At last the Technology Strategy Board has published its new strategy for High Value Manufacturing.
Their definition of HVM is very much allied with ours:
High value manufacturing is the application of leading edge technical knowledge and expertise to the creation of products, production processes, and associated services which have strong potential to bring sustainable growth and high economic value to the UK. Activities may stretch from R&D at one end to recycling at the other. Such potential is characterised by a combination of high R&D intensity and high growth.
And they focus on 22 competences, grouped into 5 strategic themes:
- resource efficiency
- manufacturing processes
- materials integration
- manufacturing systems
- business models
Reading through this document and the accompanying Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing study, there is a lot of sense here, but I’d argue also a number of important omissions and (dare I say it) fashionable hobbyhorses. For example, I feel that the UK has world class competences in metrology, measurement systems and analytical instrumentation. These competences can enable leaner, more resource efficient and less costly manufacture. This doesn’t undermine the overall thrust of the IfM’s argument, but I hope that the TSB will be open to a healthy debate and ongoing refresh of these 22 competences.
At Qi3 Accelerator, we use the phrase High Value Manufacturing to encompass the ‘real world’ of engineered products and associated services, including those destined for sectors such as aerospace, security, defence, space, medical and environmental.
Let’s see how this new strategy for HVM is backed up by actions that will make a material difference to the rebalancing of the UK economy towards making things.