It is sad that it takes a crisis to remind us of what is important in life, but the way in which people pull together at times like this is quite beautiful.
The UK manufacturing sector is a great example of the willingness of people and companies to pull together to help overcome one of this country’s greatest challenges at this crucial moment in time.
How can the UK manufacture more ventilators, more quickly?
I remember starting to work with manufacturing companies back in 2012, I fell in love with the sector when I started to meet the people working in it. Often very genuine, down to earth, hugely intelligent and highly skilled people, frequently making parts or products critical to our everyday lives. However, many people outside of the sector would pay little regard to the companies that those products are made by.
At that time, post the 2008 financial crash, the government had started to wake up to the fact that they could not build an entire economy based on financial services. Finally, the UK manufacturing sector was starting to get the attention it deserved once again. A sector that had been let down again and again by successive governments, a sector that was looked down upon for many decades because of peoples ill perceived perceptions of what manufacturing was all about.
UK Manufacturing is in a much better place today than it was in the decades running up to 2008. Government seems to be appreciating the importance of building a highly skilled advanced manufacturing economy. The number of catapult centres that we have seen appear all over the country and the clearly defined Made Smarter Review demonstrates a desire to ensure the UK is a leading advanced manufacturing nation.
The answer to ventilator production will unlikely be JCB rolling ventilators off their production line, but I think we are going to see the kind of innovation and resilience many of us have never seen before.
At times of such stress and worry I try and see the potential positive outcomes for the nation.
Hopefully it will ensure that future governments will never again forget the importance the manufacturing sector has on the prosperity and wellbeing of everyone in this country.
The manufacturing sector for years has been under appreciated. Now the profile and capability have been raised to the forefront of every individual’s mind, maybe, just maybe here lies the opportunity for manufacturing to attract the diverse talent it so needs. The impact the sector has across health, sustainable energy, housing and other global problems can no longer be underestimated or underappreciated.