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6 minute read

10 Questions With – Chris Greenough, Commercial Director, Salop Design

1 – If you were prime minister, what would be the first thing you would change or improve for manufacturers?

I would make sure that there is a focus in schools, that engages with youngsters at a very early age, to teach them business basics and show them what manufacturing is. There is a perception that manufacturing is a second career choice for those who do not do well at education, this is wrong. Manufacturing is a vibrant and exciting career choice, and one that suits those who do well through a vocational learning route, but who are also forward thinking, logical and have a good knowledge of how and why thing are made.

2 – What’s one thing that you have implemented in your business would you recommend other manufacturers embrace and implement?

There is a lot of talk on productivity and automation for UK business and certainly for SME’s, but this push to become more efficient is something that for us is a given. What I see as equally important, and will become more important as we get further into the Brexit negotiations, is looking to other manufacturers and working together. Whether that be through local Chamber of commerce groups, or membership organisations, manufacturers need to look to their peers to pull together as a combined sector. We have managed to do this at Salop Design, and through our social media push we are now involved across the sector and region to help make sure that UK manufacturing has a voice that is loud, clear and heard. So I would urge UK manufacturers to look to working together across sectors and regions to pormote the made in Britain brand.

3 – How do you think the manufacturing community collectively, can continue to engage with young people to develop their interest in a career in manufacturing?

What we need to do both as a whole, but also driven through with government policy and support, is make sure we show youngsters the opportunities that exist within UK manufacturing. Since the recession in 2009, there has been a resurgence in manufacturing and the processes and products are very different from those that were produced then. We need to make sure that teachers, pupils and indeed parents, are shown and understand how manufacturing has moved on. And this can only be done by helping business engage with schools, colleges and local authorities to engage and inform. We are on the verge of Industry 4.0, the Internet Of Things, and this is being billed as the next industrial revolution. Have we engaged enough to make sure all are informed of this? We need to make sure we are training the next generation on subjects and theories that will help them secure roles that will exist when there learning finishes

4 – What drove you to pursue a career in manufacturing and how old were you?

I came into manufacturing over twenty years ago, after leaving school and spending a couple of years working at various jobs, I then came into a local engineering company. There was, through hard work and enthusiasm, the chance to progress. And this is a key mention to get through to the next generation of engineers and manufacturers. This sector has a fantastic array of opportunities for those who are willing to work hard and learn, there is nothing that you cannot achieve if you put your mind to it

5 – If you hadn’t embarked on a career in manufacturing, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would have continued working through different jobs, and would I am sure have ended up working in radio or television. I have a passion for manufacturing and business, but also for engaging with and enthusing and encouraging people to achieve the best in their field. I would say to anyone, try to find something that you enjoy, and make sure that everyday you give all you have to make this enjoyment continue, and this will lead to rewards.

6 – If you could choose, what would you like your legacy to be once you retire?

I would like to think that the work I have done has helped to make manufacturing and engineering a higher profile career choice for the next generation. I have seen the changes in manufacturing, and continue to be engaged and excited about the future. This sector is forward looking, innovative and above all how we can really grow the UK economy. I would hope that we can get all schools talking about, and teaching STEM subjects and helping push a knowledge of business, in all it’s forms. How to think commercially is something that schools and colleges should promote, and how to make sure we have the next inventors and engineers ready to make the most of Industry 4.0.

7 – What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Enjoy what you do. If you do not have some form of enjoyment in what you do, if there is no other reward than monetary, then the motivation and enthusiasm will not last for ever. There are many times in your working and daily life that make you thing of changing and looking to new directions, but if you have enjoyment and engagement within your role at work, it makes getting up, going to work, and the relaxation at the end of the day so much better.

8 – Any wise words, advice or tips for someone looking to pursue a career in manufacturing?

Look for the part of manufacturing that suits you, your interest and your skill set. Make sure you investigate, read up on and learn about all manufacturing, the sector encompasses and wide range of jobs, industries and processes. Whether you went to design, make, test or work with great products, manufacturing has a role to suit you. Work hard, and make sure you learn. Ask questions and make sure you talk to those who have experience in the role. Manufacturers are happy to share knowledge and help educate the next generation, as we all want to see manufacturing continue to thrive.

9 – How do you see smart technology (IoT & Industry 4.0) affecting the long-term growth of UK manufacturing?

This truly is the next industrial revolution, and working in Shropshire where the first industrial revolution happened, it is a really exciting time in manufacturing. Productivity and looking for both new ways of working and processes, is the way we can get ahead of the competition, and continue to be world beaters. We need to make sure that all stakeholders are engaged, education, business and government. There needs to be a big push to engage with SME’s, so that they are informed and engaged with the detail, as 99% of companies are SME status and this is where the biggest capacity for manufacturing can come from.

10 – What is your view on post Brexit Britain – positive, negative or indifferent and why?

POSITIVE. With the Government formally starting the Brexit process, I am confident that we will end up with a brighter, better United Kingdom. There are opportunities to look to the future and look to trade partners outside the EU region. There are many countries that look to the UK and our product as world class, and the made in Britain brand is something that we can build upon. There are uncertain times ahead, but as a manufacturer in Shropshire, I will continue to be optimistic and look to support this country. We need to unite behind the Prime Minister, and make sure the rest of the World knows that Britain is open for business. Let’s look to our strengths, which is a strong manufacturing base, and with further investment in the steel industry, the supply chain and skills provision, we can continue to push the UK economy to bigger and better things.

Chris Greenough, Commercial Director of Salop Design & Engineering / Picture: Salop


10 Questions With… is a regular feature where we put a variety of quick fire questions to manufacturing leaders and role models to get to know the people behind manufacturing success in the UK.

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