The Manufacturing Networking Lunch: Businesses must be agile in order to succeed

(L-R): Simon White, Richard Brown, Aatin Anadkat & Paul Wood

Manufacturers must be agile in order to succeed as the country emerges from the pandemic – that was the message at’s Manufacturing Networking Lunch on 12 May.

An expert panel led by Dr Richard Brown, principal consultant at event sponsors Finch Consulting, provided a host of valuable insights into the challenges faced by manufacturers and the supply chain as the sector looks to move on from the double-whammy of Brexit and Covid-19.

Brown, Simon White (Eversheds Sutherland), Aatin Anadkat BEM (Positive Kitchen + Co.) and Paul Wood (Finch Consulting) agreed that although significant challenges lie ahead, there are opportunities to be grasped if manufacturers can maximise their assets, evolve and adapt to the shifting economic landscape.

Brown said: “There is a massive skills gap in the sector, but that presents an opportunity to reskill people. It’s an employees’ world now. Manufacturers need to focus on their assets – and your people are often your greatest asset.”

Addressing whether firms can achieve net zero without ramping up costs, Brown said: “Finding the right balance between sustainability and profit is key for manufacturers.

“I thought we’d see an upturn in environmental auditing work, but unfortunately – at least at the moment – it seems that sustainability is for those who can afford it. We need to make sustainability cheaper if the sector is to move further in that direction.”

The panel agreed that while Brexit has posed a number of problems for the supply chain, manufacturers that diversify and stay on their toes will be most likely to succeed.

Brown said: “Looking ahead, there are a lot of unforeseen factors.

“Manufacturers are facing rising energy costs and labour shortages. Agile companies will be the ones that thrive. They will tweak their businesses to address future markets. They should look at areas of their business where they didn’t suffer losses and focus on them.”

Wrapping up the discussion, the panel argued that manufacturers in the East Midlands have as good a chance as any to emerge thriving from the pandemic. The region is blessed with a wealth of industry expertise, they said – but businesses need to shout louder about how good they are.


Dr Richard Brown, principal consultant, Finch Consulting

Paul Wood, senior consultant, Finch Consulting

Simon White, legal director, Eversheds Sutherland

Aatin Anadkat BEM, co-founder, Positive Kitchen + Co

With thanks to sponsors Finch Consulting and our hosts Baresca.