Globalisation is Good………………………………..#innovation

design-processMuch has been said about the ‘evils’ of Globalisation & the impact on impoverished workers resulting in Brexit in the U.K & Trumps victory over the pond. But what about the positive impacts of Globalisation which are rarely trumpeted (excuse the pun)

The export of manufacturing jobs from the West to Asia has undoubtedly impacted on job security in the West but what about the subsequent cost reduction in the price of consumer products.

Also, hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in China & Asia as a result.

Those very same products are bought by the same people who moan about foreigners stealing their jobs. A TV which can be bought for £200 in a UK supermarket would cost may times that if manufactured in the UK.

Protectionism is no answer to under employment. All that will happen is the Countries affected by Tariffs will introduce their own in ‘revenge’, take the auto industry as an example.

Every car manufactured in the U.S contains hundreds of components which are made abroad. If each of these components increases in costs the unit cost of the car goes up reducing competitive advantage & ultimately the business is bankrupt.

In the end everyone loses as bureaucracy strangles innovation & the economy shrinks.

The only way to ‘protect’ jobs is by investing in education & innovation. By producing individuals who can develop & create the products & services of the future. These will be made wherever it is cheapest to do so lifting the impoverished up the socio economic ladder & increasing their own economic power.

In the UK manufacturing is only 10% of the economy but we have some of the worlds best design & development Engineers earning good salaries creating innovative products even if they are manufactured overseas.

Apple is recognised as one of the Worlds most successful & innovative corporations employing thousands in well paying jobs – but not a single iPhone is made in the USA.

‘Putting America first’ may give short term gains but will ultimately end in disaster.


Who needs driverless cars ? #automotive

driverless__mercedeslMercedes Benz has joined the herd of Automotive companies who have followed Google’s lead in developing autonomous (driverless) vehicles for use on public roads.

But where is the demand coming from ? Who actually wants driverless cars ? It may surprise but, according to a recent Government survey, over 46% of us do!

Maybe its the thought of an extra hours sleep on the daily commute or the desire to squeeze another couple of hours work time in our already busy days; perhaps we imagine driving on our congested roads will be more pleasurable if the car takes the strain instead of us – whatever the reasons there is no doubt that some time soon autonomous vehicles will be a common sight on our roads and the investment decisions of the major motor manufacturers will begin to make sense.

Once again Google will be praised by some & cursed by others, but there will be no denying the Organisations prescience.

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Why not start your own consultancy ?

As Chairman Mao famously said “we live in interesting times”.

Office6Millions of people live in daily dread of redundancy, working longer & longer hours to appease the boss in an effort to avoid the dreaded 90 days notice interview and ultimate dismissal. I know, I’ve been there once or twice myself and it sucks!

However, there is an alternative, and that redundancy payment can provide a great springboard to a new successful and rewarding career.

Any professional person with a skill to sell can start their own consultancy business but it does need a set of personal attributes which not everyone has:-

  • Persistence – you will need this in abundance to generate leads and pursue opportunities.
  • Flexibility – are you willing to travel or work away from home.
  • Pick up things quickly – can you hit the ground running & “add value” from the start of any assignment.
  • Positive Outlook – do you let things grind you down or do you react by seeking solutions to problems.
  • Uncertainty – can you live with not knowing what you will be doing in 3 months ?
  • Outgoing personality – if you can get on with people from different backgrounds & talk to the cleaner as well as the CEO you will do well, if you are a shrinking violet who prefers staring at a computer screen all day you will fail.
  • Embrace Change – if you love ding different things in different places you will thrive. If you prefer the routine then consultancy is not for you.

For more practical advice on starting your own consultancy look out for my next post.

Extracts from my future book ” Start your own Consultancy….now!”

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Who needs a #business plan ?

Every Business needs a Business Plan.

It is commonly recognized that 4 out of 5 new start ups fail in the first 12 months and a key reason for this is a lack of a proper Business Plan. Your Business Plan is not just used to gain financial support (although this is obviously a key reason) but to act as a “roadmap” for the Business by which progress can be measured and tracked.

If you are starting a new business a comprehensive Business Plan is essential. If you want help with your Business Planning get in touch for a free consultation.

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Kingdom for a horse………………………………..#business

As the horse-burger scandal sweeps the country people are turning away from mass produced convenience foods & the supermarket giants who sell them in droves.

Like the banks before them the manufacturers & distributors of this garbage will learn they neglect their ethics at their peril.

Trust is a fundamental part of business. Most people only allow themselves to be “ripped off” once and it is in the interest of all parties in a business arrangement to ensure that all participants get a piece of the cake.

In our daily business transactions we need to maintain an open & honest communication with all parts of our supply chain to ensure future business success.

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Buy British because it’s British ? #business

There has been some debate in the Media recently about buying British products as a way of reducing the impact of the recession & preserving British jobs; so is this a good idea ?

We live in a Capitalist society (whether we like that or not) based on competition. The consumer has a free choice of which products to buy or not to buy & we tend to seek good value for money, regardless of origin. As a consequence we are pretty good at identifying products which deliver most “bang for the buck”.

In the 1970’s most of our Electronic products originated in Japan. Some people complained this wasn’t fair to British manufacturers but consumers continued to buy Japanese products because they were better quality and hence better value for money.

Now most of our electronic products are manufactured in China or Korea & people buy them because they are cheaper & better quality than their Japanese counterparts.

Jaguar Land Rover has been in the News recently because sales are up over 30% compared to last year, is this because these products are manufactured in Britain or because they are of exceptional quality and, though expensive, represent good value for money.

Over time products evolve and the companies which make them either grow – & their shareholders get richer or, if their products deteriorate the company shrinks, the shareholders lose money & eventually the company is bust.

So, in the long run, is the best way to preserve British jobs to buy inferior goods just because they are British or to buy the best value products whatever their origin & ensure quality increases & the fittest survive ?

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Are you listening to the Voice Of the Customer?….#business, #innovation

One of the most difficult choices in New Product Development is in deciding what products to develop !

Lot’s of us watch “Dragons Den” on TV and it’s pretty obvious some of the budding entrepreneurs believe they have a great idea but have never even considered asking their customers or potential customers what they think.

To avoid wasting millions of dollars on products no one wants it is essential to listen to the Voice Of the Customer. (VOC)

Companies involved in New Product Development & Innovation need to establish effective methods to capture VOC.

This can take many different forms such as surveys, telephone conversations, face to face interviews, feedback forms, Social Media strategies etc etc etc

Whichever mix is used the information then has to be filtered and sorted to identify priorities for New Product Development. To do this effectively it is essential to have a multi-functional team involved to get a number of perspectives.

If you are involved in Innovation you need to capture the VOC.

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Digital Switchover – a great project management success #pmot

This week has seen the completion of the Digital TV switchover in the UK.  Over a 5 year period the team has managed the successful transfer from Analogue to Digital in all regions of the UK. This has involved:-

  • Re-engineering over 1100 transmitters from Analogue to Digital.
  • Maintaining coverage at around 98.5% of UK residents.
  • Making 95% of the population aware of the programme.
  • Ensuring those who need help get it fast.
  • Freeing up the Analogue bandwidth for other uses.

The Team achieved all this and more completing the changeover on time and within budget. It was also an excellent example of collaboration between public sector broadcasters, independent broadcasters, Ofcom, Government and other parties.

Particularly impressive were the adverts targeted at the public which were clear, concise and informative.

Congratulations to the Digital Switchover team for a job well done.

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#Auto output drives toward production record

The UK automotive industry is set to break its all time production record of 1.92 million cars (set in 1970!!) in 2015. These figures are from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders.

This success is hard won and it has been a long upward climb to return to the heights of the 1970’s. It is hard to believe that UK auto manufacturing then represented approximately a 10% world share. Now it is just over 2%.

A heck of a lot of ground was lost following the 1973 oil crisis and the gradual decline of British Leyland.

Success now depends on innovative Product Design. Take a look at Jaguar Land Rover’s Evoque (see above) which has sold over 100,000 units in it’s first year and has led to 24/7 manufacture at the Halewood plant.

Another great example is BMW’s mini which is turned out at it’s expanded Oxford plant.

Manufacturing in the UK Automotive industry has been revolutionized since the sad days of the 1970’s, much of this led by Nissan in the North East with  the adoption of Japanese manufacturing techniques such as LEAN & JIT.

If we can capitalize on current success the UK Automotive industry has a terrific future.

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Jaguar Land Rover has a taste for Chinese #automotive

A new sales record of over 314k cars and profits of 1.5 billion GBP illustrate the success of British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and it’s innovative new products including the Range Rover Evoque which is selling like “hot cakes” at the moment particularly in China. In fact Jaguar Land Rover is opening a new dealership in China every week. China sales now represent almost 20% of the companies sales.

There is, however, another less publicised side to this story.

Since 2007 the British Pound  has devalued against the Chinese Yuan (or RMB)  by a whopping 56% as a direct result of the U.K Governments policy of Quantitative Easing. In March 2009 75 billion pounds was created electronically followed by another 200 billion pounds later that year. Further episodes of Q.E pumped a total of 325 billion pounds into the U.K economy, devaluing the pound & increasing exports.

It also goes a long way to explaining why foreign ownership of London property has increased 20% since 2009 & conversely why imported foodstuffs & other goods now seem outrageously expensive.

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