Optimism within North East Manufacturing

BQ Live Debate

In January 2015, Deloitte hosted a BQ Live Debate in the North East focusing on manufacturing. The issue: How can manufacturers across the region maximise potentials of the supply chain to ensure sustainable growth, and what can be done to further support the industry? Kate Powell, North East Manufacturing lead, Deloitte, comments about the debate.

Despite operating in unpredictable and unforgiving times, members of the North East’s manufacturing community are committed to seeking new ways of working with a global supply chain to deliver greater benefits and to minimise risk.

Sat around the table at the recent BQ Live debate with businesses focused on different parts of the supply chain, and many finding themselves at both ends, I was delighted to see the positive attitudes which were, without exception, focused on open and collaborative working in order to reshape traditional supply chain relationships. Gone are the days of arm’s-length relationships based solely on price and delivery dates. What I found was a desire to focus on ways of working that would ensure quality and enough flexibility to allow for greater innovation.

The talk, more often than not, was focused around the needs of the end customer, working towards a common goal and trusting your suppliers. The issues that were discussed were very much aligned with those that we experience in conversations with clients and based around the pressures of being part of a large national and international supply chain, namely: cost, deadlines, availability, skills, innovation, and access to finance.

However, despite greater exposure to pressures on cost and quality, it was felt that the best ways to mitigate and minimise risk were to establish closer, more cooperative relationships rather than punitive measures, such as performance bonds or advanced guarantees.
What’s most important in the North East is that these manufacturers are supported in their ambition to build a better, more valuable supply chain. That means creating the right economic and regulatory environment to do so by encouraging future governments to take the necessary steps.

Which is why Deloitte is a member of the All-party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, who work cross-party bringing together Parliamentarians and manufacturing industry organisations to ensure a broad and deep understanding of the issues and progressing the development of new industrial policy ideas. Supply chains are a key area of focus specifically how we can unlock their potential in areas such as innovation, skills, finance and taxation and trade and investment and we see them as being fundamental to the future sustainable growth of the manufacturing sector.

Read the full BQ Live manufacturing debate.

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