Thursday, 22 January 2015

Industry Practice – UK Manufacturing – Renaissance and Revolution: 2015+ (Part 2)

The long, long awaited and highly anticipated announcement regards the ECB's purchase of EU sovereign debt has at last arrived. €1.1tr to be dispensed at the rate of €60bn each moth from March onward will undoubtedly provide new under-pinnings of confidence to Europe's fixed-income and equities markets; even if between now and then we possibly see profit taking in some companies stocks given their dramatic rises on the QE rumour, with”buy the rumour, sell the fact” outcomes.

Given its national memories of the 1920s and the Weimar Republic era which led to massive money-printing and rabid inflation, Germany understandably remains very cautious of QE in general, hence its demands for ensured pan-EU structural reforms, to ensure the monies eventually take good effect. Given the heavy stagnancy of the continental economy, though the ECB's president's very position and name might associatively generate thoughts of this good work being eventually undone by fiscal drag, that appears a very remote possibility.

Instead, the liquidity will inevitably be directed at capital markets, so as to get the circulation of the money system repaired to healthier levels, with very probably a more balanced mix of corporate bond buying vs stocks than seen previously in the US. This then providing further economic stability, even if at the cost of slower progress. That progress however should be seen by way of infrastructure spending where applicable, more probably toward the invisible sewers, pipelines and other networks of old cities, in contrast to the pre-2008 display of expansive inter-city programmes.

Given years of real-price stagnancy after the absorption impact of 1989's Unification, Germany will, whilst likewise seeking EU growth inflation likewise wish to ensure 'price containment' so that the spread and effect of QE monies is not simply inflated-away sooner than expected.

The pre-WW2 hyper-inflation experience, is today still quietly believed behind closed doors as created by “the jew banker”, the consequences of which was the terrible suffering of 'Dem Deutschen Volke', so creating the path to war. So still today, though a willing EU member to avoid any future continental conflict, with all too real memories of bad economic outcomes, a very conservative Germany does not wholly trust the foundations and methods of modern banking.

Ironically, it is this distrust which should more positively prompt rigorous supervision of QE outcomes.

Nonetheless, as with the US and UK, the European QE programme will eventually buoy the broad economy and Britain itself will eventually gain through exports even if later than hoped and to a lesser degree given the FX effects of a devalued Euro. Conversely, the secured raft of cheaper imports, (most obviously German, French and Italian vehicles) will be welcomed by UK consumers (and able to compete against similarly placed 'in situ' products from S.Korean and Japanese manufacturers).

Here in Britain, the Chancellor of the Exchequer's 'Autumn Statement' of late 2014 presented the fact that rebalancing the books of the country across the accounting measures of Debt, Deficit and Structural Deficit would take nigh-on twice the timespan forecast back in 2010; effectively to 2018 and beyond.

This reality then gives rise to continued consideration of the economic future, what Britain may do for itself and what positive impact a resurgent Europe brings.

It is generally believed that an individual's prosperity the theoretical result of personal education and efforts combined with potency of the nation's development capability: an visionary economic agenda supported by strength of public and private finances. However, prosperity only arrives when an economy is properly functioning; the 20th and early 21st centuries replete with instances when it did not, those instances seemingly more frequent as credit was relied upon to create B2B and B2C demand instead of the power of truly tangible productivity.

The Tsunami Effect of 2008 -

As seen previously, by 2010 the Chancellor of the Exchequer believed that, with US and UK stock markets roaring through renewed animal spirits, an economic rebound to reset the negative national structural deficit, would be sooner seen than later.

This was the public face of government, but as many - including investment-auto-motives - believed, any full-scale recovery would be problematic given the previous 'tsunami shock' to the global financial system and the effect upon real world commerce, spending power and consumption.

And that a major disjuncture would appear between the fortunes of the West / Triad nations and those many others emerging as part of the New Economic Order.

Magnified by EM Strength -

As well recognised by industry, academics, politicians and the much of the public at large, the preceding four decades had seen broad swathes of the West incrementally lose traditional competitive industrial advantage to EM countries. And perhaps rightly so in Adam Smith's manner , as economies elsewhere reformed, stabilised and promoted FDI and internal growth. All that was the “BRIC”, “MINTS” and “CIVETS” success story, especially seen over the last 20 years and of special significance to western and Triad originated multinationals (like GM, VW, FIAT, Ford, Toyota, Honda etc).

During this long period western capital markets bought into the four prime stories:
1. EM B2B and B2C growth
2. web connectivity potential
3. the supposedly “safe as houses” property boom
4. the expansion of the people based 'service-culture'*
(*from sub-contracting of utility meter reading to “bundling” of 'media-solutions' to waged street hawkers for charities)

Britain's Re-Aligned 'Competencies' -

Unlike Germany, Japan, South Korea and even the USA, countries which has always recognised the great importance of physical industry to domestic and export economies, here in the UK whilst various innovation success stories have been periodically heralded (eg BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce plc and Dyson) and luxury goods (eg Dunhill, Burberry etc) grew as worldwide premium spending increased, the fact is that what was termed the “post-industrial” era had become all too real. Even if for good reasons at the time, swathes of industry were subsumed to ever deeper finance and ever broader low/mid-value service sectors to expand the wealth base of “UK plc”.

Certain lost “heavy” industrials” such as coal had been economically and environmentally displaced by nuclear and gas, whilst much “mid” level engineering (such as mass auto manufacture) shifted to more competent players and places, with 'light' industrials easily replicated at lower cost elsewhere.

Yet the fact is that whilst certain industrial sectors enabled premium pricing to off-set the heightened national cost-base (eg Rolls, Bentley, Morgan etc) they were (and arguably still are) too few and far between.

Without the right research, products, supporting services and brand identities across a broad swathe of B2B and B2C activity, the UK had inevitably become an over-costly place to manufacture what were often mid value goods without global appeal; hence the value-destruction seen during the 1980s and 1990s, and the sale of then touted “national industry” to more cost competitive foreign industry.

The Travails of UK Automotive -

In relation to the automotive industry terms much of the investment focus during the 1980s and 1990s had switched to the retailing arena of premium and differentiated foreign vehicles; a far more lucrative commercial position to that of producing increasingly lacklustre British marques of the period.

British auto-industry management during these decades stemmed from the BLMC and Austin-Rover eras, effectively enjoying the guardianship of its parent BAe plc. As previously seen with Detroit in the 1970s, very unfortunately silo-mentalities pervaded at the top, resulting from lack of in-depth commercial comprehension given its subsidised costs and losses, and the power-struggle conflicts between Engineering (oft allied to Production), the newer impetus of Marketing and the very necessary 'bean counters' of Finance. This continued even well after the 'Associates' culture had been adopted from its industrial partner Honda. Thus continually self-serving, Midlands-centric and so increasingly “out of touch” with the realities of the broader worldwide automotive market-place; its own worldwide NSCs ([inter]-national sales companies) hamstrung, cost-heavy and poorly structured.

The 1994 BMW takeover of Rover Group (directly for rebirth of Mini, rebound of Land Rover and resuscitation of MG and Rover) was less a clash of Anglo-Germanic cultures and more a clash of very different mindsets, capabilities and cash-burn. BMW recognised this ostensibly unalterable situation and wisely exited; leaving Land Rover conjoined with Jaguar under Ford's PAG empire (itself ironically run by an ex-BMW German).

Conversely, the ability to resurrect Mini, Rolls-Royce [By BMW] and Bentley [by Volkswagen] was different story given their then respective organisational sizes and massive commercial potential.

The continued demise of mass-volume “British-owned” auto-manufacturing from the mid 1970s onward then likewise sent fractures through the domestic supply-chain and inevitably, as society and families experienced the reality of “economic re-orientation”, into the quality and numbers of new entrant graduates and apprentices.

Many of these with short-termist personal goals viewing their posts as simply a seemingly “steady job” from which to earn and get quickly onto the housing ladder. A very different attitude to their peer group in Germany with greater contributional pride and critically the notion of far longer, progressive and meaningful career horizon.

[NB Ironically, at the personal level the British contingent were exactly right to have that property bias during that time, it would prove more steady than their supposed career in a flailing British and then unwanted British firm].

Hence, thereafter, the seemingly all to inevitable “lift and shift” of tooling and operational assets, with Rover 75 from Cowley/Longbridge to China*, and TVR sports-cars from Blackpool to Russia.

[NB* the only feasible business plan presented to the government of the time, with the shrunken continuation around MG and discontinuing Rover, was presented by Alchemy Partners private equity firm; John Moulton seeking to mimic the brand renaissance story. So demonstrating how the oft berated world of private equity and its often unkind reputation for asset stripping, sees long term value, whilst management itself takes short-term advantage. Today MG languishes, when it could have become a truly valuable 'national asset'].

The Counter-Play for UK Automotive -

Today nearing 2015 such stories of a decade ago are themselves in the long distant past, yet the effects of this dissemination and fragmentation of such “systems-rich” mass-manufacture and “creativity-rich” niche manufacture has had a direct effect upon UK plc's own engineering capabilities; given that its heartland was shrunk and disseminated elsewhere.

Of course the counter argument about the UK's 'post-industrialisation' is that this is in fact a complete misnomer.

The socio-economic role of the once wholly British-owned companies taken-over by blue-chip foreign interests by way of their 'transplant' factories (eg. Nissan in Sunderland, Toyota in Derbyshire and Honda in Wiltshire). And moreover, associated instances where foreign players recognise the innate talent of British engineers such as the later development of Nissan's own development centre “N-TEC” in Bedfordshire (as similarly proclaimed by badges on certain Sunderland-made models).

And likewise, the theoretical loss of Rover Group, and resultant sale of its brands to Germany (Mini) China (Rover-MG) and America and onto India (Jaguar - Land Rover) [like Rolls and Bentley] is argued as the rebirth of these 'uniquely' British marques through the availability of substantial foreign funding. This is indeed hard to refute, given the expansion plans previously cited and then delivered at Cowley, (tho' not so at Longbridge), Solihull, Halewood, Castle Bromwich, and onto Ryton (itself a 'dead' site since Peugeot exited in the 1990s) aswell as of course new foreign sites in China and Brazil.

Beyond this, like N-TEC, is the proven FDI investment into important UK engineering centres such as Gaydon in Warwickshire and Whitely, Coventry.

Warning Signs Ahead -

None of this can be refuted, and as seen the impact of such FDI has been more than merely a lifeline for local economies, together with far grander holding company plans to grow globally the engineering centres are themselves presently central hubs to the spokes of worldwide manufacturing.

However, as is inevitably the case, and as seen by the most progressive volume manufacturers, those critical development hubs of today will need to be replicated in major export and so new manufacturing regions, as part of the implicit/explicit promise made by parent companies regards the broad inter-national EM development agenda.

This then means that in 10-20 years time, these present jewels in the crown of UK engineering prowess will have been replicated elsewhere. In turn, re-creating the kind of intra-company competitiveness seen between Dunton and Cologne vehicle development centres within the Ford empire during the 1960s. As with competing plants, this necessary internal competition is believed to assist overall corporate value creation and so share-holder value and new share-holder interest, and leaves the losing development centre to re-engineer itself within the firm as a re-invented internal cost-centre, or possibly as an externally facing business unit seeking outside revenue, and at worst divested as an under-performing asset to another ambitious – presumably cost capable - firm.

Continued Re-Alignment -
Technology Strategy Board

As seen, the British motor industry had indeed been under-going an immense re-structuring up to the turn of the new 21st century. Home-grown, home-owned responsibility for mass manufacture had been both substituted by, and divested to, better positioned, more globally competitive foreign firms.

However, for all the talk and impact of the “service economy”, and central role of financial services specifically, it was also well recognised that Britain must re-expand and possibly re-invent its high-value manufacturing and service activities.

Though unstated, so as to serve itself in a properly hedged manner; both 'inwardly' on the domestic front (if EM protectionism came to pass) and internationally 'outward' (continuing the historical convention for global trade).

To this end, by the mid 2000s government, industry and investment communities had recognised the need to identify, corroborate and establish a High Value Manufacturing vision / manifesto so as to guide policy formation, which in turn should support investment rationale.

The Technical Strategy Board was created to undertake this task, ostensibly from 2007 onwards, with the creation of a technical roadmap.

With £400m in its central budget, plus external funds, it sought to match technical disciplines in which the UK has capability to markets (sectorial and geographic) with high growth potential.

The topics it recognised as prime routes forward are seen below (with focal regions):

- Transport Systems (Milton Keynes)
- High Value Manufacturing (Strathclyde, Wilton, Rotheram, Ansty, Coventry, Bristol)
- Satellite Applications (Harwell)
- Offshore Renewable Energy (Glasgow)
- Connected Digital Economy (London)
- Future Cities (London)
- Bio-Sciences (London)
With latter addition of:
- Advanced Materials (tbc)
Critical amongst these distinct but inter-connected areas is the need to expand physical research and development bases across various sectors so as to establish continual, progressive credibility.

The Automotive sector obviously has a inter-relationships with broad 'Transport Systems' given its central standing within debate regards private vs public modes; with 'Satellite Applications' given its position as promoter and beneficiary of intelligently co-ordinated mass movement; with 'Connected Digital Economy' given the much increased IT content of vehicles and of course 'Renewable Energy' given the need to combine fossil and renewables usage.

However, more obvious is the UK Automotive sector's position within the broad sphere of “High Value Manufacturing” and “Advanced Materials”. This very obviously demonstrated to date by the technological progress made within of a wide spectrum of high-priced vehicle types designed, developed and produced in the country. Herein there is a mutually rewarding relationship between sector incumbents whereby the fruits of research trickles both downward from blue-chip companies into SMEs (eg powertrain and electronics) and upward from small enterprises into blue-chip applications (eg carbon-fibre structures). Equally, important roles undertaken by respective supply chains, distribution channels, and after-sales support networks.

With an intention to create greater dynamism amongst small, medium and large firms, so ultimately leading to commercially credible HVM technology applications, the Technical Strategy Board's role was and is to identify the proponents of plausible technical development work.

It has noted that what it terms a 'Valley of Death' has historically been the downfall of new technologies. This effectively the scale-up development phase which follows the initial phase of concept origination / proof / small scale manufacture, and large-scale manufacturing maturity offering cost-reduction and quality consistency, and so attractiveness to blue-chip regional and global firms.

The TSB's primary aim then is to support identified technologies through this problematic second development phase.

Achieved through allocation of what is ostensibly government funding (from Department for Transport, Business Innovation and Skills and elsewhere) funnelled through a (seemingly independent) non-departmental public body (NDPB).

Progress to date by the Technical Strategy Board – now renamed InnovateUK ( – can be viewed on its website. (TSB/InnovateUK is headquartered in Swindon, renowned for its railway engineering history).

One such 'B' road vitally inter-connected to the primary 'A' road topics listed above, is that of the “Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform”; itself reportedly consisting of 15 competitions, 190 projects, 500 partnerships and additionally funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Another 'B' road is the 2015-20 Ultra Low Emission Vehicle programme (ULEV) which seeks to provide: £100m for broad research, over £200m for a 'plug-in' car grant (EV/PHEV), £32m for rapid charging schemes, £35m scheme for flagship cities, £31m for light commercial vehicles, £30m for buses, £20m for taxis, £4m for heavy good vehicles fuelled by gas (CNG/LNG).

Amongst the plethora of content and publications The 2012-15 “HVM” Strategy presentation. This states how the TSB has chosen to refine its investment choices by utilising a criteria of 22 manufacturing competencies as defined by a preceding study viewing the “Manufacturing Landscape”, these grouped around “5 Key Themes”, and the use of an “HVM Catapult” scheme so as to “provide the cutting-edge equipment and skills needed to commercialise world-class technologies”. And various 'Knowledge Networks' created to enable communication and knowledge transfer. The deployment of “HVM” stretches from the first stages of Research and Development, all the way through the Value Chain to the point of a product's ecologically improved disposal and recycling.

The 5 Key Themes include:
1. Aligning technologies against scarcity of energy and commodities
2. Creation of more effective and efficient manufacturing systems
3. Innovative products gained via integration of materials, coatings. Electronics with other technologies
4. Creation of new, agile, cost-effective manufacturing processes
5. The above deployed via new business models.

The Opportunities For Business include:

A) Resource Efficiency:
- Energy generation, storage, management and security
- Design and manufacture for sustainability and thru' life
- Design and manufacture of lightweight vehicles, structures and devices
- Bio-tech, biological and synthetic biology processing

B) Manufacturing Systems:
- Process engineering capability across food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals
- Design and manufacture for small scale and miniaturisation
- Systems modelling and integrated design / simulation
- Automation, mechanisation and human-machine interface
- “Plug and play” manufacturing
- Novel mechanical conversion processes for scale, economy and efficiency
- Understanding, designing and manufacturing formulated products

C) Materials Integration:
- Smart, hybrid and multiple materials
- Intelligent systems and embedded electronics
- Development and application of advance coatings

D) Manufacturing Process:
- Flexible, adaptive manufacture
- Extrapolation of 'Simultaneous Engineering' methods
- Additive manufacture (layering surfaces and conjoining)
- Net and near net shape manufacture (elimination of “finishing” steps)

E) Business Models:
- Managing fragmented value chains to support 'HVM'
- Building new 'HVM' orientated business models
- Developing and retaining skills for 'HVM'
- Managing risk and resilience to support 'HVM'

As stated, but worth re-stating, the 'Catapult' monies is to be directed to the phase between “proof of concept” and “commercial demonstration”.

With half the overall budget allocated to Catapult, the criteria deployed will undoubtedly provide advancement impetus to those chosen firms which otherwise would have remained within the 'Death Valley' development conundrum.

Strategic Deployment of 'High Value' Products, IPR and Identity -

Of course the story of a previously relatively high (even if now slightly declined) UK cost-base versus mass manufacturing upon the global stage is well recognised, from textiles to vehicles and far beyond.

Hence the past few decades have seen greater attention by the likes of the CBI toward alternative business models. Those of 'intermediate scale' and 'niche scale' production of higher value items relative to a specific sector and its relative regional and global TIV (total industry volume).

This so across the breadth of industry, from yesteryear crafts such as hand-woven and authenticated Scottish island “Harris Tweed” to the near clinical build ethos rarefied vehicles such as those offered by Aston Martin Lagonda of Warwickshire, McLaren Automotive of Surrey, with the likes of the inimitable Morgan Motors of Worcestershire, with its renewed 'nouvelle-retro' product strategy / brand philosophy, seeking to entwine the crafted and the precise.

Furthermore, just as the UK became ever more reliant on its 'creative industries' - such as initially music, “above” and “below the line” advertising, television and cinema production, theatre production, information technology, worldwideweb development and later cyber-associated products such as video games and smart-phone 'apps' - so firms in other sectors holding what they consider proprietry origination strengths, became ever more entranced with the idea of IPR (intellectual property rights). This mentality the progressive step from the century-old Victorian patenting process, and prompted in the 1960s onward by Defence and Pharmaceutical sectors, thereafter applied by those with the financial means.

Of course today, the end result is that not only is the 'service-product' itself a saleable entity at home or abroad, but that very rights to the replication of such “works” (exacting and familiar) would become saleable in their own manner. Effectively the intellectualised extension of yesteryear's replicability via product licensing.

Whilst a norm in the media-sphere, and a natural expansion of the IT business model (by the likes of ARM Holdings plc), this then has been explored within UK manufacturing. And deemed successful when Gordon Murray Design in Surrey sold the IPR rights of its T-series city-car and the associated i-stream production process to Yamaha.

[NB The Japanese firm taking on the moniker 'MOTIV.e' to organically extend its own range beyond motorcycles and continue its interests in 'Mega-city' directed personal transportation].

Now looking at identity extrapolation...

As is well recognised and re-played, highly regarded brands provide for the possibility of brand extension into both directly symbiotic activities, as well as possibly more remote areas, much depending upon brand perception and persona; what is general named 'brand stretch'.

A prime automotive example that of Aston Martin, with its involvement and offerings having recently spanned clothing, specific household artefacts, artwork etc, to varying degrees of success. Similarly, the concept of mutually rewarding 'cross-branding' grew in commercial appeal for some companies through the 1990s and 2000s, as demonstrated by the special edition Range-Rovers furnished by the traditionalist country pursuits firm Holland and Holland.

Additionally, Britain continues to progress the idea of (what investment-auto-motives terms as) 'Veneer Branding'. The idea being that a business nameplate grows such a level of goodwill that it can be overlaid as marketing veneer upon the operations of another service provider or manufacturer; with ideally no loss of 'brand equity'.

This then very much in the footsteps of once trail-blazing Virgin Group, having through Virgin Atlantic revolutionised the customer service standards of the airline industry, thereafter deploying the brand across other sectors, from re-enhancing its music retail prominence to broader holiday provision and onto a wide arena including: financial services, transport, healthcare, food, drink, media and telecoms; now reported as over 400 individual business interests worldwide. Virgin Group effectively a venture capital body which seeks out new business possibilities and partners.

Others have sought to mimic this ambitious identity driven commercial stance, with “no-frills” Easy Group best known in seeking to replicate the model of replication; from initially a very hands-on operational approach to latterly distinctly hands-off.

The UK's outwardly visible 21st Industrial-Services Model essentially:
1. 'High Value' Products
2. 'High Value' Associated Services
3. IPR Sale and Lease
4. 'High Value' Brand Extensions and Tie-Ins
5. 'High value' Brand Identity 'Veneers'.

[NB with as seen the Technical Strategy Board seeking to broaden the UK's industrial-service horizon, with new visions for often publicly invisible Tier 1 and 2 SME firms].

Renaissance Meets Revolution -

Previous decades have witnessed both a renaissance of previously declined great British marques (most high profile thanks to foreign investment), and realisation that with a loss of competitive advantage to fellow AM countries and newer EM nations, an effort to effectively 're-engineer' internal core competencies toward innovative solutions; both in physical production, service provision (the Motorsport arena especially productive) and increasing recognition of the role IPR can play.

Yet whilst the renaissance of grand motoring marques was effectively an expected strategic course for strong premium foreign firms - to add corporate kudos, increase per unit margins, buoy and so overall profit levels and gain the goodwill of boosted local and national economies - it is the realm of 'revolution' through innovation that is a far harder formulae to conjure.

Unlike the somewhat formulaic rebirth of a grande marque, product and service innovation innovation steps into partly or wholly new realms of the unknown. Whereas renaissance is a case of “build it and they will come”, innovation requires far subtler appreciation of often far broader and opaque influences, from Mega-trends to in-direct / substitutional competitor reaction.

Re-invented and / or wholly new product and service concepts with aligned new business models are far riskier propositions.

On the product front, this was the experience of Daimler with its original SmartCar. Whilst on the service front, Peugeot's recognition is that its 'Mu' multi-vehicle rental system for city dwellers will take years to snowball and gain critical mass; yet it is willing to support the venture, from highly publicised French launch to quiet 'tick-over' during its corporate restructure.

Historically of course innovation breakthroughs, adaptations and advancements have been central to the domestic and export economy of the UK. From Newcomen and Watt steam engines, to Trevithic's marriage of steam and rail for railway locomotion, to the myriad of trade and consumer items displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition, to Marconi's telegraph, to Whittle's jet engine, to Crick-Watson-Wilkins' discovery of DNA, and most recently Berners-Lee with the worldwideweb.

Yet it is stated time and time again whilst exemplary at invention and innovation Britain fails to commercialise its breakthroughs, whilst its prolific American cousin seizes and moulds every opportunity.

There are no doubt frustrated seniors within technical communities who believe that maintaining much of the present status quo will forever be the real agenda inside the seemingly pro-active policy-thinking of UK plc. Innovators invariably believe that the over-riding mindset of the British Establishment (ie The City at al) is centrally interested in the financial gained from trading the global and domestic “macro tides”, from FX rates to commodities to event-driven reactions etc.

[NB One current probable example being the play on cheap (fossil derived) oil: with lowly valued well placed oil majors vs potential for biased or dedicated refiners vs expanded demand elasticity for large pick-up trucks in the US vs continued EM demand for low-tech domestic HGVs].

Such arguments by innovators have always been with us. And if viewed by innovators as a true barrier to the adoption of innovation. Perhaps then better that 'reality' should be either integrated into their strategic thinking, so circumnavigated by way of a “better mousetrap” (ie evolutional). Or direct specific innovation toward target countries which are themselves in need of specific breakthrough technological innovation.

[NB Herein a useful case-study is the pan-African adoption of mobile phones and mobile payment systems (eg M-Pesa) as part of the required micro-financing initiative to circulate and create African wealth. Ironically, first recognition of the need and possibilities for such a system came from the UK's DFID (Department For International Development), thus highlighting the proven worth of investigating how technology can overlay evolving cultural norms; and so the critical need for understanding as to how innovation should be directed to 'flow' within a cultural context].

The fact is that the UK very probably needs greater macro-level “joined-up thinking” of micro-level firms and projects – via much improved technology and development planning – not simply in the minds of the well connected City and Whitehall, but in the minds of innovators themselves.

Looking Forward -

At the national level, as per the Renaissance and Revolution story itself, the previous frustrating hiatus enforced upon MG by its Chinese owners, and its arguably sub-optimal return in hatchback guise - itself undermining the domestic brand story, previously played-out with RV8 and MG-F in previous re-births - is at least in partly off-set by the endeavours of the likes of Gordon Murray and the very strategically, long-term attuned desire to have the UK play a role as prime originator future global personal mobility.

Such new era 21st century UK business models then bode well, at least from surface inspection, for a world of opportunity as the power of Advanced Engineering, High Value Manufacturing and High Value Associative Services meet the might of new product concepts possibly over-laid by the umbrella of meaningful brands. So as to meet the challenges of both the New Economic Order, with ambitious BRICs vs rebound West, and the human needs, wants and desires therein.

The requirement from 2015 onward is to properly underpin more renaissance stories, and critically improved visioneering to 'join-up the dots' of global socio-economic challenges, and to mould and re-mould compelling business stories for end-users.

Only this will draw investor interests.

And lastly, all the while creating a more conducive business atmosphere – within the ideal of “Moral Capitalism” - by which to advance.

To Follow -

Part 3 of this web-log seeks to simplistically highlight the key aspects behind such a 'renaissance and revolution' story for UK enterprise.

Spotlighting the virtues of “Business Nounce” and pragmatic “Can-Do Enthusiasm” tied together with the UK's apparent competitive advantages across 'Multi-Aspect Advanced Engineering' and the deployment of a creative juxtaposition whereby 3D Precision meets 'Arts + Crafts'.