capitalise on the kind of high-volume low cost industries Turkey is able to support (it has the textiles sector stitched up),

there are opportunities for British firms to feed into surging Turkish industrial activity in more advanced sectors. With a strong heritage in ship building and a good luxury yacht industry of its own, Britain’s marine supply chain might well take note that Turkey is one of the top five locations for the construction of ships and mega yachts. It also produces a huge amount of cars and vans.

Oiling the order pipeline As demonstrated by the 18.7% growth in Qatar’s economy during 2011, oil equals growth. Ghana, which discovered large quantities of oil off its coast in 2007, saw GDP rise by 13.5%

last year. Jan Ward, founder and CEO at heat and corrosion resistant materials company Corrotherm, states that growth in the sector could lead to a 500% increase in profits if it can secure funding. “Bizarrely a lot of growth is coming from the US because the downturn led a lot of companies to back off, leaving a gap in the market. There is also a lot of growth in the Far East as its ship yards and off shore work continue to expand.” It is one thing finding where X marks the spot for growth, it is another thing getting there and digging for riches. The higher temperatures and pressures involved in extracting from depleting wells require investment in developing more sophisticated materials to deal with the higher pressures and temperatures involved. But playing a part in these deep extraction opportunities also means risk points out Mrs Ward. “A lot of small accidents and the [BP] disaster in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago emphasised how liable [equipment makers and the oil companies] could be. They want to share liability so nothing can fail, you must guarantee performance in service,” she says.

Sheiking up new orders As the biggest oil producer in the world, the Middle East is a lucrative but extremely complicated market. As in China and elsewhere, finding a good partner to support market entry is essential. “If you want to be registered as a supplier to staterun oil companies you have to have a local partner,” states Ward. “But most companies get given a list by the embassy,” she continues. “They choose one of them, sign up and the partner doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t work and they can’t get out of it.” Ward advises that manufacturers are better off making contact with a British firm already active in the market


Leadership in manufacturing

and seeking their advice on reliable partners.

A lot of growth is coming from the US because the downturn led a lot of companies to back off, leaving a gap in the market

Power rangers As those heading up the world’s emerging economies look to spend big on infrastructure projects and services to appease voters and upgrade living standards, UK companies are presented with massive opportunities. The world needs more power. The International Energy Administration reports that the global demand for energy will increase by almost 60% by 2030 and manufacturers can tap into this demand. According to UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), there are contracts up for grabs supplying hydropower projects in Russia, Pakistan and Bolivia. Just one project in India alone is receiving £1.23bn from the government, throwing up several opportunities in the power plant equipments and machinery sector. There are a wealth of prospects for companies that supply (or could supply) into the energy generation sector. Algeria is building a geothermal power plant, Russia and Brazil are looking for UK equipment in the marine sector to support offshore oil rigs and Chinese companies are looking for more resistant raw materials to manufacture highstrength drilling rigs and sulphurresistant drill pipes, drill collars and kelly bars. More opportunities to tap into international growth for all sectors are listed on UKTI’s website - from demand for wheel chair elevators in the state of Yucatan in Mexico to train cabins in India, waste treatment equipment in Qatar, fire engines in Romania and buses in the Philippines.

Putting yourself in the best position So if the opportunities and the demand are in fact out there, what is stopping UK firms seizing them with both hands? Newburgh Engineering,

Jan Ward, CEO, Corrotherm.

Revenue at Newburgh Engineering is higher than before the recession

Growth isn’t the problem, capacity constraints are Vince Middleton, Chairman, Newburgh Engineering

which employs 140 people at its precision engineering facility in Rotherham, is another company benefitting from what its chairman describes as an extremely buoyant oil and gas sector. “Growth isn’t the problem, capacity constraints are. You sit there and have to turn work away because of the shortage of skilled labour,” says Vince Middleton, group chairman. Newburgh Engineering set up a partnership with a private apprenticeship provider to fill this skills gap when it found colleges weren’t providing what it wanted. Newburgh Engineering now has 24 apprentices, accounting for around 20% of its workforce. “Ten per cent allows you to stand still, 20% allows you to grow the business,” he says. Mr Middleton also purports that British companies are held back by adhering to a own socks in sandles approach. He says many are unwilling to change their products or services to suit varied

international needs or cultures. “The British turn up and expect to do the same thing everywhere,” he says, Mrs Ward agrees giving an example of how cultural approaches to doing business vary from nation to nation. “Cold calling is extremely rude in South Korea,” she says and can alienate potential customers.

#MDC2012 Vince Middleton, chairman at Newburgh Engineering and Jan Ward, founder and CEO at Corrotherm, are due to speak about how to achieve growth at ’s Manufacturer Directors’ Conference 2012 on 21 November. Contact Benn Walsh ( on 0207 202 7485 for more info or go to mdc2012


Your own

personal Judas Is your company harbouring the manufacturing industry’s very own Asil Nadir? Across sectors insider fraud is on the rise. What does it look like, what impact could it have on your company and how can you protect against it?


ecent figures from Cifas, a UK fraud prevention organisation, revealed that more and more UK companies are falling victim to the effects of fraud. Even more worryingly, a huge proportion of this fraudulent activity is coming from the enemy within, as incidences of insider fraud, perpetrated by current or potential employees, jumped a staggering 52% in the first half of 2012 compared with the previous year. Experts from Cifas attribute much of the leap to the harsh economic environment – a supposition borne out by a 24% increase in dishonest actions by staff to gain work benefits or employment. “Staff are manipulating systems to get bonuses to which they are not entitled, augment commission and sometimes gain paid time off, which effectively amounts to theft of cash,” says Cifas communications manager, Richard Hurley.


One of the intangible costs of insider fraud, which can in fact have an extremely grave impact on a company, is the toll on workforce morale Richard Hurley, Communications Manager, Cifas

This information is demoralising, especially for small firms where relationships between staff are close knit and trust is paramount to the smooth running of business. It also seems to put forward thinking employers into a treacherous situation whereby the more they use innovative benefits as a way to attract talent, the more vulnerable they make themselves to fraud. But just how rife is insider fraud in manufacturing companies? Philip Loveday, an advisor at North West-based law firm UNW, and formerly a member of the Northumbria police force fraud squad, reveals that, sadly the sector adheres to broad patterns. “Recent figures from the National Fraud Office show that UK manufacturing companies lost £7.4 billion to fraud in the last twelve months. The overall figure for the UK was £73 billion.” As if the massive scale of these sums needed emphasizing, Mr Loveday points out that the entire defence budget in 2011

was £47.2bn. While many in that industry would undoubtedly complain that this budget is far too small, to think that such a fundamental part of government spending is far outstripped by the underhand machinations of fraudsters is disorienting. Furthermore, for those who might assume that it is only large firms that really suffer from insider fraud, Loveday again issues some sobering information.

SMEs at risk “SME firms are particularly susceptible to fraud, both internally and externally,” he states. “They tend to have less thorough systems and safeguards in place to protect against fraudulent activity. Best practice to protect against insider fraud would be to always ensure that more than one person is responsible for processes like cash transfers, invoicing, payroll. But in a small firm that is often simply impossible.” As a potential workaround Loveday suggests that


and Professional Services: Insider Fraud

encouraging workforce flexibility and multi-skilling can help.

Tell tales

Who to watch It’s difficult and unwise to make generalisations about the profile of the typical fraudster. But Cifas has found that certain types of fraud can be attached to certain levels of organisational hierarchy. “Fraud involving theft from customers is more likely at a junior level – among those who have direct contact with customers in their daily tasks,” says Hurley. While this type of fraud may be less applicable in manufacturing companies than it is in service sectors like retail and finance, Hurley says that it is still feasible. “A system which keeps track of how many times an employee is logging into the account details of a customer or checking stocks – particularly of products with high market value such as those including copper wiring for example – is helpful in protecting against this kind of fraud,” he advises. With regards to theft from the employer, it is more senior staff who tend to bow to temptation. “Line manager level and above, who have access rights to payroll, tend to be the more common perpetrators when it comes to theft from the employer,” says Hurley. Loveday confirms: “The worst cases I investigated during my time with fraud squad in Northumbria were carried out by trusted individuals in quite senior positions, often earning good money.” And the pilfering was not minor either. Cases which Loveday investigated during his stint with ‘The Force’ include that of Peter Walker, a director at Liebherr Cranes in Sunderland who stole almost £1 million over seven years. Mr Walker was on a salary of £70,000 a year but could not resist the temptation to skim off more. He established a sophisticated fraud scheme, involving the complicity of three other employees – including a senior director at the firm’s parent company in Australia – which was blown open in 2010 resulting in a three and a half year long prison sentence for Mr Walker. Other cases Loveday recalls include that of Douglas Long, an accountant who stole £150,000 from his employers EGS, and Peter Spoors, finance director at Miller Homes who helped himself to £380,000.

In the last

12 months UK manufacturing has lost

£7.4bn to fraud

How to spot a fraudster Notice when employees consistently seem to be living beyond their means Record the frequency of daily activities like checking timesheets, stock taking, visiting the accounts department without apparent need, accessing accounts Involve all staff in regularly reviewing the security of key administrative processes – this protects against making reviews look like management witch hunts and lays management itself open to inspection

Counting the cost

Recent figures from the National Fraud Office show that UK manufacturing companies lost £7.4 billion to fraud in the last twelve months Philip Loveday, advisor, UNW

The effects of this kind of greed and dishonesty on an SME could be catastrophic – potentially causing a company to fail. Furthermore, insider fraud, perpetrated by senior individuals is notoriously difficult to discover. This difficulty is made more intense in SMEs where there will rarely be any kind of whistle blowing policy in place. Reputational damage is also a common concern says Loveday. Having made the transfer to the private sector, Loveday says that a large proportion of the cases he is called in to advise on, are brought to UNW by clients, many in the manufacturing and engineering space, who are loathe to take their suspicions to the police for fear of the reputational damage a criminal case might cause. This reputational damage can undermine relationships with suppliers as well as customers, it can also hit hard internally. Mr Hurley of Cifas says: “One of the intangible costs of insider fraud, which can in fact have an extremely grave impact on a company, is the toll on workforce morale.” Huelry explains further: “Employees can be put off working for a company once insider fraud has been discovered, because of a reluctance to work in an environment where trust had been undermined and for fear of what that discovery will do to everyday work culture.” Loveday sums up the case for a little investment in fraud protection. “When you add up the potential cost of money stolen, legal fees and damage to your brand, your supply chain position and your ability or confidence to recruit staff, then the cost of regular audits, investing in more secure IT systems, or in some consultancy to make processes more robust, is tiny in comparison. Fraud should be a part of every company’s risk management strategy.”


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EEFInsight Attracting the best Recruitment is fast becoming a seller’s market explains John Morris, chief executive of JAM, skills partner to EEF. So how can manufacturers ensure they’re in the best position to snap up talent?


t’s accepted wisdom that recessions lead to stagnation in job markets, with the fear of ‘last one in, first one out’ making a compelling case for employees to stay put. But employers should not complacently place faith in this philosophy. Recruitment and retention policies must keep pace with changes in the market.

with 79% saying they considered moving jobs to be their only option for career progression.

Money isn’t everything

Talent on the move While we’re still in recession, the acute skills shortages in UK manufacturing - combined with pockets of confidence in sectors like aerospace and automotive mean the days of a job being a fiercely contested prize are over. Today’s candidates are alive to the fact that they are the prize. Whether employers are ready to adjust to this change is another story, however. We regularly monitor the mood of the workforce through sector-specific surveys and a picture is emerging of a growing disconnect between the way employers and candidates see the recruitment landscape. Recent polls across the automotive, electronics and aerospace industries, for example, all revealed relatively high levels of dissatisfaction with pay and conditions. Of the 1,300 aerospace professionals we questioned in June, only a third felt their salary reflected their level of skill and a quarter highlighted the potential for a skills drain to other sectors, such as nuclear, which are considered to be more lucrative. This was reflected in a recent survey of 400 electronics professionals

A picture is emerging of a growing disconnect between the way employers and candidates see the recruitment landscape John Morris, CEO, JAM

This liquidity in the workforce is good news if you’re a growing business looking to hire but, with so few skilled people in the market, competition is fierce and talent comes at a premium. This shift hasn’t been matched by a change in the mentality of employers. Many still seem unwilling, or unable, to release the hiring budgets required by today’s market. Employers need to consider the climate in which we’re operating and make competitive offers. This doesn’t always have to be about salary - additional benefits such as pensions, or flexible working can also make a big difference. It’s not about size either - many smaller businesses are getting it right and attracting talent ahead of bigger rivals. But even when employers are willing to pay the best wages, they are sometimes being hampered by internal processes. Fidelity doesn’t exist in recruitment and quality candidates are likely to have plenty of offers. A well-organised, swift recruitment process is therefore essential. An employer should not rush into a recruitment decision – bad hires are a waste of time, money and effort – but

dragging your feet over making a decision, or insisting on three or four-stage interview process will mean you risk losing out. Aiming for a two-week turnaround from applications submitted to offers being made is a good rule of thumb. That might sound onerous, but working with a quality recruitment consultant, will mean you’re not spending time filtering through CVs to find candidates, the right people will be presented to you for interview. Arranging early morning and early evening interviews can also increase both your and the candidate’s availability and scheduling first and second interviews within the same week will save time, as long as the interviewers are able to reflect and consult. If a longer process is unavoidable, maintaining contact with the best candidates from the first round will help ensure they stay engaged and can help influence their decisions regarding any other job offers. Talent remains the lifeblood of the industry and the reality of the skills shortage is such that the critical issue is no longer whether you should increase your investment in your people; it’s how you do it.

For more information on how JAM can assist your recruitment plans please contact Zack Georgiou on 0161 905 7904 or email

Have your say at


R&D tax claims

Get into gear

for R&D tax claims Mark Evans, managing director, R&D Tax Claims Ltd and Paul Darwent chairman of Mini Gears explain how they have worked together to claim back tax relief on every pound the business spends in developing new products or introducing new and improved processes.


he R&D tax credit scheme is a Government-backed initiative instigated by the EU. The enhancement of R&D expenditure increased to 125% on April 1, 2012. R&D Tax Claims Ltd, based in Wolverhampton, was founded in January 2012 by managing director Mark Evans. Mark, a qualified chartered accountant for 27 years, has specialised in R&D tax relief for four years and in that time has helped UK companies claim back almost £8 million in R&D tax. “Every single year, there is over £5 billion worth of potential tax relief sitting unclaimed by UK companies”, says Mark. “We can save a company thousands of pounds by netting a successful reclaim, in addition to annual reductions on future corporation tax bills.” R&D Tax Credits’ expertise lie in the depth of research, documentation and presentation of a watertight case for a claim


Every single year, there is over £5 billion worth of potential tax relief sitting unclaimed by UK companies Mark Evans, Managing Director, R&D Tax Claims

says Mark. “We have an excellent reputation with HMRC and enjoy a one hundred per cent success rate. Some bosses are reluctant to consider it because they expect the process to be time consuming and intrusive. But we undertake all of the investigative work and are happy to work with existing accountants.”

Maxi returns for Mini Gears Mini Gears Components Worldwide of Stockport, Manchester recently reclaimed £96,400. Mini Gears manufactures precision engineered parts for global clients including the aerospace industry, classic cars and stair lifts and is one of the world’s biggest producers of gear racks. “We thought R&D was only for big companies engaged in designing their own products,” says chairman Paul Darwent. “We’ve always problem-solved with our clients in the hope of

winning the contract, but didn’t realise it was R&D. Previously we’d made no formal record of it so couldn’t charge for it.” Paul states the R&D Tax Claims did an excellent job in guiding Mini Gears through the process of making a claim. “Working with us they provided a detailed analysis of our R&D work to submit to HMRC,” he explains. “The scheme seemed too good to be true and when I saw the reclaim total, I was incredulous. Now I’m over the moon. Every penny is reinvested in Mini Gears’ future.” Using a specialist company can take the headache out of working through what is and isn’t considered R&D expenditure according to Mark, who also says that HMRC are happy to re-credit companies that are investing in R&D as long as that company presents a clearly documented case. “Around 150,000 eligible UK SMEs could benefit from the scheme but less than 10,000 make a claim”, concludes Mark. “That means over 93 per cent are missing out because they’re not aware that they qualify. Manufacturing can encompass engineering, electronics, pharmaceutical, biotech and communication systems, as well as more traditional methods. The scheme also applies to businesses exploring new products or niche markets. I urge businesses to take advantage of this scheme – we operate on a no win, no fee basis and our successful clients are testimony to the fact that there are no catches.”

R&D Tax Claims Ltd T: 01902 783172 contains case studies of other successful claimants and further details of the HMRC scheme.

See more. Do more.

with our clouD baSeD management toolS We enable you to make your compliance processes and records screen based and accessible to all your staff, wherever they are located. As a result they can use the system, maintain documents, and access information at any time and anywhere whether on a PC, tablet or smartphone. Our system means that you can easily capture when training is complete, checks undertaken, and processes satisfied, regardless of whether they take place in a single factory, across multiple stores, by remote workers, or as part of health and safety, hazardous materials, or risk assessment programmes. Request a demo of the cloud based management tools from Papaya UK


To find out more visit or call on 01780 758560




H C HARD AS In the face of rising energy costs, too many manufacturers still consider energy efficiency solutions to be a discretionary expenditure and are ignoring the considerable financial advantages that an all-encompassing energy strategy can offer. Peter Russell, head of manufacturing at RBS, dispels the myths behind British manufacturers’ reluctance to embrace energy efficiency solutions and explains how UK Manufacturers can achieve significant cost savings to help the bottom line, without risking capital. Increasingly expensive energy According to the Financial Times, the European Union faces 20 years of rising energy bills. Considering that combined gas and electricity bills have increased by more than 30% in the past five years, the potential impact that rising energy costs could have on the future of manufacturing businesses’ operational expenditure is worrying.


Energy Efficiencies A House of Commons report explains that in the UK, domestic energy prices have ratcheted up due to higher operating, network and environmental costs and higher supplier margins, which affect wholesale costs. The only way for consumers to reduce the impact of increased unit costs, and bills, is through energy efficiency improvements and selfgeneration of energy. “Finance directors must wake up to the importance of efficiency,” urges Karen Wordsworth, director of climate change and sustainability, KPMG. “It is generally assumed that energy waste is OK in the manufacturing world, but it hasn’t been properly grasped that production costs could be heavily reduced.”

How energy efficiency solutions can really save cash The CBI estimates that 20% of energy purchased by UK businesses is wasted because of inefficiencies, so it’s not just heavy energy consumers that are targeted by efficiency measures. The following solutions can be suitable for a wide range of different companies:

Boiler and Combined Heat & Power About a third of the UK’s energy consumption is used for heating or producing hot water. Boilers offer considerable energy saving opportunities, seeing that a new low temperature hot water boiler is nearly twice as efficient as a traditional oil fired boiler in bad condition. One knitwear manufacturer in Scotland replaced its old, inefficient oil-fired boiler with two new high efficiency gas-fired boilers. The resulting savings were £13,200 and 276 tonnes CO2 per year, with an overall payback time of under five years. Combined heat and power (CHP) can easily be associated with a new boiler system and offer up to 30% reductions in energy bills in general. CHP is a method where both usable heat and power are generated within the same process. Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, managed to slash its energy costs by 20% after installing CHP at its Kent plant.

Building Management systems A Building Management System (BMS) is a computer-based control system installed in buildings that controls and monitors the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems. Used correctly, a BMS can reduce total energy costs by 10% and increase comfort, says the Carbon Trust.

Manufacturing processes By carefully analysing a company’s use of energy and targeting energy wastage, its manufacturing process can be modified to save energy and money. Using a computer monitoring system, businesses

It is generally assumed that energy waste is OK in the manufacturing world, but it hasn’t been properly grasped that production costs could be heavily reduced Karen Wordsworth, Director of Climate Change and Sustainability, KPMG

can track energy costs and allocate them directly to processes and equipment, in order to identify cost reduction opportunities. For example, one glass manufacturer that used to spend £500,000 on energy each year, made savings of nearly 10 per cent of its total energy bill by simply optimising its manufacturing process and reviewing how it used its electric motors.

Heat pumps and geothermal power These solutions access the thermal energy that is contained naturally in air, water or the ground and make it available to users. They are efficient heating solutions although they do require a power source to run off. Based on figures from the Carbon Trust, the capital cost of a small commercial scale installation (~55kW), will, on average, be approximately £900-£1,050/ kW and the total installed costs would be between £50,000 and £58,000. Assuming a 35 per cent load factor, a system of this size could produce over 168,000kWh of heat output per year.

Solar electricity and heating The sun can be used to generate electricity as well as heat water however location, size of the company and planning permission factors are essential considerations before beginning such projects. The Carbon Trust says a small office could generate 20 per cent of its power with 40m2 of photo-voltaic solar cells and thanks to government grants and incentives, grid connected systems can take as little as five years to pay for themselves.

Waste-to-energy: biomass, anaerobic digestion At the moment the most widespread process of waste-to-energy is the production of electricity via combustion but there are also a number systems that enable the production of a combustible fuel commodity, such as methane gas. As well as creating new revenue streams (selling energy back to the grid), waste-to-energy solutions also help



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Energy Efficiencies eliminate costs associated with waste disposal. An animal feed mill in Northern Ireland that used to spend £200,000 a year to power its oil burning boiler cut its fuel costs to £60,000 a year by switching to a wood-pellet biomass technology.

Knock-on financial advantages In addition to achieving cost savings from energy efficient technology, UK manufacturers can benefit from additional financial advantages that will impact their bottom line. Wordsworth adds: “A company that is cutting down on its overall energy bill is freeing up revenue by improving cash flow that can be invested more profitably elsewhere. It is also minimising its carbon tax obligations, if it falls under the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme and potential land filed tax.” Using new energy efficient equipment also cancels out the heavy maintenance costs that accompany older pieces of kit such as maintenance backlog and associated staffing costs and which can help reduce the costs of your facilitates management contracts. New sources of revenue are also becoming available. Carbon credits are granted to businesses that emit less than the benchmark amount of Greenhouse gases and can be traded as a commodity, currently within the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). Government energy schemes such as Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) for renewable electricity and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), offer subsidies for self-generation of renewable energies - sometimes known as clean energy cash back. Once energy efficient solutions have been installed, manufacturers can achieve further cost savings through Smart Metering and monitoring. This will ensure energy supply is charged at the correct energy supply tariff and can generate savings from energy supply costs.

additional financial benefits manufacturers can achieve, as outlined earlier. Investment decisions obviously need to be made based on what equipment or combination of equipment will drive the optimal energy and cost savings for individual organisations. To achieve this, manufacturers should look to advisors to help identify and aggregate all of those benefits to make investment decisions even more completing.

On or off balance sheet? Ian Tyrer, head of execution at Lombard, explains the different ways of financing energy efficiency solutions. He says: “Manufacturers can either chose on balance sheet solutions including internal funding, traditional debt and asset finance or less well known off balance sheet solutions. This can be achieved through an Equipment supplier or and Energy Services Company (ESCO).” The RBS group has a lot of experience dealing with these ESCOs and offers a number of ways to help customers understand which financing solution would suit them. To find out how RBS can enable your company to achieve its sustainable energy objectives, contact:

Peter Russell Head of Manufacturing & Industrials UK sector coverage, RBS Corporate & Institutional Banking T: (0)20 7672 1007 E: Ian Tyrer Head of Execution, Lombard T: (0)78 2510 6892 E:

Energy Performance Contracting Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) is a turnkey product that Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) offer to customers providing a series of energy efficiency measures, which is often accompanied by guarantees to cover the cost of implementing such a strategy. Usually an EPC will comprise the following services: Identify energy-saving opportunities Develop engineering designs and specifications Manage the project from design to installation

For insight on how to analyse your company’s energy consumption and effectively improve its cash flow contact: Karen Wordsworth Director, Climate Change and Sustainability, KPMG LLP T: (0)20 7311 8213 E: karen.wordsworth

Arrange for financing Train staff and provide ongoing maintenance services Guarantee that savings will cover all project costs

The bottom line The total impact to the bottom line be derived through a combination of realising costs savings from energy efficient solutions as well as the


Perfectly composed Time and time again we hear that the UK is strong in composite technologies. But what does that mean precisely? Will Stirling finds out.


omposite materials are strips of fibre – carbon fibre, glass fibre, nylon or other synthetic materials – laid between layers of resin. This produces a densely packed sandwich-like material that is lightweight, strong and durable. The principle is old. Yachts and motor boats have used glass reinforced plastic, or GRP, as their primary manufacturing technique for decades, as has the motor racing industry. In the 1970s, civil aircraft companies introduced interior furnishing panels for aircraft. In recent years the merits of making aircraft components from composite materials have shot to the top of the agenda in the board rooms of aerospace companies. Composites reduce weight, saving fuel and therefore money – providing the cost of manufacture can be comparable or cheaper than the cost of making components from traditional machined parts, bolted and riveted together. Today the merits of composite materials in aerospace are well known. Airbus’s neo320 aircraft


has proven popular with airlines because its high composite content has made it much lighter than the equivalent aluminium aircraft and so it has better fuel efficiency. The primary structure – the fuselage, wings and tailfin – of Boeing’s flagship 787 Dreamliner is about 50% composite.

A national treasure Through these big aerospace multinationals, and joined by companies like Spirit AeroSystems in Glasgow, Britain has developed a specialised niche in manufacturing composite parts, especially for aircraft wings. In Broughton, Airbus makes all the wings for the Airbus A350 family in a purpose-built factory. Under the last government, then Business Secretary Lord Mandelson commissioned a composite capability review for the UK. This identified the real potential for growing GDP by taking existing composites manufacturing knowhow – well established in companies like Airbus, GKN in Bristol and Bombardier in Belfast, but held in these silos – and transferring this knowledge to non-aerospace sectors like the automotive and renewable energy. Managing intellectual property issues all the while. Today the UK has a network of composite research facilities and the National Composites Centre (NCC) is the chief outcome of the 2009 Mandelson review. Opened in 2010, its location just outside Bristol is no accident. The universities that bid for NCC funding had to have a close research relationship with companies with composites expertise,” says Tom Hitchings, business development director at

the National Composites Centre in Filton. “The University of Bristol’s site where the NCC was built is within four miles of Airbus, GKN and Tods Aerospace, some of the biggest users of composites materials in the UK.” Its raison d’etre, says Mr Hitchings, is to fulfil the vision of that BIS review – create a technical centre for research and testing where techniques can be perfected for any application, wind turbines and automotive body panels are focal points. After a ramp-up phase, the NCC is now all go. Scientists and engineers are hard at work on the shop floor, testing how certain combinations of fibre lay-up and resin composition and concentration would work for the specific needs of a wind turbine blade. Applications vary; the trick is to find the composite ‘recipe’ for a specific need at the lightest weight and lowest cost. You can tune it to what you need it to do, says Tom Hitchings. “A 3mm thick piece of aluminium has the mechanical properties of a 3mm thick piece of aluminium,” he says. “While a 3mm thick piece of composite has a variety of stiffness,

Manufacturing Technologies: Composites

strength and weight properties depending on its composition. By making it in different plies and different orientations [of the fibre], you can make it stiff in one direction but not another. Or you can make it torsionally stiff so that it won’t twist, or very strong but brittle. You can fine tune it to what you need it to do.”

Bombardier Aerospace While Mr Hitchings says that more and more non-aerospace companies are using the NCC to access knowledge of composite materials – in fields like wind turbines, marine and automotive – the use of composites is still dominated by aerospace. Bombardier Aerospace in Belfast has over 40 years’ experience in the design, manufacture, and certification of advanced composite components. With help from BIS’s Strategic Investment Fund and Invest Northern Ireland, it opened the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites & Engineering Centre, or NIACE, in Belfast during January. Working with Queen’s University and the University of Ulster, the 3,700 sq m facility manufactures the advanced composite wings for Bombardier’s new CSeries aircraft and the composite wing skins and spar components for the Learjet 85 business jet. It also makes composite monolithic fan cowl doors for the RollsRoyce BR710 nacelle and V2500 nacelle, as well as parts for other platforms. Belfast has two

Far from the madding cloud Outside of the aerospace industry the use of composites has transformed industries from automotive through marine, renewable power generation and medical devices. Chas A Blatchford & Sons was one of the first manufacturers of prosthetic limbs to adopt carbon fibre composites for application in its products back in the early 1980s. Since then, the use of composites by its competitors has become commonplace and to keep refining its competitive edge Blatchford has had to push forward its knowledge of how manufacturing method, design and machining impacts on the performance and aesthetic appearance of composite materials. It is now experimenting with the introduction of Kevlar into products previously produced in pure carbon fibre in order to reduce brittleness. While the skills and experience required to manipulate composites for the manufacture of prosthetics are specialist in some ways, Blatchford CEO, Stephen Blatchford says certain core competencies remain and that bringing in knowledge from other industries where composite are commonly used can be enlightening. “We recently employed a composites specialist on our design team who used to work for McLaren,” he says. “While he had a lot to learn about the industry, his broader knowledge of composite materials and their associated manufacturing techniques has added a real asset to our team.” other composite manufacturing facilities, in Dunmurry and Newtownabbey, which together have a production area of about 400,000 sq ft, employing about 750 people. Bombardier Belfast is working particularly on two special processes. Resin transfer moulding (RTM) is an advanced composites process which allows for the manufacture of components in a much more integrated way than the conventional process. Composite material is laid up in a mould, after which resin

Production of the wings for Bombardier Aerospace’s new CSeries aircraft is located at NIACE

is injected and subsequently cured. Involving no autoclaves, it produces dimensionally accurate components with integral – not fitted on – features. Resin transfer infusion is a patented process developed by Bombardier in Belfast and is a hybrid of RTM and autoclave processing. It uses dry fabrics to create a structure into which the resin is injected after it is placed in the autoclave. This technology is best suited to primary structures and, Bombardier says, offers cost and performance advantages over metallic and conventional composite manufacturing processes. It is used to make large one-piece wing skins and structural spars for the carbon composite wing on the company’s new CSeries aircraft. At the Manufacturer Directors’ will host Conference 2012, an invitation-only round table to discuss the UK’s strength in composites manufacturing. The outcomes of this discussion will be published post-conference.


A flexible

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Consistent processes aren’t always the answer when it comes to getting the best from ERP systems finds Malcolm Wheatley.



elcome to one of ERP’s realities – one size does not fit all. Despite a proclaimed focus on core business processes such as order-to-cash, or procure-topay, that ought to be very similar across companies, ERP systems vary widely in how they adapt to individual circumstances. Different geographies, cultures, and divisions within a business; large customers with special requirements; service versus manufacturing models - it’s not difficult to think of instances where doing things differently would make sense and where a system that ably meets the needs of one company’s order-to-cash process may feel like an ill-fitting straitjacket to another. Yet the solution that seemed obvious just twenty years ago is now something to be shunned at all costs: customisation.

Too many manufacturers have been burned by the introduction of custom-written additions and tweaks which result in systems that are so non-standard so as to be incapable of upgrade or sometimes even maintenance. These days, the advice is to stay safely on the vendor’s upgrade path – even when that seems to necessitate compromises in terms of suitability and flexibility. Needless to say, it wasn’t quite supposed to be this way. Roll the clock back, and ERP systems earned a well-deserved reputation for delivering business-wide consistent processes – even when those processes straddled continents. Often linked to business process re-engineering programmes, companies painstakingly developed the best process for their needs, and then rolled it out across the organisation, with the ERP system ensuring compliance.

Goodbye 1994 So what went wrong? Talk to those close to the issue, and several broad themes emerge. One, quite simply, is that the name of the game has changed. Look at the sort of companies that first rolled-out ERP across their businesses, and what you see are giant multinationals putting in place ERP systems from vendors equally dominant in their space, such as SAP. No longer: thanks to globalisation, many of the companies these days attempting to roll-out ERP globally are ordinary mid-sized engineering and manufacturing businesses. They may have subsidiaries in, say, France, China and the United States, and a tier-2 ERP system from an equally mid-sized vendor. But it’s not just globalisation that is imposing flexibility requirements on manufacturers and their systems. Companies are finding that they need to support different business models, partly through acquisition, and partly through strategic moves into new but complementary lines of business – like adding an aftersales service and repair function. Finally, some observers point to failure on the part of manufacturers themselves to either implement their systems properly, or to take a strategic enough view of what might happen to their businesses over the medium term. “A lot depends on how an ERP system is set up,” says Lorne Walters, director of SAP implementation consultants VISSAP. “If you’re a stable business, there’s one way of implementing ERP, but if you’re planning on significant changes, or going on an acquisition spree, there’s another.” Specifically, the use of ‘entity templates’ adds a small amount of cost and timescale to an implementation, but makes adding additional entities – foreign subsidiaries or manufacturing plants – very straightforward. Go

Customisation isn’t going to go away, but doing it this way allows manufacturers to stay on the upgrade path, and avoid the downside of customisation Rue Dilhe, managing director, Exel Computer Systems

for a ‘single entity’ approach, on the other hand, and each additional country requires a full implementation.

You want what?

It’s all about being able to have standard processes, shared definitions, and consistent roll-ups for consolidation purposes. In such circumstances, the combination of a lighter footprint and the cloud make perfect sense John Hamman, manufacturing industry principal, SAP UK

So how good are today’s ERP systems in circumstances where flexibility is required? And – prompted by the example of Allied Insulators (see overleaf) – does the latest generation of cloud-based offerings add anything new to the dynamic? At a basic level, a number of vendors have worked hard to eliminate one common complaint: inflexible input screens, which force users – especially small businesses with just a handful of users spanning functions – to cycle through cumbersome data-entry screens in a pre-ordered manner. “All our screens are fully configurable,” says Paul Marry, chief executive of mid-tier vendor Intact Software. “Data can be keyed in whatever order a customer likes, to suit the needs of their business and their people. ‘Customisation without code’, we call it.” But screens and minor modifications are one thing – and the needs of global businesses, and businesses with multiple processes to support, quite another. At mid-tier vendor Exel Computer Systems, for instance, the challenge of flexibly bridging the gap between the capabilities of the core ERP software and the needs of particular users has been met by a development layer, termed ‘Adapt’, that sits above the standard Exel ERP software.

Exel managing director Rue Dilhe explains that the layer usefully allows manufacturers to take the basic process and add situationspecific deviations to suit the needs of particular sites or companies without breaking the standard process. “It allows companies to inject flexibility, but keep a clear distinction between the standard software and the bespoke addition,” says Dilhe. “Customisation isn’t going to go away, but doing it this way allows manufacturers to stay on the upgrade path, and avoid the downside of customisation.”

Reach for the cloud With other vendors, the approach taken to flexibility is more wideranging. SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics and Epicor, for instance, can credibly claim to have built significant amounts of flexibility in as standard, with SAP and Dynamics AX having particularly broad national support and underlying business model support. SAP, for its part, can point not only to considerable flexibility within its core ECC flagship system, but also ‘rollup compatible’ solutions that are more suited to the needs of smaller businesses such as national subsidiaries and sales organisations. Crawleybased Edwards Ltd – a market-leading manufacturer of vacuum equipment for the world’s semiconductor and other hi-tech industries – implemented SAP’s cloudbased SAP Business ByDesign solution in a number of overseas subsidiaries.


IT in manufacturing

It’s always best to think carefully about what your longterm and near-term requirements are. If you don’t, the risk that you’re running is that you’re buildingin customisation, which can be expensive John Lawson, director in the technology consulting practice, Deloitte.

It’s a solution intended for small and medium-sized businesses, explains SAP UK’s manufacturing industry principal John Hamman, but one that is equally at home as a solution for the subsidiaries of larger enterprises wanting to put in place a lightweight ERP footprint in businesses that might struggle to absorb the full weight of SAP’s ECC solution. What’s more, he says, it’s a solution that’s becoming surprisingly prevalent. “Look carefully, and you’ll see quite a lot of this sort of thing going on,” notes Hamman. “It’s all about being able to have standard processes and shared definitions, and – from a financial point of view – consistent roll-ups for consolidation purposes. In such circumstances, the combination of a lighter footprint and the cloud make perfect sense.” Djimmy Zeijpveld, business line manager at Exact Software, agrees. “Vendors – especially midtier vendors – of ERP have continued to innovate, offering monthly subscription models as an alternative to the rigid user licensing agreements demanded by top tier vendors. Monthly subscriptions dramatically reduce the required level of capital and operational expenditure, making ERP more accessible for small and medium size firms seeking growth across borders.”


Cloud + ERP = Flexibility A case study to prove the point Following a management buyout at Stoke on Trent-based electrical insulator manufacturer Allied Insulators, the management team were told by former owners Wade Ceramics Group that their Sage-based ERP and CRM systems would be turned off within a matter of weeks. As it turned out, this something of a blessing in disguise: the Sage system didn’t incorporate customer-facing business processes such as quoting and tendering, and consequently data-entry processes were repeatedly duplicated across different systems such as invoicing and accounting. “It was sufficient for back office accounting processes and financial planning, but we were spending approximately an hour a day duplicating data entry across multiple disparate silos,” says Jon Knapper, Allied Insulators’ managing director “We needed a solution which could incorporate all business processes from quoting and tendering data, business activity and profit and loss, inventory and order traceability, which would allow us to extract accurate, real time business intelligence for our monthly management reporting.” The solution: NetSuite ERP and CRM, hosted in the cloud by specialist NetSuite consultancy First Hosted. Adopting these systems not only eliminated duplicated data entry, but also added useful new functionality. “NetSuite now runs everything for us, from managing front end processes, right through to all our accounting and management data,” says Knapper. “The solution was less expensive than our previous system and, in our opinion, is far more effective.”

Epicor, for its part, points to the 2003 acquisition of Scala as an impetus to inject both geographic and functional flexibility into its products. Epicor 9 has been re-written from the ground-up to be flexible and global in scope. It employs Service Oriented Architecture principles in order to make integration easier. “Unusually for a United Statesbased software business, we realised that we couldn’t take an American-centric application and make it global,” says Malcolm Fox, Epicor director of product marketing. “We knew we needed multiple sets of accounts, central engines for tax and rounding, and we

understood that you couldn’t take an ERP model focused on, say, wholesale distribution, and apply it to service management or manufacturing.” That said, hoping for flexibility after the event is no substitute for making sure that any required flexibility is available before the event. “It’s always best to think carefully about what your longterm and near-term requirements are,” concludes John Lawson, a director in the technology consulting practice at business advisers Deloitte. “If you don’t, the risk that you’re running is that you’re building-in customisation, which can be expensive.”

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The new

CIO A day in the life of a CIO today is far from what it was five years ago – and not just due to leaps in technology. Business models and business life-cycles have shifted, altering where responsibility for improvement lies in an organisation and how it is delivered. Denis Sharp, former CIO for welding equipment company ESAB Holdings reviews what this means for custodians of IT infrastructure.


enis Sharp believes in the power of IT and business process to help take a business to the next level. He also believes in the power that a culture of continuous improvement has to generate energy for innovation and progression. Mr Sharp has experience across multiple industrial and manufacturing sectors, with a focus on driving transformation and growth through the effective use of technology. It’s this experience that has led him to be a passionate believer in the power of change management and lean management principles. Sharp believes IT can play a huge part in driving this agenda, and saw first-hand how Unipart Consulting helped to successfully implement lean management principles across ESAB through a close working relationship with IT. “IT can help drive the cultural change if they’re playing the right role in the development of an enterprise-widebusiness operating and development system, or BODS as I like to call it,” says Mr Sharp. “They can bring a wealth


The same problems plague most organisations and none have IT at their core. People and customer needs are the core, but not IT Denis Sharp, formerly CIO of ESAB

of support to the creation and sustainability of BODS.” At ESAB, Sharp recalls being impressed by the methodical approach Unipart applied to ingraining lean principles in every employee from the shop-floor through to finance – and always with IT involved, something which would raise the eyebrows of many lean practitioners and consultants. “Our role was to help them to understand what was possible with all the lean tools they were looking at,” explains Sharp. But it is relatively unusual in a lean implementation to see IT embraced as a key roll out partner. Pamela Edmond, associate director at PMSI Consulting, believes is limiting. But she also understands that a change in the mentality of IT professionals may be needed before they can effectively contribute to their first continuous improvement programme. “It’s not about designing and implementing an elaborate innovation programme to create customer value,” she explains. “It is simply about encouraging everyone from

the grass roots up, and back again, to always be looking for continuous improvement.” IT must understand how technology can enable this – so that simple ideas to improve efficiency can potentially develop into market-changing processes or technology. “Creating the framework that allows the business to make decisions in a way that encourages and directs this kind of positive energy is what differentiates the leaders from the “also-rans”,” she says. And creating that framework is the new challenge and responsibility for CIO in today’s businesses.

Op ex is not CI Sharp is keen to differentiate between companies which create frameworks for operational excellence and those which support continuous improvement. The line between them, he says, is drawn by customer focus. “The same old problems plague most organisations and none have IT at their core. What they have at their core is people and customer needs,”

IT in


says Sharp. “Product design and development; sourcing and manufacturing; logistics and distribution; sales and customer service; all these must continuously improve to keep the business on track and IT needs to make this easy for them.” Finding a balance between operational excellence and continuous improvement is something Sharp has seen executive teams struggle with – from ESAB to RMC Group and Land Rover. “Executives remain accountable for the performance of the business, but they cannot keep up with both the rapid pace of change in best practice across their core processes; as well as managing an innovation pipeline for the future of the business,” he says. This is why it is so important to create clear business strategy and an organisational structure which supports the desired business model, Sharp says. “This includes creating the business framework and environment for all teams to perform at their best for customers – and here IT must take its cue. The next generation of CIOs will be playing more of a role in supporting that business vision than ever before.”

Business vision meets technology Sharp believes that as organisations continue to seek that edge through continuous improvement, having IT aligned to the overall business strategy and required performanceimprovement-objectives is vital. Sharp worked with PMSI Consulting while at ESAB to achieve this alignment in a balanced and methodical way. “PMSI starts the process with any client by understanding what the business strategy is, what’s possible, and what’s achievable. They hold a mirror up to your business, while creating a sustainable business process that supports the best business behaviours you have.”

Overall Management System – bringing the organisation together.

Continuous Improvement

Executive Management Team – Planning/Communications/ Reward Systems

Breakthrough Change

Fieldhouse Sharp BODS Concept (Business Operating & Development Systems)© 2012

Executives cannot keep up with the pace of change in best practice across their core processes, as well as managing an innovation pipeline for their business Denis Sharp, formerly of ESAB

In making these types of changes, decision making processes also change. Sharp explains that as new insight and often many more questions present themselves, there is the need to redesign the analytical framework – new KPIs and reports are needed to help employees make decisions that will lead to improvement and growth. Edmond of PMSI goes on to explain some of the challenges this can involve. “Sometimes we work with clients at the beginning of a cultural change the journey. Sometimes we meet them as momentum builds and the need to cope with all those extra questions that Denis referred to begin to overwhelm them,” she explains. PMSI helps by building ‘strategic’ data sets which bring the right data together to highlight what is really driving performance in a business and where improvements can be made. “That can be everything from external market data, to customer satisfaction, through to supply chain performance,” says Edmond. Pinpointing the relevance of this data collation to continuous improvement in business processes, Sharp says: “Many operational processes can be

transformed by simply providing managers with fast and accurate information to make the right decisions. This in itself can foster break through thinking.” For IT this means thinking about how help the business capture, manage and store data for business improvement in the most efficient way possible. Software must be flexible in order to allow every business function and employee to put the customer at the heart of what they do. And this brings the CIO back full circle to his knowledge of available technology to support autonomous business change. “Some of the biggest potential for manufacturers to improve the speed with which they deliver value to customers will come through technology,” states Sharp. “This includes virtual desktops or ‘bring your own device’; cloud and big data; as well as the simple, yet genius approach to waste reduction in SaaS.” “If IT leadership is beginning to look at how these emerging technologies can help deliver value to customers now, they’ll be looking at continuous improvement beyond their peers tomorrow,” sums up Sharp. “Enabling this is the role of the new CIO.”


Unlocking the hidden IT function

Are manufacturers’ IT departments working on the wrong set of priorities? That’s what managed services provider Star reckons, discovers Malcolm Wheatley.


mong manufacturers, the phrase ‘hidden factory’ has come into vogue to describe the potential capacity that could be unlocked by delivering improvements in yields, efficiencies, running speeds and quality. In short, the hidden factory is very real manufacturing capacity – obscured by poor performance. But is there a ‘hidden IT function’? Because when he’s talking to British manufacturers, the hidden factory is an analogy


that often comes to mind, says Matt Leighton, head of manufacturing solutions at Star, a specialist provider of cloud computing services for UK businesses. British businesses, and especially medium-sized British businesses, make a huge contribution to the UK economy, he notes. Particularly at the smaller end of the scale – businesses with under £100 million in revenues. These companies account for 22% of economic revenue, and 16% of

total employment, but make up just 1% of firms. But often, says Leighton, he hears such manufacturers complain that they’re competing with one hand tied behind their backs – struggling to deliver game-changing new business applications, insightful Business Intelligence initiatives, and cuttingedge business-to-consumer or business-to-business e-commerce programmes. Yet look at where their IT priorities lie, and in practice many of these companies are spending significant amounts of money, not to mention management time and attention, on an area of expenditure that few would describe as a strategically important: IT maintenance. “Look at the figures, and the amount that manufacturers spend on their IT budgets each year is surprisingly large,” he notes. “Yet look at how that budget is spent, and the priorities are often around activities that keep things going, rather than help the business advance.”

IT in


Missed opportunities As Leighton sees it, it’s possible to divide IT expenditures in two: business-specific, businesscritical IT capabilities; and those that aren’t. In the former camp, he positions applications such as ERP, PLM, and CRM. In the second, everything else – e-mail, data storage, back-ups, telephony, office productivity tools, network management and so on. The overhead associated with providing the capabilities in the second camp shouldn’t be underestimated, he stresses. As a proportion of the overall workload of the IT function, and its overall resource expenditure in terms of effort and expense, the impact is undeniably significant. Now look at the comparable resource put into those projects that genuinely add value to the business, says Leighton. Simply put, time and again, Star’s experience is that these projects – with approved business cases, and a known positive impact on the business – fail to get accorded the priority they deserve. Why? IT-driven projects, it seems, are invariably seen as more important when, for example, deadlines are imposed by software vendors in terms of software going ‘out of support’, or because a new release comes along and installing it keeps the business on the correct upgrade path. “If you look at a business’s IT projects, and put them on a heat map, you can see what they are, and from where within the organisation they have come,” says Leighton. “The result is that you see that businesses are often prioritising – say – an upgrade to the mail server over implementing a data warehouse project that could boost the bottom line by adding business intelligence capabilities.” Put like that, it’s an obvious absurdity. Core business-specific, business-critical IT projects can’t be left to wither on the vine while upgrades to the mail sever take priority. But here’s the rub: both

Finally, businesses are recognising that building, maintaining and operating IT infrastructure is not a core competency Matt Leighton, Head of Manufacturing Solutions, Star

types of project are important. Leighton admits, indeed he stresses, that neither of them can be left to take second place in the pecking order. “The IT-driven projects get done because they’re genuinely important – the problem isn’t that they shouldn’t be undertaken, it’s that they have the effect of driving other important projects to the back the queue,” he observes.

Call in the experts So how is this circle to be squared? How can businesses take finite budgets, two sets of important workloads, and still manage to get both work streams completed? The obvious opportunity is to outsource much of the IT-driven workload to a trusted managed services provider, and use in house IT resources more strategically on growing the business, through working on business-critical projects. And, it seems, the message is getting through. Increasingly, reports Leighton, the manufacturers that he speaks to are recognising that their IT efforts are failing to deliver their full impact on the business. “Finally, businesses are recognising that building, maintaining and operating IT infrastructure is not a core competency,” he notes. “Worse, it can absorb a disproportionate amount of management time, operating budget, and capital expenditure – all of which can more profitably be deployed elsewhere.” To do so, of course, manufacturers must take the first step of identifying and talking to managed services providers – of which Star itself, of course, is one. “It’s difficult to see a downside,” says Leighton. “Almost by definition, manufacturers are adept at supplier management, and moving to cloud-based applications externally-hosted by a trusted managed services supplier simply adds one more supplier to the mix. Everything else that isn’t core, from catering to security, manufacturers already buy in. Why should non-core IT applications be any different?”

About Star Star is a Cloud provider with vision and a passion for delivering extraordinary results, with the smartest people and the sharpest service. Since its foundation in 1995, the Star name has been synonymous with innovation. Having pioneered cloud-based Internet security with the formation of MessageLabs, Star has continued to consolidate its status as a leading managed business services company. Playing to the strengths within its business and the select industry partners it collaborates with; Star has been able to redefine how businesses access IT, how they derive value and how they approach the future. 0800 138 4443


IT in


Megger clever Capturing the important data in your organisation is one thing. Ensuring that all sites and departments understand it – in the same way – and apply the same decision making process in acting on it, is quite another. Unless you know what to do with business intelligence technology that is.


ttendees at ’s ERP Connect event this month will learn all about how Megger, a manufacturer of advanced test and measurement equipment, has implemented SAP ERP technology to enable rapid global expansion. The ERP journey is ongoing as continued growth and business diversification and innovation necessitate continuous system development – and the generation of ever more data. Which brings us on to Megger’s other IT odyssey with business intelligence. “We always knew that business intelligence would be part of out IT journey,” says Alan Goggin, group IT maanger at Megger. “ERP is exceptional at capturing data but we recognised before we even implemented the SAP system that it is relatively poor at reporting and analysing that data in a meaningful way.”

An intelligent choice To fill this capability gap, Megger embarked on a new project with trusted implementation partners, Ciber, to roll out SAP Buisness Warehouse for key areas of the business. “We took a long time choosing our ERP system and the implementation partner to help us,” says Goggin. “Our experience with Ciber had proved that they understood our business and we moved forward with them on BI with confidence that the processes they would use and the advice they would give would be high quality and appropriate.” Key functions to benefit from this roll out were finance and sales explains Goggin. “Having a single system with a standardised set of business rules means that everyone is using the same method for budgeting and understanding how profit centres are performing,” he says. This final point has made a big difference to Megger’s international sales teams, altering the way in which staff are measured and incentivised. For finance, Goggin says the reports you read about BI helping you to react quicker to what your data is telling you and to react in the correct way more confidently are true. “Data is taken from your

ERP is exceptional at capturing data but we recognised before we even implemented the SAP system that it is relatively poor at reporting and analysing that data in a meaningful way Alan Goggin, Group IT Manager, Megger

ERP system, the BI tools analyse it and present it in an accessible way and then further business planning and consolidation tools allow you to trial scenarios and form plans for what your next steps will be. Data from that process is then fed back into the ERP system.” Issuing a word of warning to other users however, Goggin says, “Remember that the system only helps you to understand what the right actions are. The choice always comes down to a person at the end of the day and it is still possible, though less likely, that you will make the wrong decisions sometimes.” While the mounting cost of implementing SAP BW will approachi £500,000 by the end of this year, Goggin is confident that Megger is benefitting every day from the money spent. Crucially, the investment in BI has unified the value of Megger’s IT strategy which includes core pillars focussing on ERP, CMS (Content Management System), CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and web. While IT vendors love to use the phrase ‘single version of the truth’ in association with the standardisation that any enterprise system brings, Goggin feels that, with Ciber’s help in optimising Megger’s use of Business Warehouse, a keystone has been added to the overarching set of enterprise systems. Without standardising the business rules around the way data is processed and presented Goggin says a ‘single version of the truth’ can warp. “Even once you have installed a single ERP system, you will find that people in different parts of the organisation are used to analysing that data differently,” he explains. “While it is true that our ERP system creates a ‘single version of the truth’ in the way it captures data across the global business, it is Business Warehouse with its BI and business planning and consolidation tools which ensures we understand that data consistently.”


A solid upgrade Tom Moore visits SolidWorks’ European HQ to get the inside track on what 2013 will add to this widely used CAD system.


ver 160,000 companies worldwide use Dassault Systèmes’ SolidWorks to assist in the manufacture of anything from automotive components to an additively manufactured titanium jaw which represents a medical first. With this huge user base and breadth of application, upgrades to the software are not to be glossed over and so TM keenly attended the launch of SolidWorks’ 2013 offering at its European HQ in Cambridge. The presentation started with a celebration of the great British summer of 2012, scrolling through the revelry of the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. And this wasn’t just an introduction to fill the fifteen minutes before the morning’s coffees kicked in. SolidWorks’ software was used to design the lifts, or poolpods, used at the Olympic Aquatic Centre to assist disabled people in and out of the pool. The company that makes them, Poolpod, says that this is just a flagship beginning


that will lead to installations across the country. But moving on from this hype, the name of the game for 2013 was quickly clarified. SolidWorks 2013 will bring simplification, while speeding up model creation and enhancing design collaboration.


By incorporating the cost of a part into the design stage, individuals can modify the design and save money Neil Cooke, director of product management, SolidWorks

More than 200 customer-driven improvements have been made to last year’s edition of SolidWorks, including new powerful design tools and drawing capabilities, sub-model simulation, cost estimation, network rendering, wider sharing and increased connectivity. Design teams working with sheet metal will welcome the addition of the varying dimension pattern, which can automatically duplicate features such as holes, spacing, slots or bosses for screw mounts. The combination of these upgrades slashes the number of operations needed to create a design. For example, instead of changing each size hole on a metal guard fitted to the back of a mower, this can now be

done in a single operation with a ‘select all’ option. The improvements have sought to make it easier to bring engineers’ ideas from concept to manufacturing with new tools for more efficient design and simulation, and expanded environmental and cost analysis.

Don’t design blind SolidWorks Costing has been expanded with improved manufacturing process coverage and feature recognition, with support for turning, mill-turn, and multi-body parts. SolidWorks Costing came out with the Professional package in the 2012 edition allowing manufacturers to automatically cost more types of parts, increasing the accuracy of the quotations that are produced. As Richard Brown, operations director at injection moulding company Hi-Technology Group notes in the factory visit on p84, it is notoriously difficult to remove costs once a component has been designed. The previous edition evaluated the cost for sheet metal parts

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but SolidWorks has expanded this capability to include multibody sheet metal parts, which Neil Cooke, SolidWorks director of product management says “produces a costing for the entire product - including setup, machining and tooling.” “It’s a case of checking costs and making comparisons between different manufacturing methods. By incorporating the cost of a part into the design stage, individuals can modify the design and save money,” he adds. The expansion of this tool will prove useful during prototyping stages and for companies looking to evaluate whether to produce a product. Companies can set up a template for each supplier and attach notes on the quality of work they receive from that firm to help make design decisions balanced on both quality and cost.

Collaboration Collaboration is of increasing importance as companies look to share the cost and benefit of R&D. SolidWorks has acknowledged this with the incorporation of Previous Release Interoperability in 2013. This links customers, suppliers, and internal teams by creating the ability to open SolidWorks 2013 files directly with SolidWorks 2012 – after all not all users of SolidWorks will be on the latest version and it is not always convenient for supply chains to upgrade at the same time. With new interoperability users can work more efficiently, reducing delays as well as easing the transition to the latest release. “In my line of work, I have to get jobs done quickly to make a profit. I’m looking forward to the Previous Release Interoperability feature in SolidWorks 2013. It will allow me to better share designs with my customers and get to a final product more quickly,” says Robert Conley, owner of Interactive Cad Solutions.

SolidWorks 2013 highlights: Powerful Design Tools SolidWorks Sustainability – Quickly compares the financial impact of raw materials and the environmental impact of a design decision during the development process. SolidWorks Flow Simulation – Takes the guesswork out of designs involving liquids and gases by allowing users to visualise fluid flow around complex geometries and more easily compare analysis results between multiple design configurations as results can be viewed side-by-side rather than closing and opening different reports.

Faster Model Creation Conics in Sketcher – A new entity that enables full control over conic shapes for smooth transitions between existing geometries. Shapes, such as a nose cone for a fan blade on a jet engine, can be drawn easily rather than having to input an equation. It also bridges gaps between different geometries that you would have previously used a spline for, which are susceptible to kinks.

Improved Performance Network Rendering for PhotoView 360 – Save time with faster rendering of photorealistic images by networking multiple computers to share the computational load. Can fill areas with more colours and substances (such as beer, orange juice or other substances) to fulfil marketing demands and show new products to perspective customers.


Other highlights on the long list of improvements relate to SolidWorks Plastics and SolidWorks Electrical. Reworking mouldings is a costly affair, with tooling costs hitting the balance sheet for between £7,000 and £700,000. With Plastics bringing simulation to injection moulding, users can reduce errors and help users make more informed decisions that result in simplified designs, reduced mistakes and faster time to market.

Computer health

of the world’s top universities have SolidWorks software on their computers

SolidWorks 2013 not only brings improvements which will directly impact on usability and flexibility for design teams – there are also new features for those monitoring the health of their company’s IT infrastructure. Matthew Lennard, principal engineer of mechanical design at hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Intelligent Energy, says that the new CAD Administrator Dashboard

will simplify management and troubleshooting of multiple SolidWorks users. “I can use this tool to oversee computer usage across the company, check who has the oldest computers and which computers need upgrading so that productivity is maximised,” he comments. Online dashboard tracks performance, hardware status, and SolidWorks system options settings that can be accessed from anywhere using the SolidWorks Customer Portal. IT managers can monitor each machine to see if it has the correct software and that computers are not running on low memory, which will slow operational speeds as the computer takes longer to find and save things. For more information about SolidWorks 2013, including video demonstrations, and pricing visit:


IT in manufacturing

ITnews... Cambashi column Mike Evans of analyst firm Cambashi explains why PTC’s purchase of enterprise applications company Servigistics will form a new force for manufacturing servitisation.

Servigistics has pioneered the concept of Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) and developed a new category of software that supports discrete manufacturers’ end-to-end business processes for after-sales service. Many manufacturers realize that they can generate more after-sales revenue and profit through switching to a business model focused on servitisation of products. But the business initiatives to implement this strategy are complex. They span many departments and the whole industry network involved in distribution of the products, servicing and spares. Actions taken to reduce costs in one department or enterprise can sub-optimise the customer service experience. The customer has to be the starting point. Older readers may remember the John Cleese training film where a repair man rather like Basil Fawlty comes to a home to repair a hi-fi and says “This always goes wrong” then “Who sold you that then?”. The point is that everybody in the industry network is part of a team. John Cleese unsold when he could have talked about the leading edge technology in the hi-fi and told the design team how not to repeat their mistake. Users don’t like faults but research shows that if a problem is put right quickly and with no quibble this actually builds brand loyalty. Servigistics’ solution provides task support and workflow automation for all aspects of after-sales service. It links service planning through monitoring of field service execution and measuring appropriate metrics. It feeds back information gathered about warranty claims and service experience to all department managers. The solution works across the industry network to include component spare part suppliers and distributors. At present, the big challenge is to join up disparate parts of the industry network to predict customer service needs and include them in the operations plan. In the future, adding remote monitoring and fixes by software download will transform the customer experience and really reduce costs. PTC’s marketing culture is best in class at relating technology solutions to business initiatives and handling users with different levels of adoption maturity. Servigistics’ similar approach should make an interesting business combination. @Cambashi



‘RobotExpert’ software helps SME manufacturers improve robotic efficiency

Siemens PLM Software has introduced RobotExpert – an intuitive, easy to deploy robotic simulation and programming solution to help manufacturers minimise the downtime and increase the throughput of factoryfloor robots. The use of industrial robots to perform complex, repetitive tasks is expanding rapidly, and as such there is a need for an out of the box solution for robotic simulation and programming, said Zvi Feuer, senior vice president for manufacturing engineering software at Siemens PLM Software. RobotExpert, which supports applications such as pick and place, arc welding, polishing and gluing, expands Siemens PLM Software’s existing range of digital manufacturing solutions, says Feuer. Industrial robots are traditionally programmed manually, he notes, which means production downtime and non optimized robot programs. RobotExpert provides an offline programming and simulation tool which helps to minimize downtime by allowing the majority of the programming work to be done virtually. “Small and mid size manufacturers need an intuitive and easy to deploy solution that removes the complexities involved with implementing a robotic simulation and programming solution,” explained Feuer. “We have taken more than two decades of experience delivering robotic solutions and created a simple intuitive solution which will help them build better products by making smarter manufacturing decisions.”

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ITnews... ITNIBS Cloud-based software company Trace One announced new software to help businesses meet European Union regulations on the marketing and labelling of cosmetics. The regulations come into force in 2013 and the HPC Module (for Household, Perfumery and Personal Care Products) enables users to reduce the administrative burden and workload resulting from the legislative changes. The software helps address the requirement for manufacturers to run two separate sets of product specifications in the run-up to the Global Harmonisation System on potentially hazardous substances coming into effect in 2015. Infor announced that plastic flower containers supplier Elho has deployed Infor Demand Planning to help improve forecast accuracy, enhance the alignment of inventory with demand, and optimise customer service. The goal is to provide Elho with a user friendly and flexible system for forecasting customer demand, resulting in better stock control and lower inventory holdings. The advanced statistical capabilities of Infor Demand Planning will be combined with external market knowledge, with Elho’s partners connected to the solution through a web based interface. Oracle announced the availability of Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2, the latest enhancement to the world’s most popular, open source, cross platform virtualisation software. The release builds on previous versions by adding new features such as VM Groups which are designed to streamline management, improving network capabilities, and providing support for new host and guest operating system platforms. “As the only free, open source virtualisation software that supports Windows, Mac, Linux and Oracle Solaris platforms, users can install Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.2 on their preferred host platform and run a huge variety of guest operating systems in virtual machines,” said Wim Coekaerts, Oracle senior vice president of Linux and Virtualisation Engineering. Microsoft has recognised K3’s SYSPRO ERP solution for its role in improving cost efficiencies in the manufacturing sector. The software is featured in Microsoft’s Global Outlook 2012 15: Microsoft Technology in Manufacturing and Resources guidebook, which was launched at the recent Microsoft worldwide partner conference in Toronto. The guide to Microsoft solutions and partners in manufacturing and resources covers current and future Microsoft technologies and encourages end user customer engagement with a select number of Microsoft solution providers.


76% of IT professionals in the dark about unauthorized application downloads A survey of over 1,500 IT professionals conducted by security specialist Avecto has highlighted the extent to which unmanaged and infected applications can potentially sneak onto networks, wreaking havoc before being noticed. Seventy six per cent of those surveyed said they don’t know how many unauthorised applications have been downloaded on their networks. A key difficulty: ‘elevated administrator rights’, granted to power users, often in response to younger workers demanding elevated rights on corporate PCs. More than one third of respondents had first hand experience with the dangers of elevated admin rights. Nearly 40% reported a network infection as a result of at least one unauthorised application being downloaded on their network. “Staff who have administrative rights can unwittingly or irresponsibly download applications that contain malware and cause significant problems if entered into the corporate network,” says Paul Kenyon, Avecto co founder and chief operating officer. “The answer is simple: don’t give administrative rights out to everyone.”

Big Data

Big Data broken down for digestibility by Cambridge Service Alliance On 18 September, the Cambridge Service Alliance hosted its one-day conference on ‘Big Data’ looking at the innovation opportunities available for complex service companies. The focus of the event was to explore how Big Data can be leveraged to assist in the effective creation and management of complex service systems. Case studies came from large manufacturers including Caterpillar and BAE Systems Maritime Services. Both agreed that while data collection was important to business development, it was equally important to understand why the data was being collected and how it would be used. Craig Olmstead of Caterpillar told the gathering that his company had “spent a lot of time and money in data” but warned that “when it’s not applied, it is wasted”. The Cambridge Service Alliance was founded in September 2010, bringing together the University of Cambridge’s expertise in service-science research and IBM and BAE Systems’ industry insight, to research new ways to provide, implement and employ complex service systems.

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Complex but easy to use surface design tools are a strength in Creo 2.0


amaggo Inc, based in Canada, has developed the first consumer picture-taking device capable of taking a 360° image with a hand held device. The innovation springs off the work of Tamaggo’s founder, Jean-Claude Artonne, a French ideator-entrepreneur who is the author of worldwide imaging patents. Mr Artonne first helped advance 360° imaging technology as founder of ImmerVision, which licenses optical and software panoramic technologies for business and commercial applications. Following this success in the B2B arena Artonne’s ambition was to make his innovations available to consumers at an affordable price – and so Tammago came into being. The concept of the new 360-imager is founded on the capture of a moment. It defies


Creotivity Tamaggo is about to launch a consumer image-taking device which rejects all assumptions about what a camera should look like or be able to capture. PTC provided the design software to support the innovation.

the physical barriers you might assume exist for taking a 360° image with a handheld device by using panamorph technology. Tamaggo’s product is yet to launch to market, but initial pricing projections have been placed under $200.

Unique requirements

The 360-imager does not conform to traditional camera design concepts. The 7 ounce, eggshaped imager sits in the palm of the user’s hand and with one click, captures navigable panoramic images. There’s no need to fuss about with boxy cameras and fisheye lenses, even the very best of which can only take a 180° shot. Coming up with this ‘out-of-the-box’ concept required some equally mould-breaking technology to support its evolution. Tamaggo started using PTC’s CAD and PLM technologies back in 1992 but adopted the Creo platform after it launched in 2011. Tamaggo needed to facilitate step change Creo Flexible Modeling Extension provides the capabilities to quickly and easily make late stage design changes ideation, support a design concept in

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which form and function are intertwined, and practically accommodate complex electronics in a non-standard, curved housing. The company found these requirements amply matched by the tools within Creo and didn’t take much convincing to upgrade to Creo 2.0 when it came out. The structure of Creo departs from the norm in software purchasing and licensing systems. PTC announced it as a revolution in the way designers – and indeed non-design employees in manufacturing companies – would interact with product data. Revues in CAD specialist publications such as Develop3D have quibbled over the extent to which this is true – but it can’t be denied that the app-like vending principle is novel. The aim, says PTC, is to provide a suite of tools under the Creo umbrella which give powerful functionality but which are honed with relevance to specific job roles. Tamaggo found that the surface design tools within Creo, coupled with strong ECAD capability, provided the combination of technical tools it needed to achieve it’s design concept. Furthermore, the intuitive user interface across Creo products was a bonus. The design team found the consistent look and feel immediately improved productivity and work flow. Within a few days of adopting Creo as the design platform for the 360-imager, Tamaggo staff were up to speed on how to navigate the tools – no training required. Stephan Lepage, vice president of design and engineering at Tamaggo, is enthusiastic about the benefits Creo has brought to his team. “The greatest thing about Creo is the work flow- it’s really been addressed,” he states. “It’s a lot more natural. ProEngineer has always been a good modeler, but in terms of user experience, didn’t always shine. With Creo, it’s really come of age.”

Creo versus ProEng: an evolution


efore PTC launched the Creo platform for flexible product design and lifecycle management, its individual design and document management systems – ProEngineer and CoCreate for example – already had a wide user base. When the change came, some were concerned about the impact it would have on the development trajectory of their tried and tested tools.

The greatest thing about Creo is the work flowit’s really been addressed. It’s a lot more natural… Pro/E has always been a good modeler, but in terms of user experience, didn’t always shine. With Creo, it’s really come of age

After 20 years of consistent branding and development, any future plans for ProEngineer and CoCreate were blotted from the record and the packages transitioned into life as Creo Parametric and Creo Elements along with a whole host of other specialist design and document management packages with Creo branding. On the whole however, user concerns have been allayed thanks to a direct approach from PTC. The company has been careful to maintain support for those still using ProEngineer but has keenly highlighted the added capability and flexibility that organisations get in Creo. PTC’s website, for instance, has featured snappy ‘smackdown’ articles which test the new Creo technology head-to-head with the last iteration of ProEngineer. And the proof comes out in the pudding. The Creo tools are faster at performing tasks such as measuring geometry and running

interference tests – in part due to added functionality but largely due to a rationalised, consistent user interface across all Creo tools. A key improvement in the Creo tools, according to CAD experts, is the introduction of sub-division modeling through the Freestyle tool. This will certainly have been a plus for Tamaggo as it supports the creation of curvature continuous geometry in an easy to manipulate way. Other features which Tamaggo have pinpointed as innovation and productivity boosters for their design team are the new sketching and dynamic cross-sectioning capabilities in Creo Parametric 2.0. PTC estimates that the enhancements made to the Creo 1.0 versions of these mean that the 2.0 iterations increase design efficiency by 30%. So poor old ProEngineer must be left well behind.

Stephane Lepage, VP of Design and Engineering

Industry: Consumer Electronics PTC Customer since: 1992

Business Drivers

Improve design productivity and complex surfaces Fast ramp up and training for existing and new users


Creo Parametric and Creo ISDX No training required


Improved industrial design of complex surfaces Whole team more productive immediately due to intuitive ribbon UI and improved work flow

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What will it take to reduce your energy bills? Variable speed drives? More accurate data? Additive, not subtractive, manufacturing processes? TM’s second energy supplement investigates process changes and energy-reducing technology that can quell rising energy prices and boost the competitiveness of British manufacturers.

Report Editor: Tom Moore, Reporter at The Manufacturer 71


Forget what you knew was true

3D printing machines can manufacture parts with moving segments instead of making independent parts and putting them together

Manufacturing led by the University of Nottingham

Tom Moore takes an overview of the forces which are causing industry and society to shun the very technologies that created the world we live in today.

with Loughborough University as a partner, the


93% less energy than traditional manufacturing

Manufacturing (CALM) at the University of Exeter and £4m worth of government grants available for manufacturers to advance their use of additive manufacturing, are just three examples of how the technology is spreading as the UK tries to redefine efficiency in manufacturing. The additive manufacturing process uses up to

ow time changes things. The power-

methods according to the technologists at aerospace

hungry machine tools which reinvented

conglomerate EADS, as you are not expending

manufacturing in their own mini-

energy turning, drilling, cutting and boring.

industrial revolution are now an enemy

to the long term future of many UK manufacturing

It’s time to find a new religion

plants. For British manufacturers, affected by some of

Jan Ward, CEO and founder of materials

the steepest energy prices in Europe, the increasing

manufacturer Corrotherm, says that her company

cost of materials that end up as waste and the

took urgent action when it calculated that its

mass of unit energy and waste related regulations,

energy prices were set to rise by 23% over a three-

mean that old kit and processes are often simply

year period.

unsustainable – in the broadest sense of the word. But technologies are advancing which cut

“Corrotherm has only been hit by around 8% of that energy rise as we’ve done a lot to mitigate

through this energy barrier. The march of additive

the use of energy, had we not done that then

manufacturing, which results in less than 5%

our energy bills would have risen by a lot more,”

material wastage compared to the 95% that can

she says. Despite doing its bit to save energy, the

end up as swarf using traditional machining, has

changes haven’t cost the earth. “Quite frankly,

led to industry heavyweights such as BAE Systems,

a lot of things are fairly simple but they weren’t

Bentley and Boeing ploughing investment

needed before as energy costs were lower. The

into research.

incentive wasn’t there. We’ve done a lot more

The stakes are high. The new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Additive


opening of a £2.6m Centre for Additive Layer

monitoring, put in more efficient equipment and tweaked processes. The big thing is monitoring and





26 times more efficient extraction of raw materials

Only 5% SWARF, 95% of raw material is used in final part and the remaining 5% is fed back into the process

Laser and Electron Beam Melting technology enables the fusion of raw materials into the final part

Process can take up to a ¼ of the time of traditional manufacturing methods

Weight reduction and optimised design delivers greatly improved life cycle costs

From CAD to finished part in one step

*ALM makes in 1 part what traditional methods make in 30 separate parts

Manufacturing process uses up to 93% less energy than traditional manufacturing methods

Can manufacture parts with moving segments, instead of making independent parts and putting them together

* Example taken from the comparison between ALM and traditional manufacturing of complex ducting. Source: EADS

evaluating when you run equipment and when you switch it off. It’s not expensive.” Energy can be lost due to inefficiencies in the

3D printing takes computeraided design to finished component in one step.

wide range of equipment used in the manufacturing process. Compressors can typically lose 80% of energy inputs, pumps and fans typically lose 35% and motors lose 5%, according to a report prepared for the US Environmental Protection Agency Opportunities and Challenges for Environmentally Preferable Energy Outcomes. Transformational technologies and processes can produce substantial energy savings across

an 18.7% reduction since 2007 (a considerable slice

many sectors, from reducing the drying needs

off its energy bill).

in papermaking to a new system at Coca-Cola

Establishing this low labour, low energy and

Enterprises’ new system in its Sidcup factory that

low raw material way making things suits the UK

uses water to evaporate the CO2 that carbonates

perfectly as a small country with few physical

its products, instead of using steam to convert the

resources unable to compete on high volume

liquid CO2 into gas.

methods of manufacturing, but with a lot of

Manufacturing operations in the UK at Coca-Cola Enterprises used an average of 77.2 kWh of energy per thousand litres of drinks produced during 2011,

knowledge, creativity and long history of invention. The following pages highlight examples of how to reduce your energy bills and power up your wallet.

Compressors can typically lose 80% of energy inputs, pumps and fans typically lose 35% and motors lose 5%. Source: Challenges for Environmentally Preferable Energy Outcomes report produced for the US Environmental Protection Agency.



Accurate, Simple Energy Monitoring Tinytag Energy Logger for non-invasive assessment of energy efficiency in individual equipment or entire buildings. • Monitoring for single or three phase power supplies • Accurate, high level performance • Use as a hand-held unit for spot checks or as a data logger for longer term analysis • Portable and lightweight The Tinytag Energy Logger is an easy to use, self-configuring tool for monitoring power usage. It will help identify when equipment is being used, times of peak load, how much energy is being used and present an overall assessment of energy efficiency.

Gemini Data Loggers (UK) Ltd Scientific House, Terminus Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8UJ, England Telephone: +44 (0)1243 813000 email:


Recovery position

The business case for heat recovery Before investing in a heat recovery system a feasibility study will be required. To achieve an optimal

Geoff Smyth, head of technology and delivery at the Carbon Trust explains how manufacturers can save money by recovering waste heat.


solution it is important to minimise your existing heat requirements first through improved energy management, conservation and efficiency. The next step should be to identify a source of the waste heat and the area where this will

ast month’s issue provided a broad overview of how

be used. It is then necessary to

manufacturing plants could improve energy efficiency and make

establish the temperature of this

savings with quick wins without needing to buy new equipment.

source of heat, sometimes known as

This month brings advice on how to harness heat energy that would

otherwise be wasted to further reduce bills. Over 90% of the electrical input to a compressor is lost as heat. Companies

its grade or quality. Ideally, your source of waste heat and the sink where it can be used

can easily reduce their consumption of heating fuel by recovering waste heat

should be coincident, meaning that

from air and water cooled compressors. A single 250kW compressor could

they exist at the same time and in close

produce enough heat in a year to save over £10,000.

proximity. Systems can be arranged

Installing waste heat recovery equipment brings particular benefit to sites with

so that heat can be used in a remote

long operating hours and the cost of recovering warm air can be recouped in

location or at a different time but this

less than a year at many companies. Hot water systems can pay back investment

generally adds complexity and cost.

in less than two years. There are a number of potential waste heat sources in an industrial plant that

You will need to make an approximation of the quantity of heat

can be captured with the right technology. Boilers and high or low-temperature

being wasted. This requires details of

processes are obvious candidates, but there are also opportunities with ventilation

plant performance, including air, flue

systems and cooling plants or refrigeration. The following common sources of

gas or water/process flow rates and

waste heat often present opportunities for cost-effective heat recovery: ventilation system extracts

temperatures. If you don’t have this data

boiler flue gases

then an energy audit will be required. If you are thinking about using heat

boiler blowdown

recovery, be aware that installing a

air compressors

system can have additional knock on

refrigeration plant

costs. For example you may need to

high-temperature exhaust gas streams from furnaces, kilns, ovens and dryers

install filters or noise dampers if you

hot liquid effluents

are using air direct from a compressor.

power generation plant process plant cooling systems

How quickly you recoup your costs depends on the energy consumption of the heating process,

The most cost-effective use of waste heat is to improve the energy efficiency

the temperature and flow-rate in the

of the heat generating process itself. For example condensing economisers

waste gas-stream, and how much of

(or ‘thermo condensers’) can increase boiler efficiency by 10%-15%. Common

the recovered heat is used. You can

uses (or ‘sinks’) for recovered heat include:

expect the best financial payback

pre-heating of combustion air for boilers, ovens and furnaces

if your processes operate 24 hours

pre-heating fresh air used to ventilate buildings

a day for five to seven days a week,

hot water generation, including pre-heating of boiler feed water

and if the recovered heat can be

space heating

used straight away and in perfect


balance – when heat is recovered

other industrial process heating/pre-heating

from a process and re-used within

power generation

that process or upstream of the

absorption cooling

process, with little or no storage of the recovered heat.


Adherence to the following tips will help optimise your heat recovery system.




1. Minimise your existing heat needs before considering heat recovery

i) It’s easier and more cost-effective to reduce the amount of heat you use rather than jump straight to heat recovery.

2. Optimise maintenance standards and schedules

i) Improving maintenance gives you better control and reliability and reduces energy consumption.

Consult your original equipment manufacturer about routine maintenance requirements

ii) Heat recovery systems need well maintained equipment for them to give you fast payback.

Set up a maintenance schedule.

ii) Reducing heat use will give you better results and payback when you come to install heat recovery.

Metering and monitoring Insulation Review burner controls Review temperature settings.

Train technicians in maintenance procedures

3. Service burners twice a year

Combustion efficiency deteriorates over time. Optimising combustion reduces energy consumption.

Use a skilled service engineer to service burners and to analyse combustion exhaust gases.

4. Optimise thermal plant loads and minimise your run-time

Thermal plant works most efficiently at full design rating. Using equipment efficiently reduces energy consumption.

With efficient production planning, you can manage your thermal plant so that it works at maximum capacity for the least number of hours, based on your production plan.

5. Benchmark operational performance

When you can compare data, you can see potential for improvements between shifts and from year to year.

Monitoring kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy used against a meaningful benchmark, such as kWh per unit of output. Take account of the time of year, shift of operation and so on.

6. Provide training for specific equipment

When employees understand how equipment works and controls operate, energy consumption can be reviewed.

Ask your original equipment manufacturer to provide training for operators and maintenance personnel.

7. Develop a manual with simple operating procedures

Over time, bad practices can become routine. Having a clear written instruction manual helps with training and quality control.

Simple bullet point lists with pictures are an ideal way to show optimum set-up and operation.

8. Maximise condensate recovery in steam systems

One kg of steam converts to one kg of condensate. The more condensate recovered, the less cold water is fed into the boiler, saving energy.

Ensure condensate pipework is insulated and condensate traps are working. Drain valves at traps shouldn’t be cracked open.

9. Calibrate vital instrumentation, such as temperature transmitters, pressure transmitters and flowmeters

Accurate calibration will make operations more energy efficient.

Use a qualified technician with appropriate test equipment.

10. Ensure thermal plant is insulated and dry

Insulation can reduce heat loss by 85%, saving energy. Wet insulation isn’t as effective.

In-house staff can usually insulate pipes.


Ten Top Tips

Technicians will require more detailed training on PID controllers, settings adjustment and so on.

More complex vessel insulation should be done by a specialist contractor.

The Carbon Trust has supported a number

independent advice and access to a network of

of manufacturers in implementing heat

accredited suppliers. Contact:

recovery projects with its £550 million Energy or

Efficiency Financing Scheme, and can provide

020 7832 4806 for more information.


When it all adds up Bridging the gap between industry and academia Additive manufacturing holds great potential but is only cost effective for a few uses. Tom Moore talks to Dr Moataz Attallah, lecturer in advanced materials processing at the University of Birmingham, to discuss how his research can bring the technology to advanced manufacturing sectors.


he step between blue sky research and early

of manufacture and make a smooth transfer into the

concept development has long been described

advanced manufacturing sectors it is suited to.

as a valley of death but has taken on greater importance following a recession weighted in

Engineers at European aerospace and defence company EADS have concluded that additive

the financial services. The Government’s (often repeated)

manufacturing uses up to 93% less energy than

desire to rebalance the UK economy towards capturing

traditional manufacturing methods and produces just

value from manufacturing has increased the need to

5% raw material waste (as opposed to the 95% typically

bridge the gap so that blue sky research is translated for

turned into swarf using subtractive manufacturing).

business application. The UK is not set up to make high

The University of Birmingham has built a bridge over

volume, low cost goods and services so matchmaking

the valley and is advancing the capabilities of additive

the right minds is essential if the UK is to produce the

manufacturing so that large components for the aerospace

technology and high-end products that can drag the

sector can be built in this way.

sector back to its former glory and provide the growth that the economy so desperately needs.

The holy grail

Ditching defects Dr Moataz Attallah, lecturer in advanced materials processing at the University of Birmingham, recently

Additive manufacturing, which builds parts layer-by-

embarked on a project to optimise the laser powder bed

layer instead of machining blocks of raw material, has

process to manufacture defect-free high temperature

become the Holy Grail for advanced manufacturing

nickel superalloy structures (suitable for aircraft

due to its ability to rapidly produce prototypes and

engines). The resulting research paper, Laser Powder

manufacture low volumes of high value, complex

Bed Fabrication of Nickel-base Superalloys, proposed

shapes. Sales of additive manufacturing machines,

a manufacturing route that utilises a specific set of

materials and associated services were valued at just

process parameters combined with a post-processing

£1.18bn in 2011 but manufacturers are increasingly

treatment to mitigate any defects that could occur

jumping on the technological bandwagon, with a

during laser processing of Nickel superalloys used in

recent report from the Technology Strategy Board

high temperature situations.

(aptly called Shaping our National Competency in

“The poor laser-processability of this type of alloy

Additive Manufacturing) forecasting the sector to be

means that we could end up with critical engine

worth in excess of £4.5bn by 2020.

components, like blades or rotors, that look good from

However, the report’s assessment that technical


The University of Birmingham has recently upgraded its additive manufacturing machinery

the outside but are like Swiss cheese (as they

advances could take the value of additive manufacturing

are full of pores) unless the process parameters and

to over £60bn highlights just how much of an impact

post-processing route are appropriately optimised,”

the technology could have if it were to improve speed

says Dr Attallah.

The melting and the solidification process that occurs during selective laser melting can create stresses that cause the part to crack but the university’s research can assess production to advance the use of additive manufacturing. By altering how thick and fast the layers of material are deposited, according to individual machine and the material it uses , and by assessing the need for postprocessing treatments to improve the structural integrity and surface finish, the university is supporting companies in meeting the standards required in the aerospace sector. “Overcoming hurdles associated with additive manufacturing will provide an alternative manufacturing route to casting and forging when making high value low-batch products. The process route is more economical,

Accessing the expertise at the University of Birmingham The University of Birmingham’s five colleges, 3,000 academic staff and leading-edge facilities can be accessed in the following ways:

Contract R&D Join forces with the researchers to work on your organisation’s specific research and development needs.

Intellectual property licenses The University of Birmingham has a varied portfolio medical, biomedical, engineering and environmental patents available for licensing.

State-of-the-art equipment, testing and analysis Utilise the University’s state-of-the-art scientific equipment or train members of your team on a particular technique.

Objective expert consultancy Engage with the brightest minds from a wide range of scientific disciplines to help boost your organisation’s knowledge and resources. Collaborative projects and partnerships Work with the University to develop strategic, collaborative partnerships involving other universities, businesses, public sector bodies, government and other funders to achieve a common and shared goal.

Access to funding Speak to a dedicated team of business engagement officers to navigate your way through the various funding opportunities available. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) Enter a three-way knowledge transfer partnership with the University and a high calibre graduate to work on a project for a period of between 18 months and three years.


No stress

If you would like to get in touch with the University of Birmingham to discuss your particular needs, contact Tim Yates on 0121 4148635 or email

is flexible to design changes and allows the manufacturer to design for functionality rather than for

Technology Centre (MTC) at

Dr Attallah and the Metallurgy and

manufacturability,” argues Dr Attallah.

Ansty Park near Coventry, a

Materials team in Birmingham tied

catapult centre where Dr Attallah

up with BAE Systems to develop a

funded by a number of aerospace

provides academic leadership on

Laser-Engineered Netshaping (LENS)

companies, so that they can

netshape manufacturing.

additive manufacture process for

The two-year research project was

implement additive manufacturing

“This technology isn’t just replacing

titanium alloys used in the making of aerospace structures.

techniques while producing defect-

basic machining but removing the

free parts. The university is open

need to acquire a number of parts

for business and looking to work

from the aerospace supply chain.

technical challenges associated with

on more projects like this with

Forging requires a long supply chain

the fabrication of large structures

other manufacturers. The university

to arrange dies, fabrication of dies

using LENS additive manufacture,

is a key founding partner in the

and machine presses so there are

by studying the potential impact

development of the Manufacturing

massive savings to be made from

of the process parameters and the

replacing this complicated supply

microstructural changes on the

chain with rapid prototyping.”

material’s properties using the

By following traditional manufacturing

technique. Researchers at the University

techniques the R&D process is

of Birmingham established that LENS

delayed by the need for production

could be optimised to create defect-

of a prototype and sourcing of

free titanium structures to replace

one off components. Now that the

traditional and difficult to perform

technology is advancing to produce

machining processes. The university’s

real, functional parts, additive

team used synchrotron x-rays and

manufacturing has been described as

neutron diffraction experiments

a “truly game-changing technology

to confirm its suitability for use.

that has the potential to revolutionise

Teaming up with a university can

manufacturing for the 21st century,”

allow manufacturers to use expensive

by Dr Jean J. Botti, chief technical

equipment to push this innovative

officer at EADS.

technology to new frontiers.

[Additive manufacturing] is more economical, is flexible to design changes and allows the manufacturer to design for functionality rather than for manufacturability Dr Moataz Attallah, lecturer in advanced materials processing at the University of Birmingham.

The research addressed the


develop and fine tune production and services to gain real long term savings. Power monitoring and energy management solutions from Rockwell Automation and Datastor Systems can provide you with the information your business needs and make it available for production supervisors, operations management and business executives so that energy becomes a variable cost you can control, rather than a fixed overhead cost you can’t. As a Recognised Systems Integrator Datastor Systems Ltd offer a wealth of knowledge to help reduce your Energy Costs.

Control your energy use to control your costs Solutions that fit your industry


harply rising costs. Increasing legislation and sustainability issues. Changing consumer habits.

They all affect your company’s strategy for consuming energy in your plant. However, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you haven’t got your energy monitoring down to an asset level, then you can’t control energy usage.

Better monitoring means better management If you can effectively measure, monitor and trend energy use in your plant, then you have the information necessary to


Energy monitoring system architecture Generally, an energy monitoring solution will consist of a number of Current Transducers (CT’s) which surround each phase of an incoming supply (a plant item) and Pulse Transmitters offering flow measurements of Water, Air, Oil or Gas. These CT’s & PT’s are connected to Allen-Bradley® Power

data generated by the transmitters and relay this information to the FactoryTalk® EnergyMetrix™ server. From here reports can be generated to detail a host of different statistics. Further integration of this system with your DCS or SCADA data collection function can allow highly intelligent trends to be created which allows plant management to make informed decisions regarding production changes, material effects and product cost. FactoryTalk® Historian™ coupled with FactoryTalk® Vantage-Point™ is a very suited solution to this and can also be utilised for collating data from third party sources.

Energy monitoring case study


atastor recently

reports through FactoryTalk®

completed the

VantagePoint™ to determine


exact energy costs for each and

installation and calibration of

every batch at certain stages

plant wide energy monitoring

throughout the process, as

package which consisted

well as a totalised cost. Site

of 14 Allen- Bradley® Power

management are now able to

Monitors and 42 CT’s. The

interrogate this data to ascertain

aforementioned equipment

the effects of different raw

collates data from plant/

material sources, plant changes

locations and generates

and process variables.


Monitors which decode the raw

Simpler solutions are also available which don’t require the use of the top end software but instead allow personnel to remotely connect to the Power Monitor and manually collate the data to create their own user defined reports.

Quick payback solutions As well as solutions for monitoring your energy usage Datastor are also able to provide a wide range of Rockwell Automation products that offer a quick return on investment such as PowerFlex® invertor drives,

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energy efficient motors and lighting. Get to know your plant and cut your costs. Talk to us today. Datastor Systems is a leading supplier of process control and automation management solutions for industry, and a trusted partner of Rockwell Automation . Datastor Systems Limited Tel:

+44 (0) 1260 277025





Sustainable Manufacturing – improving energy efficiency


management play a

Green image: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a strategic

independent energy consultant can provide support to deliver an impartial

vital role in achieving

focus for future business success.

view on the effectiveness and impacts

the ultimate goal of

Improving brand image is gaining

of the solution.

nergy reduction and

Sustainable Manufacturing. UK

in importance for consumers and

industry is taking a leading role

investors, who among a host of

holistic strategy to not just install new

in developing the technologies

stakeholders view an active CSR

technology, but also to ensure the

and techniques to achieve such

strategy as key.

ultimate goal of improving efficiencies

a goal. At the same time, energy

and operations - without affecting

efficiency has become a significant

Using energy efficiency to help

day-to-day operations and throughput

factor in all decision making for

achieve sustainable manufacturing,

volumes - is realised. Once an effective

management, capital purchases

in turn increases productivity and

solution has been identified, those

and operational procedures.

in the current environment is also

responsible on site need to motivate

The main factors motivating

advantageous for growth, helping

and involve all in the control and

industry to reduce energy

to improve the competitiveness

reduction of energy usage.

consumption and carbon dioxide

of UK manufacturing. However,

There is pressure on manufacturing

emissions are:

reducing energy is by no means

and industry to improve processes and

new to industry and the easy wins

look at new technology. It is not just

Financial: The increasing cost of

have already been realised; good

about financial feasibility any more,

energy in the UK and increasing costs

housekeeping and low capital

but is also about promoting a greener

of carbon taxes such as the Climate

projects have been implemented.

image and compliance with increasing

Change Levy, encourage investment


Reducing energy usage needs a

Industry now needs to look

legislation. The new Climate Change

in energy efficient technology and

at longer term options to secure

Agreements are already encouraging

good practice procedures.

enduring energy efficiency and

sites to provide forecast energy

sustainability. There is a need to

reductions out to 2020.

Legislative drivers: The UK has

incorporate sustainability into business

made firm commitments to reduce

strategy and decision making. To do

to be devised and new or more

carbon emissions and improve

this, technological innovation and

efficient technology is just one

energy efficiency. Having made such

alternative renewable sources need

of the steps in the ultimate goal.

commitments, the UK Government

to be investigated, but in conjunction

Liz Morgan is Carbon and AMR

is pushing targets onto UK industry

with strategy and control. Knowledge

Solutions Manager at The Utilities

to reduce carbon emissions, with

is absolutely essential to make

Exchange Ltd (UX). You can contact

increased legislation as the enforcing

informed decisions to identify the

Liz or her team to discuss your

method. Companies need to balance

appropriate solutions. Technology

energy efficiency and legislative

green benefits and energy reductions

alone is not the answer; it must be

compliance requirements on Tel:

with the resulting cost impacts,

ensured that the technology chosen is

0800 018 1808, or you can find

and this is where legislation and

the suitable solution and is installed,

out more about our company, our

Government incentives become

managed and maintained to optimise

services and our ethos at:

increasingly important.

its effectiveness. This is where an

A complete strategy needs

Manufacturinginaction Putting UK manufacturers under the spotlight Supported by:

Factory of the month

H+H UK 88 Building materials Find out how H+H UK manages to import just 0.1% of the raw materials it needs for the manufacture of its aerated concrete products Read about how the company has avoided the effects of the downturn in the construction industry, despite lack of government support Learn why H+H UK, as an energy intensive manufacturer, takes its environmental accreditations so seriously and the benefits it is seeing from a focus on reducing, reusing and recycling at every opportunity


Atkins 92 Engineering services Find out how Atkins is leveraging its intimate knowledge of high tech manufacturing to make strides in the knowledge economy Discover the diversity of Atkins’ engineering services – designing and implementing process automation monitoring and visualisation systems, providing vertical integration of information from the shop floor to the boardroom Understand Atkins’ approach to safety in the use of control systems Learn more about the relationship between expanding automation networks and potential down time. Are you planning you network strategically?

All companies featured will be entered into the MIA Award 2012


Aircrete blocks are used to build foundations, internal and external cavity walls, solid walls and partitions

The building blocks

for success

Tom Moore meets with Robert Wilson, works manager at aircrete block manufacturer H+H UK to discuss how the company has reduced CO2 emissions by 20% in just three years.


s the largest manufacturer of aircrete products in the UK, there is a fair chance that your house will have been built using H+H UK products. The Danish-based company has three factories in the UK, supplying household names such as Barratt and Bellway Homes, Travis Perkins and B&Q as well as a large number of building companies. As the UK economy suffers from its longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years, the sharp decline in the construction sector has continued with the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showing a 10% decrease in output between May and July, compared to the same three months in 2011. So is it all doom and gloom? The H+H factory in Borough Green near Sevenoaks, Kent has seen an increase in orders and is back up to 24/7 production; although this includes a 12 hour clean-down stoppage on Fridays. “We are fortunate to be in the South East,” says Robert Wilson, works manager at the company. “Although there has been a huge drop in demand from the construction industry, it still remains fairly buoyant in this region.”


A hide and seek government The majority of its market is residential, with 80% of its products used to build new homes within the UK. Mr Wilson asserts that “the Government has failed to recognise the significance of the construction industry and its effect on GDP growth.” He adds that the Government has done a lot to help out other sectors, notably the automotive sector, with Bentley receiving just under £5m from the Regional Growth Fund, Lotus Group set to secure £10.4m and Jaguar Land Rover reportedly receiving a mammoth £70m from the £2.4bn pot. “The Government has missed a trick in not helping out the construction industry sooner. We have heard a lot of sound bites about different schemes, but how much they have helped is debatable,”

Factory of the month H+H UK

says Mr Wilson. “There has been a lot of focus on the recovery of the banks and support for certain sectors but construction remains low on the list of the recovery agenda.” Wilson’s assessment that the Government will only talk about the construction sector when it is desperate soon came true as George Osborne struggles to reignite Britain’s economy. The Government waived planning permission for home and business extensions last month and produced a document of its initiates to stimulate housing supply, as house prices continue to rise despite a flagging economy. As part of its Housing Stimulus Package announced on 6 September the Government said that 16,500 first-time buyers would be helped onto the housing ladder with a £280m extension of the FirstBuy scheme, which offers loans worth 20% of the property’s value. So what would help to support the sector? “Increased mortgage availability, help for first time buyers, stamp duty reduction, reduced bureaucracy and a simplified planning system,” are calmly proposed by Wilson as measures that would help growth in a sector that has seen 5,000 companies go bust since September 2010, according to accountancy firm PwC.

Building for the future However, there is hope on the horizon and H+H is confident that the sector will recover despite the disappointing slump. “The market is depressed at the moment, but despite it being slow to filter through, our partners are saying that their forward order books look positive at the moment,” says Wilson. With the population growing and house prices slowly rising in the south east due to the limited amount of available property, Wilson wonders whether the industry will see a surge in demand. “The estimate from Government has been that 250,000 houses need to be built a year, but if you look at how many have actually been built over the last few years, we are going to have to play catch up at some point,” he comments. H+H Celcon has managed the downturn in the construction sector well and is looking for growth following recent government announcements

Hard graft There are different building methods across Europe, with builders and architects on the continent happy to build 100% aircrete homes then render the outside. While fairly common in Europe, H+H’s products in the UK are usually used on the inner skin of the home behind a traditional brick finish. Business has reached a plateau after a rise that saw the site restore to pre-recession operating hours, but overall output is still not where it was in 2006. When the downturn arrived H+H acted swiftly after noticing that orders (and the economy) weren’t gradually declining, but falling off a cliff-edge. “We put austerity measures into place long before the press were talking about a recession,” remarks Wilson. “We noticed the drop in demand in April 2008.” After picking up on changing economic climate, H+H UK mothballed a factory in Westbury, Wiltshire, in July 2008 and cut back the number of shifts at Borough Green and Pollington, Yorkshire. Work was split between the three remaining factories whilst its competitors remained on full production. As their stockpiles climbed H+H UK sought to adapt to what turned out to be a new economic environment and not a short crash. However, the site has since reintroduced a four shift pattern, operating 24/7 since the middle of 2011.The manufacturing process is extremely lean in human labour. The Borough Green factory produces 370,000 m3 of quality aircrete a year with a workforce of just 60 people, including production, maintenance and yard shift teams. Four production shifts of eight people manage and operate a process sublime in scale and power.

Cake mixture Pulverized Fuel Ash (PFA), a recycled product supplied from the power generation industry, is mixed into a slurry and stored in four vast slurry silos prior to mixing. The site consumes 3,000 tonnes of PFA from Kingsnorth and Tilbury power stations each week, reusing a substance that would otherwise end up as landfill waste. The PFA slurry is mixed with cement, lime and aluminium powder to create the perfect aircrete cake. The raw ingredients are precisely batched and closely monitored by Wonderware scada software during the mix process before it is poured into moulds and allowed to set. The setting time is constantly monitored by Siemens’ S7 automation software as the setting mixture – which is called a cake due to the spongy resemblance it takes on before being heated – is moved on via a mould transport rail system. The rail system drives each cake to a wire cutting line that trims the cakes into their final block dimensions. H+H’s waste is reduced by the automated cutting line that trims the cake into various sized products, conveyor belts run directly underneath to capture and return waste to the


pulveriser before it re-enters the slurries. The site has adopted a continuous improvement approach to waste reduction and successfully reduced its annual waste level from 6% in 2007 to just 2% in 2012. Once the cakes have been transferred to autoclaves for high pressure steam curing, where ingredients combine to form the calcium silicate hydrates that establish the special properties of the finished product, it is packaged in a newly installed stretch wrap bagging machine. The £150,000 installation uses thinner polythene so consumes fewer raw materials, just a small part of H+H’s huge green drive across the site. Using a stretch hood system instead of the heat-treated plastics it used in the past, H+H has not had to pay for gas to heat shrink, which has helped to reduce packaging costs. H+H has since installed a second machine at its Pollington site in Yorkshire as the UK team shares best practice and transfers successful technologies across its various facilities.

H+H UK has led the way with its green environmental improvements, picking up a raft of energy accreditations: 2007- Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme (EEAS) 2008 – Carbon Trust Standard 2009 – BES 6001 – Responsible Sourcing of the Supply Chain (Very Good Rating) 2010 – BS EN 16001 – Energy Management Standard 2010 – BSI Energy Reduction Verification (ERV) 2012 – ISO 50001 – Energy Management Standard

Gary Thwaites (left), project engineer at H+H UK, has implemented a number of energy saving projects resulting in a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions since 2008


The Government has failed to recognise the significance of the construction industry and its effect on GDP growth

Accreditation where credit’s due H+H ramped up its energy saving programme in 2007, resulting in a raft of projects to reduce its energy usage across the manufacturing facilities. H+H UK has invested 36 % of the capital budget on environmental improvement projects since 2008, culminating in a 20% CO2 reduction in the time that has since elapsed. Companies were afraid to talk about saving money a few years ago, with anything other than a claim to its planet saving credentials being seen as blasphemy. Things have now swung the other way and companies are now happy to talk about how much money they are saving as a result of green projects. The company’s success in this area led to it being awarded the ISO 16001 energy management standard in just over six weeks, when it can take some manufacturers in the region of 18 months. Five years into its energy saving programme, H+H has now attained ISO 50001, a tough new energy management standard brought out earlier this year. The curing process for the ‘cakes’ is very energy intensive process, requiring the use of a steam generating boiler to pressurise and heat the autoclave. To reduce its gas demand, the management team at Borough Green looked at recycling this energy. When the timer on one of the company’s 50 metre long autoclaves has ticked, with 7,500 aircrete blocks ready to emerge from the heat to be packaged and used to build UK homes, a vessel full of steam remains. H+H has paid to heat it, so why let money evaporate into thin air? It doesn’t. H+H Celcon has sought to capture this floating cash like a competitor on the Crystal Maze, recycling and reusing the steam by transferring it to the next available autoclave, which also helps to cut its energy consumption. However, eventually the number of autoclaves that need heating energy runs out. When this happens H+H’s heat recovery system, supplied by Donlands, a manufacturer of energy reducing systems, draws heat energy out of the waste steam using it to pre-heat the boiler feed water system. This has lowered gas usage on the site since it was installed in 2009. With only a short window to carry out the work, the installation of the heat recovery system was completed during the company’s two-week annual shutdown in August.

Factory of the month H+H UK

A particular success

Not costing the earth but saving the earth

Unfortunately for H+H, it was unable to obtain a grant despite a plethora of money being available so all investment came from internal sources. “With the new finance arrangements available the criteria has changed , but at the time we used too much energy to fall within the Carbon Trust’s guidelines,” says Gary Thwaites, project engineer. “We applied for a Carbon Trust grant for an energy saving project but found we were not eligible as our energy expenditure was above the maximum qualifying threshold.” The company has dedicated a large amount of staff hours to monitoring energy usage across the business resulting in a constant flow of projects. It recently purchased a new total dissolved solids (TDS) system for its boiler from Spirax Sarco, which makes a number of steam-related products, to improve the control of the boiler blowdown so that less steam is required. Thwaites explains, “Boiler blowdown is the essential removal of water from a boiler to reduce suspended solids, however the energy lost in the hot blowdown water cannot be fully recovered, so this new system has reduced blowdown rates while keeping the water solids at the desired level, improving the boiler efficiency and reducing gas usage.” Looking ahead, Mr Thwaites outlines plans to utilise reverse osmosis, the science of filtering out unwanted particles, to reduce the amount of solids entering the boiler from the feed water. It won’t come cheap, with the project set to cost between £50,000 and £60,000 but Thwaites expects a quick return on investment. He explains, “Our blowdown rate is still around 10% to keep suspended solids at the required level, but it could be typically less around 1% with a reverse osmosis water treatment plant”. This means that blowdown becomes less frequent as cleaning is not needed so regularly with the amount of solids entering the boiler reducing. Less heat, and therefore money, will escape from the process.

The management team at H+H live by the motto that the small things cannot be ignored, spending £1m on each site every year on small capital projects. Despite not costing the earth, one successful project has been to replace the energy hungry 400 watt lighting with high efficiency T5 fluorescent lighting. “The first lighting project was completed at the beginning of 2011 and we have already had our investment returned, taking just under a year to do so,” says Thwaites. “Not only did it take a pair of scissors to the energy bill but it improved the working environment as the old lighting was very orange.” H+H has managed to gain a lot of energy savings from optimising pumps and fans so that it doesn’t use more electric then it needs. It is continuing to implement variable speed drives in various areas of the plant and is set to install steam traps to let condensation pass out of the autoclaves without losing heat with the warm water collected to mix the raw materials. For a company operating in such a heavy industry, the combined result of the company’s green projects led to highly admirable recognition. In 2010 it was placed 9th in The Sunday Times’ compilation of The UK’s Best Green Companies, improving on its previous position of 32nd in 2008 and 29th in 2009. H+H UK was also named as the Kent Environmental Business of the Year in the same year. Wilson and Thwaites are firm in their stance that energy reduction will not fall down the agenda, declaring their intention to carry on improving in this area. This is reflected in the company’s skills programme with all factory employees participating in environmental training. The desire to become a greener company isn’t restricted to Borough Green and the company’s PAS 99 accreditation for its integrated management system is proof that it isn’t a set of standalone ideas.

Every little helps H+H UK’s mission to eliminate waste by reusing and recycling has cut the amount of raw material it purchases and energy it buys at a time when it is vital to cut costs. The construction sector is struggling but H+H UK’s lean focus is helping it to deliver higher margins on a product portfolio that demands high volume manufacture and sale to make profit. The company has traditionally had a third of the aircrete market, competing against other UK aircrete manufacturers, but improved its market position last year mainly by improving its service offering – becoming more flexible by making regular and last-minute telephone calls to ensure its customers are ready for delivery. Complications or delays with building projects, which can be caused by weather conditions, can mean that deliveries are not always able to be taken. This additional flexibility has removed the occasions where there has been a wasted journey. Wilson has noticed that customers are interested in pushing their green credentials through the supply chain, with the company’s stack of accreditations and awards a useful sales tool to have when selling to customers that want an environmentally friendly business themselves. “It’s very difficult to gauge the effect on sales but it’s an important part of marketing as carbon footprint and responsible sourcing certainly remain important factors to our key customers.” he says. H+H has not wallowed in the present state of the construction sector but has sought to innovate and improve its processes, which have largely centred on energy usage. It is shining a green light on environmental initiatives and plans to come out of the recession a better company. Customers pick items based on quality and cost and H+H has made improvements to both over recent years. Ultimately, H+H is providing the building blocks for the future homes that we all need and want. @thomasmoore88


Cyber threats do not usually come from targeted attacks, but from common viruses that can affect business systems and propagate through to control systems

Tom Moore examines how engineering consultancy Atkins’ systems integration team is tying together its knowledge of both manufacturing and IT systems to help deliver savings to its clients.


e live in a knowledgebased economy, where data is the key to opening doors and behind that door lays an order. Could a boost in knowledge result in a boost in profits? Consultancy is one way of securing this knowledge in a flexible way as it is tailored to a specific project or product and isn’t a permanent addition to the red side of the balance sheet. Companies can often have the tools, machines or IT system in place. However, it is not always optimised (and sometimes not even utilised). It’s not just about the toolbox you own but how you use the tools in the box. Consultancy firm Atkins is perhaps most famous for its work on infrastructure projects such as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the largest engineering and design consultancy in the UK, it may have escaped some people that Atkins doesn’t only consult on


Work IT new skyscrapers and rail networks. It also designs and implements process automation monitoring and visualisation systems, providing vertical integration of information from the shop floor to the boardroom. “Atkins is much broader than civil engineering and we don’t just focus on the built environment” says Kevin Blackney, project manager at Atkins in Bristol. With a raft of large-scale projects in progress and revenues of over £1.7bn in 2011, is the consultancy looking only for the big fish in the ocean? Nigel Westmoreland, portfolio manager at Atkins, says: “Atkins works on many niche projects and we are happy to consider smaller scale projects.

Supplier agnostic In a world full of IT jargon, with many IT professionals aligned to one vendor, the team at Atkins urges manufacturers to ignore the popular advice that systems integration goes hand-in-hand with using the same supplier across the board (the vendor’s sales pitch will often tell you that there is an operational benefit to using one supplier across the business). “Rather than tying yourself to a single vendor, the more open your system is the better chance you have of using something that is best in class,” explains Nigel

Engineering Services Atkins

Westmoreland. “But there are productivity gains from using the same vendor. If the personnel dedicated to IT support for the IT system is outsourced then there might be multi-capabilities to take advantage of. But if a manufacturer is relying on a few in-house technicians to know, use and maintain multiple systems, the cost of switching vendors or hosting best of breed systems will probably outweigh any benefits.” Atkins has worked with a long line of manufacturers, from consumer goods to chemicals, and (as with many manufacturers) the word monitoring has become a familiar term on the company’s lips. Data can mount and needs to be quantified. After all, what’s the point in having a mine if you aren’t extracting the gold? The team explain that Atkins’ performance monitoring of manufacturing lines and processes digs through the detail and finds workable solutions after identifying costly inefficiencies and waste.

Flex without the stretch Atkins has installed a number of new SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems to replace the legacy software that is difficult to support as it is not compatible with many of the newer programs that are available. Manufacturers (and businesses in any sector) with any longevity don’t stand still so the processes used to make things are constantly evolving. Whether the advance is coming from a new machine that needs to find an optimum speed, improved automation system that will lower energy use or monitoring manufacturing waste so that as much as possible can be reused, IT systems can support and structure processes to how the product is made and, ergo, the final good. “Some companies try to work around the control system, inhibiting performance and new ways of working,” says Mr Blackney. He believes that industry is moving on from rigid ways of working as manufacturers produce a wider variety of products and customise items for customers. Chris Gibbs, industry sector manager at Atkins, says that workflow systems, often used in office settings to add flexibility and adapt their processes to their business needs, haven’t seemed to have taken off within industry.

Historically, manufacturing systems have not been flexible enough to meet process demands because the same steps are followed based on a known product with a known quantity. However, the flex in production required by many manufacturers has left them with systems that aren’t able to flex to meet continuous quality checks and process changes. Atkins has overseen the implementation of a number of new workflow systems that have been integrated into SCADA. The workflow defines action maps that create steps four, five and six based on the results from steps one, two or three. “Quality checks determine the latter parts of the process” added Blackney. “This creates a more agile system that keeps pace with regular production changes and is able to flex so that steps are adapted with the final product specifications in mind.” The challenges around IT implementation largely centre on available skills sets and earlier control systems and packages, with most operations staff requiring new training. Blackney adds that the balance they seek is between flexibility and the system maintaining standard operating procedures. “Moving forward we will be putting a system together that is sufficiently flexible that it meets the client’s needs without being so flexible that you can abuse the process, with workarounds being found so that the client doesn’t achieve the benefits,” he says. “Our clients often wish to incorporate standard operating procedures and safety guidance on materials handling into their systems. Workflow enables us to instruct the Operators through detailed equipment start-up checklists to verify both equipment and ingredients without the need for paper records.” As many companies have lean headcounts, particularly since the economic downturn, sudden increases in demand can often require taking on temporary workers, which can create safety risks. This can also be the case with permanent staff as they get deployed through the factory in new roles. The workflow system and other hardware can ensure that standard procedures take place but it must not be so flexible that steps and stages can be skipped.

Atkins’ performance monitoring of manufacturing lines and processes identify costly inefficiencies and waste


Reducing accidents “One of the causes of accidents using control systems has been well-meaning operators looking to continue production but in an unsafe way,” says Richard Piggin, Atkins’ head of cyber security. “By using programmable systems it is harder to circumvent safety and is therefore safer.” The team agree with the common view that a company can get the best system in but if no-one acts on the information then there is no benefit. “It’s easy to jump in with a new system and it doesn’t stick,” says Westmoreland. With many systems looking to build a bridge between the industrial network and the corporate network, there are challenges around implementing additional sets of software on corporate IT, but also creating the right behaviour so that the system is used across the company. Dr Piggin, says that there has been a groundswell towards convergence of many different IT areas to get a better visibility of the business. However, there can be a conflict of wills. The demand on the corporate and accounting side is geared towards confidentiality while the engineering and the shop floor necessitates availability and safety. Combining the objectives from the different domains can create problems, and may increase vulnerabilities.

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Answers for industry.


Atkins design and implement advanced process automation designs and implements systems across different sectors including the process industries

Leveraging the brand name Cyber threats do not usually come from targeted attacks, but from common viruses that can affect business systems and propagate through to control systems. With recent threats hitting the headlines, manufacturers must decide how much value lies in protecting systems to avoid downtime. When a virus strikes or an external threat materialises, a company is not only affected by the loss of production capability but also the knock on effect that it has on a company’s reputation. UK businesses lose £21bn a year to cyber crime, according to the Cost of Cyber Crime report published in 2011. The repeated attempts to hack Sony for users’ information on the Playstation network have repeatedly hit the headlines and resulted in a twitter backlash from gamers unable to crush their friends in Fifa or Call of Duty. Despite being hard to measure, brand damage reflects strongly in financial performance and is costly to reverse, with the resulting brand damage at Playstation causing a fall in the value of the company. Although the majority of companies feel they have adequate security to deal with cyber threats, getting on a hacker’s hitlist (which often involves large companies, organisations and governments and not just a ponytailed computer geek sitting in their bedroom) is costly.

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If a manufacturer relies on a few in-house technicians to know, use and maintain multiple systems, the cost of switching vendors or hosting best of breed systems will probably outweigh any benefits Nigel Westmoreland, Portfolio Manager, Atkins

Manufacturers are increasingly factoring in brand damage when assessing what level of security they require, where the key question is – how much do I stand to lose?

Time is money The team at Atkins state that there is a growing trend of unscheduled downtime linked to IT. Richard Piggin argues that what may at first appear to be a problem with the control system is actually a communications problem. “There is a problem with data going between different parts of the control system not arriving in a timely manner as they are all real-time systems. This is part of the challenge of moving to Ethernet-based control systems, which is a reasonably recent phenomenon, as people don’t understand the implications of adding components onto an automation network without proper planning.” According to Dr Piggin, this is a common problem that is not widely recognised. “People don’t see anything wrong when they plug things in and it works, but you get these silent problems creep up as they don’t plan their networks strategically.” As with all of these issues, the consultancy firm urges manufacturers to look at the whole process and not the immediate decision. Money is saved by looking not just in one department’s budget but at the pocket of other departments. The more solutions firms explore, the more waste will be eliminated and the more efficient the production line.

A workflow system and other hardware can ensure that standard procedures take place but it must not be so flexible that steps and stages can be skipped

For more information on how Atkins can help your business please contact Industry Sector Manager, Chris Gibbs on 07970 575181/01252 899691 or email


lastword The

We all want to

change the world


oney is being force fed into innovation schemes. The Government’s industrial strategy announced on September 11 (p18) validated the long running work of the UK’s Knowledge Transfer Networks and announced new, targeted funding for transformational technologies – for example, synthetic biology. On September 19, Science Minister David Willets revealed plans for a new set of Doctoral Research Centres with £14.1m behind them. And while government may be driving the innovation bandwagon, it is certainly not short of willing passengers. Everyone wants to get on board it seems. I learnt with no great surprise recently that accountancy group PwC has significant plans to expand its innovation services in 2013 and the Royal Society for the advancement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce is also on a mission to revive its image as a friend of industry. There are plans in the pipeline for new industrial innovation awards in the use of additive manufacturing and the RSA last month launched its Great Recovery campaign to inspire more discovery projects in remanufacturing and total lifecycle management. Not to be outdone, is hosting it very own innovation conference on October 16 (p24).


There is still a missing element in all this innovation; incentivisation of behaviour change

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All this activity is fantastic and the schemes and awards have a common purpose. They all feature the transfer of innovative technologies and ideas into commercially viable products, an acknowledgement that innovation schemes must be accessible to SMEs, and that carbon reduction is a desired outcome for innovation. As Prof David Delpy, CEO of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Council, said at the EPSRC’s Manufacturing the Future Conference this week, “The whole landscape in which academic research is done has changed dramatically. We have an academic base now that is incredibly engaged with industry. The UK is second only to the US in terms of the number of collaborations, and I suspect per capita we are number one.” So far so good. But it seems there is still a missing element in all this innovation, especially that which focuses on reducing the use of raw materials and establishing a low carbon economy: incentivisation of behaviour change. Both in business and in their daily lives, people – especially us Brits – are stubbornly slow to adopt small changes to their routines in order to embrace new products or services unless they feel an immediate and significant benefit. Witness the UK’s approach to domestic recycling. We are still light years behind countries like Germany and Austria where

national government was quick to lay down the law on sorting domestic waste decades ago. This hampers the ability to innovate around remanufacture or reuse of domestic products. In business, regulation has taken a harder line. But lacking infrastructure and incentives for doing more recycling and moving to greener power sources mean that moving to a low carbon economy still seems a burden to most. The option of simply carrying on as before is still tantalising. Our society is based on products and services which derive from carbon fuels, and while all the big oil and gas companies research and run demonstration projects for greener fuels such as biofuels, one manufacturer who feeds into the energy industry recently told me about the viability of some of these projects; as well as the oil companies’ willingness to popularise them while oil stocks last. “They will not truly push those technologies until the last drop of oil is gone from even the most difficult to reach wells,” he said. “They keep pushing forward more and more expensive extraction projects and R&D investment is focused on this. I keep my eye on the developing science and technology that might revolutionise our industry, but the driving force behind our own R&D is defined by the demands of our clients.” The innovation is coming, but the real resolve of industry to go green needs to join it.

The Manufacturer October issue 2012  

TM asks industry leaders what they think of the UK's industrial strategy. Semta shares what it is doing to overcome barriers to greater appr...