By working together, EEF and its Affiliate Partners are better placed to deliver a stronger industrial sector for the UK. Dr Andrew Mint, CEO of the Processing & Packaging Machinery Associations (PPMA) explains more about the organisation and the Affiliate Partnership with EEF.
Who is the PPMA?
The PPMA is the UK's trade association for suppliers of processing and packaging machinery to the UK market, representing in excess of 530 member and associate companies. This includes everything from the starting point of production, to the packaging and conveyance side, quality control, right down to end of line packaging and labelling. If you go into any manufacturing company you’ll invariably find equipment produced by one of our members.
What does the PPMA do for the manufacturing industry?
Fundamentally, we’re helping our members facilitate their businesses. There are two key things that, as a business owner and leader you are interested in, namely cash flow and the capability to sell. And we, the PPMA, can help with this and influence this. We produce the Machinery Update industry magazine that is seen by end users, which helps us to promote our members. We also have the PPMA show, a major exhibition and the largest UK event of its kind, where you can see almost all elements of the production line. A lot of our members are SMEs and they do struggle with sales and marketing opportunities, so we’re trying to do more events for end users. We also do training and educational events around topics that are current, such as Brexit and GDPR.
Why has the PPMA decided to partner with EEF?
It’s about leveraging what we can do further to support our members. I’m a big believer in partnerships and collaboration, getting associations to work together. There are certain things EEF has developed that are more advanced, so this is about developing and building a wider network of information, resources, potential training and help for our members that we wouldn’t be able to do as ably if we were doing it alone.
What does the PPMA think the future holds for the industry?
Brexit does create challenges, particularly around the free movement of goods and issues around Rules of Origin. The pre-negotiations that are happening seem disjointed and as soon as there is uncertainty, it impacts business. Businesses want stability and if there are any question marks over that stability, that breeds apprehension and caution. But interestingly, our PPMA show this year (2018) was the biggest PPMA Show in 30 years in terms of exhibitors and visitor numbers, so it shows a big appetite for British companies. So we have to make the best of the hand we have been dealt.
What are the key opportunities for the industry?
There are lots of opportunities, particularly in the areas of automation and robotics. We are seen as historically strong and we are in a position to leverage this foundation of British manufacturing and engineering. British engineering is seen as innovative, thought provoking and high quality and we need to continue to leverage those beliefs and building that reputation further during these challenging times.