Nurturing Engineering Talent Can Re- Energise Manufacturing

Technology is developing so fast it is changing how the automotive manufacturing industry does business. Companies are no longer just looking at developing factories around the world but creating joint ventures on British soil so they can respond quickly and adapt to these changes.

Historically the trend has been for British car manufacturers to form links with global suppliers and have identical factories around the world. Carol Burke (inset), managing director at Unipart Manufacturing Group (UMG), says: “What happened was that globalisation was used to lower costs

. That was fine when the product was basic and you needed to set up a plant in China, but there has been an increasing number of recalls and problems that exist within those plants.

“Global sourcing has often been seen as an approach to driving down costs and creating strong links between companies in different geographies. UMG went down that route with global partners for many years.

But we found that technology was being developed at an incredibly fast rate and it was almost impossible to co-ordinate our own research and development opportunities with those of some of our partners.

“We revisited our strategy and evaluated the products that we were making. We found that using our own skills and resources we could move more quickly into higher-value, advanced engineering products. We recognised that we were essentially an engineering company with a unique approach, that we call The Unipart Way, which would enable us to harness the skills and innovation of our people to produce a whole new range of hi-tech products.