Being a Brit, I do feel compelled to mention the on-going EU membership discussion that we are currently involved in. What ever your views, the discussion has once more emphasised how manufacturing has become an important glue that holds the world economy together.
In a recent article James Selka from the Manufacturing Technologies Association noted that;
Advanced manufacturing is one of, if not the, most internationalised sectors that exists. Value chains, which encompass the physical supply of goods and the intangible supply of intellectual property and services, span the world and service markets which are global too. Multinationals with hubs on every continent deal with a panoply of small and medium-sized businesses right around the world.
Access to the Single Market alone is a very persuasive case for remaining in the EU. Unfettered access to the world’s largest market is an asset to be cherished and enhanced. Indeed, with one of the emerging trends in manufacturing being location closer to market, to risk alienating that market – our home market – would be madness.
With advanced manufacturing increasingly offering data driven services to gain a competitive edge, the interdependent nature of our economies will only increase. Most manufacturers understand this. At the recent National Manufacturing Debate at Cranfield University, a show of hands of the 250+attendees showed that perhaps only 2% of were in favour of a Brexit.
The problem is that the person in the street does not appreciate these changes, which is one reason why in the UK (and perhaps elsewhere) we need to re-brand and re-think what we mean by manufacturing.
Nick Frank is Managing Partner at Si2 Partners, a consultancy helping clients leverage services to win in industrial markets
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