A recent survey in The Engineer reported that 59% of correspondents think that bringing manufacturing elements of the Supply Chain back to the UK (#reshoring) should be a priority following the Covid19 Pandemic outbreak.
There are some really good points made in the comments section & following Britain’s exit from the EEC there is no reason why this should not be Government policy, even stimulated by official Government subsidies – but should it ?
There is no denying that ever since the late 1970’s Britains manufacturing base has shrunk from around 32% to 10% of GDP – but does this matter ?
To anyone who has been involved in Engineering & Manufacturing over the last 30 years & who has seen millions of good quality skilled & relatively secure jobs migrate to China & Asia to be replaced by insecure temporary low paying ‘gig economy’ roles the answer has to be ‘yes’
However we also need to remember this shocking decline was also due to a certain amount of complacency in British Manufacturing as a result of poor Management, sloppy working practices & shoddy quality.
Rebalancing the Economy by encouraging high quality Manufacturing supported by competent Management & Customer focussed Quality Management sounds like a positive move indeed.
This week was the anniversary of the tragic 9/11 atrocity & a documentary on T.V presented an explanation of why the towers collapsed based on fundamental scientific & engineering principles which demonstrated how a combination of super-heated aluminium (from the planes) combined with water to create a powerful explosive mixture which was the most likely explanation for the towers collapse. It was so refreshing to see & hear scientists & engineers, working from first principles, expound a theory which stood up to reasoned argument. No CIA conspiracy, no bombs planted in the towers, no bullshit.
This reminded me of a principle which seems to be in short supply these days, that of Occams Razor. William of Occam became famous for espousing that, ‘where there are numerous solutions to a problem, the simplest explanation is often the answer.’
This is a valuable piece of wisdom that is rarely employed in the era of big data, risk analysis, DFMEA’s, Statistical Analysis etc etc
Next time you have a problem to solve listen to your inner voice & apply the Razor
where there are numerous solutions to a problem, the simplest explanation is often the answer.
So you reallywant to start your own Consultancy business from scratch !?
Here are some tips I hope will help:-
Identify your key skills – if you want to sell yourself as a Consultant the first thing you need to identify is the skills you possess which people will be willing to pay for. If you can’t do this don’t give up your day job.
Develop a Business Plan – don’t put it off because you can’t be bothered or don’t think it’s necessary. If you want people to take you seriously as a Business you need to start thinking like a Business.
Identify your target market – who are you going to sell your skills to ? – your current or former employer perhaps ? Former customers or suppliers, ex colleagues, business partners etc etc
Network – Develop your contacts, LinkedIn is great for this but don’t forget about your address book & business card collection.
Have a look at the Professional Contractors Group websitewww.pcg.org.uk – it has a fantastic free downloadable guide for freelancers/consultants.
If you still want to take the plunge this is perhaps the hardest step of all – You will need a MINIMUM of 6 months income in the bank before you start. Do not plan to earn anything from your Consultancy business for the first six months. If you really want to succeed with your own Consultancy business you will find this money. If you see this as too big a hurdle then sorry but Consultancy is not for you.
Look out for my new book “Start your own Consultancy – Now!”
Rafael Benitez the current Chelsea F.C Manager has been having a bit of a rant about his job title including “interim”.
But that’s exactly what he signed up to when he took the job!
Benitez was appointed Chelsea F.C Manager until the end of the season and that makes him an “interim”
Anyway, what’s wrong with that ? Those of us who are Professional Interim Managers by choice are proud of the fact. We provide an essential service in an increasingly fragmented economy where flexibility is a key factor for success and interim personnel are valued for the contribution they make.
Come on Rafa ! celebrate your interim status with pride.
According to new research published today by Allianz Insurance, some 83% of UK managers rank Innovation as the key to their organization performing strongly.
However, despite the fact most leaders are fully aware of the benefits of innovation, the ongoing challenging economic environment has caused many to opt out of such projects in recent months.
For instance, 23% of the 500 respondents noted that the economic slump has pushed innovation further down their list of business priorities, with issues such as a lack of funding and a focus on profits being the main reasons behind this fact.
This approach is not only wrong it is patently short sighted. Innovating value added products or services is the only way to ensure long term survival never-mind success. Long-term it is not possible for organizations to compete purely on cost. Globalization ensures that whenever you compete purely on cost, someone, somewhere will be able to undermine your cost base and do it cheaper. The only way to compete successfully, particularly in the West, is to produce differentiated products with high added value, which cannot be easily reproduced elsewhere where labor costs are significantly cheaper.
This requires investment in R & D, training and advanced manufacturing techniques.
Neil Armstrong will forever be remembered for his unique achievement of being the first human being to set foot on another planet. His famous quote ” that’s one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind” is burned forever in our collective memory and recalls a seemingly simpler age of great optimism and opportunity when anything could be achieved given the right determination. Armstrong had that “right stuff” is spades and was an inspiration to millions of scientists and engineers the world over.
His lifestyle after his momentous Lunar achievements and his decision to deliberately shun the limelight stands in sharp contrast to that of lesser “celebrities” who’s achievements paled in significance next to his but who crave attention like spoiled children.
Let us remember Neil Armstrong as his family wish……
” Next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down on you, think of Neil and give him a wink“
You only have to follow the News to find out who’s suing who in the Intellectual Property wars, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia – they’re all at it – but is the whole intellectual property industry an anachronism of the past ?
Most technical innovation takes place at such a rapid pace, & product life-cycles are so short, by the time the dispute get’s to Court the product is obsolete.
Geography also plays its part with some countries immune to International legislation.
There is also a strong argument that resources currently deployed pursuing & defending IPR could be better & more effectively deployed in innovation itself.
Recently released results from Nissan the Japanese automotive manufacturer illustrate how good product design leads to improved financial returns.
Nissan’s Net Profit was up a whopping 7% at 341.43 billion Yen and Turnover was also up 7.2% at 341.43 billion Yen.
This was largely based on sales of the distinctive Quashqai SUV in Europe.
Quashqai’s design team was headed up by Stephane Schwartz who conceived the distinctive ‘bone line’ styling whilst thinking about Lean & Athletic images at his home in London. Nissan’s European design studio was put to work on the Quashqai at its base in Paddington London and the results are reflected in Nissan’s financial performance despite a strong Yen.
Are you a Manager ? Do you spend all day glued to your screen ? Are you stuck in your “Ivory Tower” ? Are you far too busy to leave your office to walk around ? Think again….. In the book “In Search of Excellence” by Thomas J. Peters, Robert H. Waterman, Management By Walking Around or MBWA is described as “Getting management out of the office”. At United Airlines, Ed Carlson labeled it Visible Management or management by walking about. The Hewlett-Packard (HP) version of management by walking around” describes this technique as “marked by personal involvement, good listening skills and the recognition that everyone in an organization wants to do a good job.” Simply walking around is one of the most significant Management techniques you can employ, people feel valued that a Senior Manager has taken the time to get out and listen to her staff. “If you wait for people to come to you, you’ll only get small problems. You must go and find them. The big problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.” – W. Edwards DemingTomorrow get off your butt and have a walk around, you won’t regret firstname.lastname@example.org