Qi3 – Quality, Insight, Integrity & Innovation - UNITING TECHNOLOGY & MARKETING

Tag: reports

Golden Opportunities in Space Supply Chain

Space is a great business, as well as fun for the kids.  Last week, I was invited to Astrium in Portsmouth to give a talk about the opportunities for non-space companies to sell into the space sector. Readers of Qi3 Accelerator Insight will know that I’m passionate about promoting the space sector to wider communities. Of course, I like to think that I’m a reasonably interesting person, but it was clear that on that day my talk wasn’t the most interesting as far as useful facts were concerned.

Chris Ward, Head of UK R&D at Astrium, provided a noteworthy presentation with insightful statistics. I’ll focus here on some key figures:

  • Astrium has €1B sales annually of which 53% accounted for manufacturing and 47% accounted for services (an increase from almost nothing over the past decade).
  • In manufacturing, 70% (approx. €385m) of business was subcontracted of which €100m was spent with 400 UK companies.
  • In services, 35% (approx. €176m) of business was subcontracted of which €100m was spent with other UK companies.

In such a gloomy business environment, this undoubtedly represents €200m of golden opportunities for companies who wish to sell into the space supply chain.

My talk emphasised what’s available for companies in this sector, with specific focus on technological and service opportunities for suppliers.  Mail me to request a copy.

Let’s start manufacturing – new TSB strategy announced

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.

 

Make Business Your Business – Lord Young report

Here’s the Lord Young report that nobody could find yesterday 12-827-make-business-your-business-report-on-start-ups

Lord Young’s report, Make business your business, shows that if we had the same rates of entrepreneurship as the US the UK would have 900,000 more businesses.  He sets out the strength, diversity and growth of small businesses in recent years, a clear contrast to the Bolton Report of 1971 which predicted small businesses were in long-term decline.

Happy reading – let me know what you think.

Export or Stagnate

I could even say ‘export or die’.  Predictions are bound to have huge error bars, but we know certain facts about UK technology and engineering business:

  • The UK is the 22nd most populous nation, with 0.9% of the world’s population
  • We have the 7th largest nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 3.5% of the world’s output
  • We are still the world’s 6th largest manufacturing economy
  • The US, Europe and Asia are our main trading partners, with the US alone accounting for 30-50% of global demand for many technology products and services.
  • The world economic outlook forecasts 2012 GDP growth of 1.6% in the UK

Compare the following forecasts

  • EU 1.4% (including Germany at 1.3%)
  • US 1.8%
  • China 9.0%
  • India 7.5%
  • Emerging Economies as a whole 6.0%
  • Worldwide 4.0%

The nature of technology is that it sees no national boundaries – your business should be born global.  Technology products and services can be sold worldwide with adaptation to local customer preferences.

Qi3’s recent survey of the instrumentation industry showed clearly that those companies which invested in export sales have performed better in today’s turbulent economic environment.  They have a broader exposure to demand in the growing economies, especially in Asia.

So what will you do to increase your exports in 2012?

Successful startups for the over-35’s

There’s hope for us baby-boomers yet, according to a survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported in Business Insider. According to the study, people over 35 made up 80 per cent of the total entrepreneurship activity in 2009.

A 2009 Kauffman Foundation survey of 549 startups operating in “high-growth” industries – including aerospace, defence, health care, IT and electronics – and found that people over 55 are nearly twice as likely to launch startups in these sectors.

So it’s not just about youthful energy.  The lessons seem to be:

  • Utilise your experience of how to succeed, compete effectively in the marketplace and learn from past failures
  • Use your broad networks built up over the years – build a team with people whose strengths you know
  • Use your (hopefully) greater financial stability and acumen to raise finance and manage the business effectively

In my world of engineering and instrumentation, there are vast stores of knowledge and practical experience built by people who have ‘been there, done that’.  Engineering is part learning and part experiential.  It’s an important lesson in a rapidly changing economy that we can use this experience to increase our own chances of business success in a new venture.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

This web site uses cookies to improve your experience. By viewing our content, you are accepting the use of cookies. To find out more and change your cookie settings, please view our cookie policy. Please note that we don’t collect your personal information via our web site.

Close