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Cranfield University National Manufacturing Debate

2016 theme: Accelerating UK Manufacturing Growth

Next week I will be attending the Cranfield University National Manufacturing Debate where the theme will be "Accelerating UK Manufacturing Growth".

Quite timely considering UK industry has seemingly slipped back into recession, according to data from ONS and Markit.

The debate encourages questions from the audience. In previous years I have emailed the blog comments I have received from my network.

The questions they are looking to answer are as follows:

  • How can UK Manufacturing Growth match the best of the G7?
  • What has UK manufacturing growth been since the 2008 recession?
  • Why has UK manufacturing growth lagged some other countries?
  • Can individual UK manufacturing companies influence UK manufacturing growth, or must it be government led?
  • What actions does the UK need to take to improve manufacturing growth?

What question would you ask the panel at the Cranfield University National Manufacturing Debate?


Claire Lauder is the Director of Manufacturing & Engineering at Interim Partners. 


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Leon Labovitch

23 May 2016 12:29 PM

What are UK manufacturers proactively doing to attract, retain and engage high calibre engineers in the face of worldwide competition?

Paul Mason

23 May 2016 09:43 AM

Hello Claire, my question would be what are the key factors influencing UK manufacturing growth and what solutions can be put forward to address them. I look forward to reading the summary from the debate. Kind regards Paul.

Martin Chisholm

20 May 2016 17:15 PM

Hi Claire,
I was hoping to go to the Cranfield event but I can't get away from my current assignment.
My questions would be (relating to the points they want covered):
If we want UK Manufacturing to grow we need to invest; it's a capital intensive sector and to remain / become competative we need to spend the money on the latest technology. So my first question is, what support is there for SME manufacturers that need to secure money in order to invest in R&D?
My second question, linked to the first one, is: with the demise of MAS and the Business Growth Fund what support is the Government going to provide the SME manufacturing base? Though I do not believe that the Government can lead the growth needed, they can and should provide the environment to enable it to happen. Linked with this is the Governments own spending policies and the need to buy British whenever possible and when it's not, for the Government to shout about why they couldn't.
My final point is that UK manufacturers need to do more to 'sell' manufacturing as a desirable career choice in schools and colleges.

Tom Niessen

20 May 2016 15:59 PM

Hi Claire, my question for this panel would be as follows:

With the industrial revolution 4.0 being well on the way, a potential brexit on the cards and manufacturing in recession yet again, where do you see the future of the UKs domestic demand with UK produced goods and services and what impact will this have on the UK workforce as cheap import labour is potentially a thing of the past?

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Debate

Best Regards


Gerry Voller

20 May 2016 15:54 PM

Claire, my question is what does the panel believe the impact will look like for UK Manufacturing over a 2 -5 year period given we either exit or stay in the European Union?

Thanks Gerry

Niall Cleary

20 May 2016 15:35 PM

Hi Claire,
A number of points as follows:
1. I find that one of the big gaps amongst managers is in their understanding of what productivity means as well as not having the skills and capability to drive improvement initiatives.
Developing these skills amongst the management, supervisory and especially workforce is seen as a short term cost and not a long term investment.
2. Capital investment decisions are being avoided in preference to using existing outdated, error prone equipment that can compensated for by "cheap" labour.
Again this is as a result of a lack of understanding of the true cost of failure that newer equipment would compensate for.
3. Reluctance my managers to delegate responsibilities to their staff to make decisions and identify and implement cost avoidance measures.

I could go on but I think you get my drift.

I hope this helps.



Tony Evans

20 May 2016 15:27 PM

My question to the attendees is: How do we keep a consistent approach to the development of modern manufacturing to take advantage of disruptive technologies? Is it possible to get government, academia and private enterprise all on the same hymn sheet and singing in time - at a fast pace?

It should be - but I think it requires agreed leadership to drive all parties. Delegated authority must play a significant part so that time is not frittered away trying to secure permission from people who are outside the main event.

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