Having joined EEF earlier this year, with a background outside of manufacturing, I can hopefully give a newcomers untainted first impression, and perhaps some reminders of what makes this an interesting and enduring sector.
Manufacturing is Molten
I think, unfortunately, some people still hold a rather dated view of manufacturing. However, manufacturing is not only clean, modern, and beautiful, but is right at the forefront of technology; the home of explosive, exponential growth.
This sector never stays stationary; it is modern and moving. Great advances have been made within the R&D departments of this industry, and UK manufacturing still leads the way in the amount invested in R&D compared to other sectors in the economy.
And we now sit on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Implementation of smart factories and connection to The Internet of Things is already beginning, and you can bet the entire nation is going to feel the benefits. This revolution will directly affect the production of almost everything you can think of.
From pharmaceuticals to farming equipment
There is an intimidatingly long list of products manufactured in the UK, ranging from steel beams and cars to knitwear and whisky. Each subsector has its strengths and its weaknesses, its unique innovations and its specialist fields. They each face different challenges and they don’t all rise and fall together in equal measure. The sheer variety of manufacturers is astounding and serves as a reminder that this is an industry that cannot be easily pigeonholed.
This is why breaking down analysis and forecasting for different sectors and regions is vital to truly capturing the nuances of the sector.
Reliable and resourceful
UK manufacturing is a tenacious and resilient sector. It has taken some blows in the past but has rolled with the punches, and found areas to improve and grow. A great manufacturer takes advantage of all the resources at their disposal.
EEF is one of those resources. Firstly there is the wealth of business support. Need HR and legal advice? You’ve got it. Unsure what a competitive salary would be? Pay Benchmarking reports are at your disposal. Want to be kept up to date with industry news and issues? EEF can help.
And listen. EEF runs several policy surveys (You can sign up here) that allow us to take your views and give them a voice in the media and government. So whether you need some advice, some data or just want your voice heard, EEF is there to assist and represent its members.
UK manufacturing should be proud of what has been overcome and achieved. It may look like there will be tough times ahead, and there is a lot of uncertainty in the air at the moment, but manufacturers are an undeniably hardy bunch, and they will forge their way through. I look forward to playing my part in it all.