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MTA Annual Dinner

The 28th of January saw the MTA’s Annual Dinner, held for the first time at the Vox on the NEC site,  Birmingham. Over 400 guests enjoyed a great night with friends, colleagues and contacts from across the industry. A highlight of the evening was the speech given by the MTA President, Guy Mollart. Mr Mollart highlighted the opportunities that the future presents for manufacturing in terms of changes to technology and the sector’s workforce. He also gave a strong message on the need for the UK to remain a fully engaged member of the European Union. You can read the full text of Guy's speech below.

The guests enjoyed listening to former England Rugby International Martin Bayfield who regaled them with stories from his time in both sport and acting. The evening was rounded off with jokes from comedian Rob Beckett.

Over £10,000 was raised, through donations and a silent auction for the nominated charity, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Association (REME) and Colonel Ian Gibson was on hand to convey the Regiment’s thanks.

MTA CEO James Selka, said of the evening “I’d like to say thank you to all of our guests and to everyone who made the evening such a memorable and successful event, we look forward to seeing to you all again, back at the NEC, at MACH 2016 in April.” 

MTA President’s Speech to the Annual Dinner

Guy Mollart

28th January 2016

[Check Against delivery]

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I have worked in the Machine Tool Industry for 30 years for Mollart Engineering, and the company has been a member of the MTA for 75 years, with a representation in the MTA not only as a machine tool company, but a tooling and a subcontract company as well.

So it’s really a privilege for me to be able to serve as your president and give something back to this industry.

It’s an exciting year being a MACH year. We have a chance now to seize some of the opportunities that face us.

The Future is now. We are in a time of Industrial Renaissance and as with any rebirth we need an infusion of new blood. We all have a responsibility and duty to train and attract more engineers to our profession.

How do you solve this? We need to promote ourselves and spend more time explaining the benefits of manufacturing to the Educational system and Government at local, national and international levels. This is what I see as the central role of the MTA, with your help to provide an arena for this to be realised.

As our workforce ages, different skills are required for our future success, we need to triple the number of apprentices. Women are 50% of our workforce but only 16% of that in Manufacturing. We need creative designers to push our products forward in a competitive global economy. In today’s siege mentality of order today and get it tomorrow, our businesses need to be flexible and adapt to the future.

Look at what Jaguar Land Rover has done to revive its brand on the world stage and then its manufacturing.

My company in Wales is thriving in the hands of a young, dynamic workforce where 12% of our people are Apprentices.

The future is in Young people to shape new processes and their future is now. We have to attract the right people. We can’t do again what we did in the 1980’s and 1990’s by recruiting from the Street as manufacturing shed labour.

Manufacturing provides roles for everyone – accountants, machinists, software engineers, installation engineers and we all need that balance and the lifeblood of young people.

The MTA has a role to play in this – in 2016 we are releasing training funds that have been locked in trust for member companies to help fund apprenticeships and training programmes. And we have worked with tonight’s kind sponsors Close Brothers, who are committed to putting something back into UK manufacturing,  to support twenty apprentices at small manufacturers who otherwise would not have been able to take them on.

We also need technology for the future. If the people in this room are the lifeblood, our investment in advanced machinery is the means to facilitate this change. There is a massive opportunity before us now. Technology increases our competitiveness and productivity. Interest rates are still at a record low of 0.5%, have been since 2009 and are unlikely to increase in 2016. We need to have the courage to be radical in investing in the latest technology. We can be game changers.

Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that facilitates change. Look at the impact of additive manufacturing (3D printing). It’s a disruptive game changing technology, altering how we can arrive at a finished shape that is transforming the way we think about making things.

Just take a look at the size of the Additive Manufacturing Zone at MACH 2016 and witness how that technology in our industry is moving the traditional manufacturing barriers to make products cheaper and more environmentally efficient.

Converging Information technologies are changing the way many workplaces interact. In our business of manufacturing we traditionally have islands of people, each with their own spreadsheets. With the investment at Mollart in a SAP ERP system we are integrating more efficient processes by linking machines and people. We encourage people to work closer together. At the heart of our ERP technology is Data. We create oodles of Data and perhaps we use 20% of it. Use it, connect it, the internet of things - the future is now. If we can successfully use more of this data we can get to the factory of the future, faster.

Look at the opportunities that face us in reshoring. Who would have thought we could make Chinese pot noodles in Yorkshire! It’s not  just about bringing manufacturing back to the UK, it’s about designing and manufacturing revolutionary and visionary new products in Great Britain - the way the Victorians did - that nobody has done anywhere else in the world before.

If we have the technology for the future and people for the future, we will be fit to grow the UK’s manufacturing for the future.

Make no mistake, if we are to be competitive in a global world, we have to embrace the future and the future is now.  We need to think differently.

Are our businesses fit for the future? Is exporting critical? It is to Mollart.

Exporting almost 100% of our Machine Tool production, Mollart is the largest supplier of imported drilling machines into the Chinese market.

If we are the voice of manufacturing industry, we need to have the optimism and ambition to promote manufacturing. Not least on the European stage our global companies are best served by remaining in the world’s largest trading block, the EU.

British commerce is dominated by the service industry but it is far easier to secure large productivity gains in manufacturing than services, but to do so we need to sell more goods to overseas markets.

The EU is our principal trading partner accounting for over 44% of our exports of goods and services. In the EU we have access to 500 million consumers.

Our access to markets both on the European continent and further afield – the MTA Board believes - depends on our being an active trading partner within the EU. The future is now, We need to stay in the EU.

Investment in the UK by global companies such as Nissan depends on it. That one plant in Sunderland produces half a million cars and is the most productive and efficient car plant in Europe, creating jobs and opportunities for our young people in manufacturing.

We must not endanger that, we cannot be complacent.

Our National manufacturing infrastructure needs a place to come together and connect, that future is MACH in April of this year.

MACH is the showground that makes that technology happen, from software to Machine Tools and everything in between.

It is a Festival of Manufacturing with over 6500 tons of live, latest technology, machinery. The organizers of MACH – the MTA - have attracted 130 new exhibiting companies to Mach.

The people in this room, are making the future, the future is now.

We have everything at our fingertips, the people for the future, the technology for the future.  Ladies and Gentlemen, let us make manufacturing fit for the future.

See you at MACH!