What is in store for us without manufacturing?

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a… What is in store for us without manufacturing?On 11 Apr 2000 in Manufacturing, Personnel Todaycenter_img These are not good times for those of us in industrial relations/HRM whothink we are blessed with a sunny disposition. Manufacturing in Britain appearsto be suffering another assault on its very existence.The collapse of Rover is dreadful news for the West Midlands. The realsignificance of the Rover problem has yet to work itself through into thecomponent supply sector for BMW/Rover. Anecdotal evidence suggests, by the way,that the component suppliers have been carrying the costs of high interestrates as the strength of the pound has drive the senior “partners” inthe supply chain to make good their losses by forcing down component prices. Somuch for the “partners” relationship.What is in store for Britain in the absence of manufacturing? It is trueorder books for some are OK at the moment. It is also true some aerospace firmsare looking forward to a reasonable future, and car firms like Peugeot arestill making a car the market wants. However, the net effects of high interest rates designed to keep a lid onthe notional value of my house in London are altering for ever the industrialprospects of Northern England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Inwardinvestors who are here already are unlikely to leave because we seem to lackthe courage to confront Britain’s xenophobia about the euro and high interestrates. But they will not expand. And will new manufacturers now come here? Wemight have the most flexible “valued asset” – our people – but themost highly prized asset in reality is money, and our money is too expensive.Perhaps we are to be rescued by the e-commerce industries. Or not. Forinstance, there is much to admire about Cisco Systems worldwide. I listened toone of its senior managers at a Swedish trade union conference on e-commercelast week. Its HR policies are cool to the point of asceticism. Two auditorsexamine on-line expense claims for 16,000 employees. They don’t do muchtraining in company time, but an enormous amount of distance learning issupported, with 80 per cent of sales and technical training done on-line. Theproductivity in Cisco per employee stands at $688,000, compared to the carindustry at $160,000. Salaries of executives are largely augmented by shareoptions. Perhaps in this stunning success story, we ought to be amazed as manyas 3 per cent of staff leave each year.What does all this tell us? I fear the success of e-commerce based in theSouth East, along with the bizarre dot.com frenzy at the Stock Exchange willfurther intensify the forces shattering our industrial heartlands. In the rushto join in with Internet expansion, our high interest rates will have to besustained for fear of reviving inflation. My house will continue to be worthfunny money. And I will get 13-plus Swedish crowns to the pound when I visit myunion friends there. None of this will make Birmingham a better place to live. Related posts:last_img read more