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Manufacturing and engineering businesses sought for productivity initiative

Regional SMEs on industrial visit

[A]n opportunity to join a regional business support programme championed by some of the UK’s leading manufacturers is now available.

The UK, along with much of the developed world, has been struggling to raise productivity levels since the 2008 economic crash. German workers produce 20 per cent more an hour than their UK counterparts, affecting international competitiveness and the nation’s wealth.

The 12-month ‘Productivity through People’ programme brings together top industrialists and academics to tackle the productivity puzzle in the North West’s key manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Experts from the globally-renowned Lancaster University Management School, and world-class industrial partners BAE Systems, Siemens and Rolls Royce, are launching a second round of the programme, which is deeply embedded in research and provides small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a blueprint for growth.

Productivity through People, through enhancing leadership and management capability, helps SMEs understand the link between employee engagement, modern working practices and improved productivity. The unique design of the programme enables delegates to translate their learning into practical improvements for their business.

The programme’s pilot, which was launched in January 2017, has successfully delivered productivity gains for participating companies and the programme is now being replicated in other parts of the UK.

Chris Mayne, Operations Director of Forsberg Services, and member of the pilot cohort of Productivity through People, said: “The benefits of Productivity through People started to make themselves apparent from the outset. The initial sessions brought to light some key actions required to improve our working operations, as well as my own personal leadership style. Actions which I have already started to implement and see benefits from.

“The main highlight has been forming a close group of like-minded individuals who I can trust and gain some truly valuable opinions, best practice examples and knowledge.”

Chris Blade, Managing Director of Cumbria Crystal, who is also part of Productivity through People’s first programme, said: “I’ve brought about a range of small incremental improvements within the company: engaging staff; getting them to look at working differently; bringing about small one per cent changes. Things that we can do quite reasonably within the company. Collectively they add up.

“In the first six months of this year, since I have been on the course, I’ve actually increased the company turnover by 41 per cent compared to the same period last year.”

Aimed at manufacturing and engineering SMEs in the North West, the programme is currently recruiting 24 key decision makers for an Autumn 2017 start. Delegates will be exposed to world-class manufacturing excellence at BAE Systems, Siemens and Rolls Royce, including behind-the-scenes visits.

Each of these major manufacturers is investing, both finance and expertise, in the programme. In addition, the programme is further supported by Lancaster University and Lancashire Local Enterprise partnership. Therefore selected SMEs will be required to pay a nominal fee of £2,500 per delegate. The actual value per delegate of the programme is around £10,000.

Jan Metcalfe, Productivity through People Programme Director, said: “The objective is to support and invest in the manufacturers of tomorrow, giving access to the latest thinking, research, and frameworks. This will enable them to improve the competitiveness and efficiency of their business through developing leadership and management capability to transform working practices, and to help increase productivity through the empowerment of their workforce.”

Jenny Cridland, Head of HR Transformation at BAE Systems, said: ‘’This programme is a fantastic collaboration between industry, academia and local enterprise and is already demonstrating the power of experiential learning in bringing about meaningful change within firms and for individuals.’’

There will be a series of half-day preview sessions for delegates interested in finding out more.

  • 20th September, Lancaster House Hotel. Includes Masterclass with Juergen Maier, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens UK
  • 28th September, BAE Systems Samlesbury, Preston. Includes tour of manufacturing facility
  • 10th October, Abbey House Hotel, Barrow. Includes talk by Mike Henry, Head of Operations, Siemens Subsea
  • 25th October, Lancaster University. Includes Productivity Panel discussion with leading industry experts, academics and regional SMEs

To attend the preview sessions, or to find out more about Productivity through People, call 01524 510728, email [email protected] or visit

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