23 May, 2022

Boardroom Report - Challenges and opportunities

11 February, 2021

not expect this to be without financial impact. EU legislation and directives are also core to the trade association and as we move into the post EU era. It will be critically important to ensure members and users are well-informed of any changes and potential divergence in this important area.”

Jones adds that as well as the day-to-day standards development work, BCAS is working closely with BSI to ensure that our industry key players are well-represented at this important crossroad. “The Society is a ‘go-to’ service for standards and legislation interpretation in our sector and this new era brings with it challenges that we are ideally placed to support,” she says. “Being a member of a trade association, our members are well-placed to ensure they have the information and a source of reference and, in conjunction with BEIS, they have acknowledged the role trade associations have played in preparing their members for the transition.”

Pavlov comments that Atlas Copco Compressors UK is one of the leading providers of machinery and services to the UK manufacturing sector, with factories and distribution centre located in Belgium and Italy. “Therefore, we very much welcomed the free trade deal announced in the last days of 2020,” he says. “Since all of our products (compressors, blowers, dryers etc.) qualify for EU preferential origin we are not paying import duties, except for some spare parts sourced from outside of the EU. This is very good for our customers and for ourselves. We are also very happy to say that for our import flows we are experiencing no delays at all in European and UK ports and airfreight hubs, which is also as a result of our thorough preparation to make sure that all paperwork was correct from day one.”

Re-shoring

Some level of ‘re-shoring’ – for example, relocating production plants from Asia back to Europe or the US – has taken place. Neil Anderton, hydraulics and industrial director, Slack & Parr, explains that Slack & Parr has had a different view on the topic of re-shoring for some time. “While we did open our own workshop in China back in 2005, this was mainly for service and support,” he says. “Despite many of our peers and competitors moving out to supposed low-cost areas of the world such as China, Vietnam, Eastern Europe etc, we had always felt the potential negatives largely cancelled out the potential positives. We had spent a lot of time analysing and debating the best way forward, and in the middle of 2019 started work on our brand new, 75,000 sq ft factory right next door to our existing one in the heart of the midlands. For us, the fact we have been a UK engineering company for over 100 years is very important to us and our customers. Also, the skillset and quality of the local workforce is absolutely key to our business and how it performs. The fact that there is a lot of re-shoring happening now feels like vindication of the recent decisions we have made.”

Market climate

What are our commentators’ perceptions regarding market/economic improvements within the fluid power and related technology sectors over the past year or so? Jones makes the point that energy concerns continue to dominate the drive for ever-greater efficiency in compressed air systems. “For example, the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy for meeting the UK’s legally binding carbon commitments aims to help businesses decarbonise,” she explains. “Part of the Strategy includes the ‘Industrial Decarbonisation and Energy Efficiency Roadmap Action Plan’. The action plan will seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more energy efficient




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