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

15 May 2014

Meet the sponsors...

Mike England, sales director, Brammer

Q Why is Brammer backing the Best Factory Awards 2014?
As a key strategic business partner to manufacturers of all sizes across the UK seeking to optimise their operations, supporting the Best Factory Awards represents a very natural step for us. Within the manufacturing sector, these awards represent the pinnacle of achievement in terms of operational excellence and it's a scheme with which we are very proud to be associated.

Q How would Britain's best factories fare in a worldwide top factory competition?
The typical modern British factory, if there is such a thing, combines the best of British values – innovation, quality, teamwork and resourcefulness – with best practice process methodologies such as lean manufacturing and kanban which originated overseas.

Volatile exchange rates plus high property and labour costs can make it hard for British companies to compete on cost, but one area where they can – and do – stand out is quality. If that's a measure of a top factory, then Britain would be well represented on the leaderboard.

Q What is the single biggest challenge for UK manufacturers in the next 12 months?
The issue of attracting the very best young talent into manufacturing – and then retaining these individuals in the sector – is one which faces the sector as a whole and every company within it. A strong manufacturing sector is integral to a strong economy and that means the best people, and a pipeline of vibrant talent in place.

It's still not widely appreciated just how rewarding a career in manufacturing can be, with the opportunity to work in functions as varied as design, engineering, research and development, production, and sales and marketing. The relaunch of apprenticeships has helped, while many manufacturers and their suppliers have graduate schemes which enable participants to gain experience in these different functions – sometimes internationally – working on real business projects and challenges before deciding which one best suits them.

This process gives them a more rounded view of manufacturing, fostering a greater understanding as well as equipping them with the problem-solving skills which are key to creating the next generation of industry leaders. It's the responsibility of every manufacturer to provide a varied and stimulating career path for new entrants to ensure that manufacturing is able to hold its own with service-led sectors when it comes to enticing the cream of the crop to come – and stay.

Q What should manufacturers know about Brammer?
Brammer is unique as it offers the broadest range of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products, with some four million individual product lines from the world's leading manufacturers of fluid power, bearings and seals, mechanical and electrical power transmission, tools and maintenance, and health and safety products – all backed by independent, specialist technical knowledge and support.

What is perhaps less well known is that we have an extensive portfolio of value-adding services aimed at helping our customers improve production efficiency, reduce working capital and reduce total acquisition costs.

These range from energy audits and the recommendation of more efficient alternative products, through standardisation projects and OEM parts substitution – with Brammer sourcing alternative components direct from their manufacturer rather than the OEM – up to a Brammer InsiteTM, effectively a Brammer branch on a customer's premises, geared entirely to meeting that customer's needs in terms of stock, opening hours and on-site technical support.

Q What makes British manufacturing great?
The industrial revolution started in the UK, meaning modern manufacturing owes much to Britain, with many of the technologies and processes now widely used in global manufacturing having their roots here. But what really makes British manufacturing great is the depth and quality of products which have been and continue to be made in the UK.

The Mini, the London black cab, JCB vehicles, the chocolate bar, and more modern inventions such as the wind-up radio – all were envisioned in the UK and continue to be produced here, a real testament to the ingenuity of British designers and manufacturers past and present.

What is also striking is the sheer versatility on display in the sector. From traditional industries such as metal processing and utilities, through to high-tech telecommunications and medical products, the base of our manufacturing sector is probably broader now than ever before.

There's no disguising the fact that manufacturing has faced many challenges over the last decade but our industry leaders have always reshaped their operations to keep Britain competitive and Brammer is there to support their continuous improvement and development.


Brammer UK

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