Best Factory Awards Countdown
Best Factory Awards 2014
Best Factory Awards Gala Lunch Date: 25/09/2015

17 August 2015

Meet the sponsors - Brammer

Mike England, Sales Director, Brammer

Why is Brammer backing the Best Factory Awards 2015?

Brammer are delighted to support the Best Factory Awards again this year because we are passionate about British manufacturing which is once again in the ascendency. In today's globalised market, helping British manufacturing to become even more competitive is critical if we are to develop a balanced economy and create jobs for the next generation. The most successful and sustainable economies of the world have manufacturing at the centre of their focus, and at Brammer we aim to help drive sustained growth in UK manufacturing.

What is the single biggest challenge for UK manufacturers in the next 12 months?

In our quest to achieve competitive advantage and continue to drive the manufacturing sector, our biggest challenge is the lack of skilled people joining the sector. We have an aging workforce, and the attraction and subsequent retention of good people can be difficult meaning we have to work hard to make manufacturing desirable to our brightest and most talented young people. In the future to be successful organisations will need to harness a wide skills base with highly qualified leaders who can unlock new and innovative revenue streams.

What should manufacturers know about Brammer?

Brammer is Europe's largest MRO & Industrial Consumables distributor with over 350 branches across Europe offering a wide range of Bearings & Power Transmission, Fluid Power and Industrial Consumables. Brammer operates in 22 countries across Europe, and we pride ourselves on providing a local service to our customers - the investment in our local network of over 90 branches UK nationwide underpins this ethos. We are also committed to helping our customers to save money through reducing working capital, reducing acquisition costs and increasing production efficiency and productivity, and are proud to have saved our customers £244m over the last 10 years alone.

What's your favourite UK-manufactured product and why?

I am particularly proud of Concorde. Largely designed and built in Bristol by BAC, latterly BAE Systems, it was a truly great feat of engineering with a take-off speed of 250mph, cruising speed of 1,350mph – more than twice the speed of sound – and a record transatlantic crossing time (London to New York) of 2 hours and 52 minutes.

If you could bestow one gift on UK manufacturing, what would that be?

We have to make manufacturing 'sexy' to attract the best people, so I would create an endless pool of highly motivated, inquisitive and determined engineers. To do this we have to start at an early age, and engineering needs to feature much more prominently on the curriculum. Manufacturers can play their part too, providing opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience, routes into full time employment via apprenticeship and/or graduate schemes and engage with schools, colleagues and universities to demonstrate how great the sector can be!

What makes British manufacturing great?

For a small country, Britain has long demonstrated an aptitude for research, development and innovation. Some of the world's greatest inventions are the product of British minds, and this is reflected in the quality of our manufacturing. We can not only invent great products, but also design an efficient production facility around them, and we're not shy about adopting new practices to optimise our manufacturing processes meaning we'll continue to innovate.

Which was the first factory you ever visited and what impressed you most about it?

The first ever factory I visited was an aluminium can manufacturing plant, and I was in awe of the size of the plant, the noise and the speed of operation, cans going past my eyes so quickly that they were a blur. I was fascinated by the automation, the movement and mechanical handling and the number of steps in the production process. From that day on, every time I pick up a new product I study the item and try to envisage how to automate the manufacturing process.

What is the best business advice you've ever received?

Surround yourself with good people, listen to new ideas, and follow your instinct – it will never be far wrong.


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