By Peter McOnie, Made Smarter Business Adviser – Lancashire
My role as Made Smarter Business Adviser for Lancashire involves encouraging and supporting manufacturing SMEs of all sizes and sectors to future-proof their businesses by adopting appropriate modern cutting-edge technologies to enable their growth. (Made Smarter is a Government pilot that started in January of this year; see www.madesmarter.uk for more details)
Since the turn of the year, I have immersed myself into Lancashire’s manufacturing landscape and it really has been a truly awe-inspiring journey to see the sheer ambition and commitment of local business. I have seen first-hand how agriculture and food processing companies have quickly adopted new technologies to counteract reduced labour availability and pioneering techniques to stand out in increasingly competitive markets.
It is fascinating to see how the plastics industry has responded to the challenges of the green agenda. The amazing response of food manufacturers to ever-changing consumer and legislative requirements is a joy to behold and demonstrates the true dynamism of our county. Makers and creators are under huge pressure to reduce costs, improve quality and develop new products and concepts. They are real chameleons, constantly changing, constantly evolving and constantly finding new innovative ways of making it work and I have immense respect for the diversity and unparalleled ambition of the businesses I’ve seen.
The people I have met constantly amaze me, from the depths of historic cotton-mills, in neatly refurbished surroundings, I find some of the most up to date, state-of-the-art and occasionally top-secret machinery around. On the other hand, in the hyper-modern business parks, I find companies taking raw industrial waste and reworking it into an aerospace grade product.
How does this happen? It is all centres around the people. The business leaders who are often far more socially aware than they realise. The visionary leaders who have developed staff in their own way to fill knowledge and skills gaps. The forward-thinking leaders who suffer sleepless nights because they know local jobs rely on them and their decisions. The growth-oriented leaders who take risks with confidence because it is the right thing to do. The proud leaders who believe in their people, their town, their county and their country. These people all have something in common, an innate drive to do what they must do because they know it is the right thing to do.
From Morecambe bay shrimps to creamy Lancashire cheese, from Torpedoes to the modern computer, to the machines that create road markings and powered the industrial revolution, Lancashire has always punched way above its weight in terms of forward-thinking inventors and entrepreneurs. What I’ve learnt is that you can look at all the statistics you like about the manufacturing industry, but true understanding comes from doing the hard miles and listening to the people who have achieved so much and had an impact on so many lives.
If you want to find out how you can take your operations to the next level, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. Contact Boost Business Lancashire here.