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

27 June 2014

Meet the sponsors...

Stuart Millar, sales director, Buck & Hickman

Q Why is Buck & Hickman backing the Best Factory Awards 2014?
Buck & Hickman appreciates that both the global and local markets for manufacturers are extremely competitive. To ensure competitive and innovative production output from the UK on both a local and a worldwide basis demands continuous improvement.

We are very proud to work with and support many UK-based companies to enhance their efficiency, productivity and lower their overall unit cost of production and procurement. We provide the very best tools, maintenance and health and safety products – offering advice and support to ensure customers obtain the optimum return on investment.

We see the Best Factory Awards as a great way to recognise those striving for excellence in manufacturing.

Q How would Britain's best factories fare in a worldwide top factory competition?
There are many examples of awards and accolades for British manufacturing on an international stage, but we can all do better, and we must do in order to thrive. A significant proportion of UK manufacturing sites are owned by companies outside of the UK. This fact is actually testament to our UK manufacturing base, demonstrating our success and highlighting Britain as a key area of investment.

For example, whenever I visit factories, I seem to hear the phrase 'How can we do it better?' It's this commitment to questioning accepted practices and finding the best possible way of 'getting things done' that keeps UK manufacturing dynamic. It ensures that we continue to compete successfully in the global market-place on a continual basis.

Q What should manufacturers know about Buck & Hickman?
Buck & Hickman is the UK's leading specialist distributor of tools, maintenance and health and safety products.

We also provide associated site-based services which reduce total production costs, improve productivity and minimise working capital tied up in inventory. We have been in the business for more than 180 years which means we have an unequalled deep-rooted knowledge, experience and appreciation of customers' needs.

Our heritage has given us a unique perspective on our market-place and we have responded over the years to many changes in technology, legislation and supply chain requirements as British industry has itself developed and evolved. We pride ourselves on being a truly local business when it comes to working alongside our customers to meet their varying needs through our nationwide branch network, many of which are co-located with Brammer Sales & Service Centres.

Our philosophy is based on 'adding value at every touch' through value-added services which help our customers reduce total acquisition costs and working capital while optimising production efficiency.

Among these services is vendor-managed inventory, which uses state-of-the-art technology to control and record product usage with detailed reporting – a solution which our customers tell us increases stock efficiency, and delivers greater accountability while saving them money.

Q If you could bestow one gift on UK manufacturing, what would that be?
Visiting customers free of charge, working with them, sharing knowledge and expertise, helping them achieve cost savings – that's the best gift of all?

Across our workforce we have more than 5,000 years of combined experience, with most of our staff having been employed with the business for more than 10 years, an excellent knowledge base to help understand the needs and requirements of customers not just for the next 12 months, but for the foreseeable future.

Q What makes British manufacturing great?
Heritage. The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from the 1760s to the mid-nineteenth century, and rightly this has never stopped. British manufacturers have continually reshaped their offerings and methods of working to meet ever-changing market needs.

'Traditional' industries such as metals and textiles are importantly still in ever-increasing demand, alongside high-tech sectors such as pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. This showcases the breadth of innovation, design, engineering and production expertise and added value we have in the UK. So many world-class brands are made in Britain because of the quality of our workforce and the esteem in which the UK market is still held today.

Q What is the best business advice you've ever received?
Keep calm, keep manufacturing!



Buck & Hickman

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