At the Manufacturing Professors’ Forum on Monday, 25th June, we heard a number of first-hand insights and challenges from David Sprent, Logistics VP for the UK and Ireland at Unilever. David explained to the audience what these challenges mean for the industry and for the UK manufacturing base.

1. Changing consumer habits, in particular click and collect and click and deliver after buying in store, are changing the supply chain from big distribution centres and big customers to smaller centres and smaller customers as consumers change their buying habits.

2. Skill shortage are a real issue in the UK, for example:

– At a new factory in the North of the UK he mentioned, there were 1000 applicants for 40 operator places and only 3 meeting the standard set for applicants;

– At the same factory, when advertising for engineer positions, the management team received 40 applicants yet none of these met the standard required; and

– Out of 4 factory managers posts that become vacant, on average 3 had to be filled from overseas.

How does this affect performance management in our manufacturing part of UK Plc?

What do you think?

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