Manufacturing’s Starring Economic Contribution Promoted At BCU Sponsored Event

Manufacturing’s Starring Economic Contribution Promoted At BCU Sponsored Event With Economist Vicky Pryce And Professor Michael Beverland, University Of Bath And Beverley Nielsen, Birmingham City University


Manufacturing has a Cinderella complex but new figures reveal its starring role, accounting for a 53% comparative contribution to the Midlands economy, and delivering a 30% comparative contribution to the UK as a whole, according to new figures compiled by West Midlands Economic Forum for Birmingham City University.

Three co-authors of an eagerly anticipated new book, ‘Redesigning Manufacturing,’ trail the highlights of their findings at the Tory Party Conference, Monday 29th September 2014, at an event being hosted by Professor Cliff Allan, Vice Chancellor, Birmingham City University.

Professor Michael Beverland, School of Management, University of Bath, Vicky Pryce, renowned economist, and Beverley Nielsen, businesswoman and Director Corporate Affairs at Birmingham City University, highlight the urgent need for a re-evaluation of the central importance of manufacturing in creating a culture that values making, moving away from speaking about manufacturing using the language of decline, towards greater celebration of its thriving economic role and vital achievements.

Michael BeverlandProfessor Beverland will consider the persistently poor image and reputation of manufacturing, and how manufacturing is being reformed in light of current trends around collaborative models, technology, knowledge and data transfer and the need for greater applied creativity alongside the current STEM prioritisation.



Vicky PriceVicky Pryce will review the economic trends, highlighting the priority contribution made by the sector alongside the importance of design in economic terms in developing new market opportunities, products and services and as a means of linking idea generation to markets and user need, rather than through a pure focus on science and technology-driven innovation.



Beverley NielsenBeverley Nielsen will discuss some of the highlights from her review of 30 Midlands manufacturing businesses of all sizes alongside the key challenges of the manufacturing ecosystem in the UK and the Midlands, looking at the central role of our universities in terms of key requirements around knowledge generation, transfer and our ability to produce an effective talent pipeline, whilst also considering the impacts of complexity and fragmentation on manufacturing companies. Whilst business itself welcomes government’s Industrial strategy they are keen to see a more inclusive approach to all manufacturing, low value and high value added and especially those parts not currently included within the 11 identified growth sectors.

Manufacturing is recognised for employing 2.6m, directly contributing 11% of UK GVA in 2011, accounting for £140bn, delivering over half UK exports and with high levels of innovation and productivity, compared to the contribution by financial services requiring £1.3 trillion of support during the financial crisis, delivering £116bn GVA and employing 1m.

By taking into account direct production activities – construction, mining, agricultural production and manufacturing – both in the UK and the East and West Midlands, and making informed assumptions about the degree of dependency within the services sub sectors, this research has weighted each sub sector according to their degree of dependency on manufacturing.

The data prepared by the West Midlands Economic Forum for Birmingham City University, suggests that the comparative contribution of production to UK GDP has remained at 30% or over during the years 2006-2011, moving from an estimated 34% in 2006 to 30% in 2011.

For the Midlands the contribution has consistently remained over 50%, with manufacturing accounting for a 56% comparative contribution to GVA in 2006 and 53% in 2011.

Further analysis of the comparative impact of sector product spend shows that manufacturing contributes an additional 1.76 for every pound spent, second only after agriculture at 1.80 and compared with 1.50 for IT and 1.58 for finance.

Beverley Nielsen, Director Corporate Affairs, Birmingham City University, said, “For too long manufacturing has been seen as the poor cousin of the service sector. Our book shows that much of the service sector depends on manufacturing for its well being.

“If manufacturing does not do well, a great deal else suffers – employment and regional wage levels, balance of payments, innovative capacity and productivity. Our latest research emphasizes this, and attempts to build a framework enabling greater insights into the contribution of this sector, proposing this for further evaluation and discussion and building on earlier findings.”

Paul Forrest, Head of Research, WMEF, said, “Our initial examination of the relationship between the production and services sector suggests that the role of manufacturing is still much greater than widely perceived. Indeed it is apparent that there is a high degree of integration between manufacturing and specific service sectors, such as design, prototype testing, marketing, logistics and distribution, that significantly enhances value-added creation. In the Midlands, this dynamic relationship is enhanced by the preponderance of SMEs that commercially collaborate to manufacture technologically innovative precision-based goods, has facilitated the growth of advanced manufacturing clusters in the region, and offers the potential for robust sustained growth.”


Professor Michael Beverland: Michael Beverland is Professor of Brand Management in the School of Management, University of Bath. His previous book, Building Brand Authenticity, identified how the art of making was central to brand longevity. His research focuses on the relationships between branding, design, manufacturing, and firm competitiveness.

Vicky Pryce: Economist and commentator, Vicky Pryce, is currently chief economic adviser with the consulting firm CEBR. She was previously Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, director general for Economics at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and joint head of the UK Government Economics Service. Before that she was partner and Chief Economist at KPMG. She has held a number of academic posts, is on the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and on the BIS panel for Monitoring the Economy, on the City AM’s shadow monetary policy committee and on the Advisory Board of the central banking think-tank OMFIF. She co-founded GoodCorporation,set up to promote corporate social responsibility and in 2010-11 became the first female master for the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants. She is the author of ‘A Fourth generation Industrial Strategy’ (CentreForum, 2012), co-author of ‘Restarting Britain’ (Design Commission, 2011) and co-editor of ‘Green Business, Green values and Sustainability (Routledge, 2011). Her updated paperback edition of her book ‘Greekonomics’ on the Eurozone crisis was published by Biteback Publishing in the autumn of 2013. Vicky has been a regular visitor to Birmingham City University to speak on manufacturing, design and competitiveness, having served as member of Design Commission and Co-Chair of first enquiry into Design Education.

Beverley Nielsen: Director Corporate Affairs BCU. Formerly MD, Fired Earth and Group Director AGA Rangemaster plc manufacturing iconic brands from the Midlands, including AGA, Rayburn, Rangemaster amongst others; Regional Director CBI and CE Heart of England Tourist Board. Involved as director of various businesses today, including as non exec Chairman, Malvern Outdoor Elements, non exec director Aston Reinvestment Trust, ART, and representative on the Design Council Advisory Board. At the 2012 Conservative Party Conference held in Birmingham Beverley launched a survey of 24 companies from all sectors, in her report, ‘Looking for Growth’, suggesting that companies investing in design and innovation skills were outperforming the economy very significantly during the recession, with 50% taking on new people at that time, and exporting on average over 70% of turnover. 96% of businesses felt it was essential for Birmingham and the Midlands to build its reputation for design and innovation.

Research Contributor, Paul Forrest, Economist: The West Midlands Economic Forum (WMEF) is a neutral, independent forum, bringing together representatives of the public, private and voluntary sectors to evaluate real trends in the local economy. He is director, Sovereign Wealth Focus (SWF), an independent company providing research and analysis of the various forms in which sovereign wealth and national reserve funds are structured and managed.