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Give the sector an incentive to change

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Give the sector an incentive to changeOn 4 Dec 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. UK manufacturing needs more than words of encouragement toup its productivity. It needs an action plan from employers and Government tohelp it embrace new ways of working Gordon Brown claims he wants to do more to recognise “the vitalcontribution of modern manufacturing to exports, innovation and our greatregions”. The results of a productivity survey by the Engineering Employers’Federation suggest there are plenty of issues the Chancellor can get his teethinto – highlighting a widening productivity gap between manufacturing in the UKand the US. The tough climate manufacturers have faced in recent years has put greateremphasis on the need to boost productivity and competitiveness. Both employersand the Government need to do more and learn from our American cousins. One possible solution, as demonstrated by US firms, is lean manufacturing.US-owned firms in the UK are having greater success with lean manufacturingthan UK-owned firms because they are using it more intensely. But a largeproportion of British firms have not ventured into lean manufacturing at all. The EEF is seeking to work in partnership with the DTI to tackle the lack ofawareness of the lean manufacturing model, and improve lean skills levelsacross the sector workforce. Economic research of the US experience in the 1990s provides convincingevidence that new work practices have also been a contributing factor toproductivity growth in manufacturing. According to the EEF survey, UK manufacturers are embracing new practices.Many are using output monitoring, individual performance appraisals, employeeinvolvement schemes, suggestion schemes and total quality processes. However,incentive or profit-based pay is not being used as widely as in US companies. In the UK, resistance to change is by far the biggest barrier to their takeup. This reflects the attitude of both managers and employees and shows aconcerted effort is needed to make companies more receptive to change. Attracting the right people is also a problem for the sector. UKmanufacturers try to get around the issue by focusing on offering good basicsalaries. However, these companies could learn from the example of US-ownedfirms in the UK which are benefiting from offering employees additionalbenefits, such as work-life balance, bonuses, training and personaldevelopment. But beyond this, the market is not delivering enough people with the rightskills. The Government must concentrate on addressing the shortfall in modernapprenticeships and re-develop the Individual Learning Accounts for training inthe workplace. More generally, under-investment in manufacturing has been damaging. Recentdata from National Statistics shows things are getting worse, withmanufacturing investment falling at the sharpest rate on record in the thirdquarter. Lack of orders, uncertainty over future demand and the exchange ratehave all undermined current and future profitability. If increased manufacturing productivity is a serious economic goal for theGovernment, it must try to break the long-term trend of under-investment in thesector and offer more incentives to help firms invest. This must include anR&D tax credit for larger firms in order to stimulate innovation. Boosting manufacturing productivity requires a partnership betweengovernment and employers. If Gordon Brown is serious about doing more formanufacturing in this country then it is time he matched sound words with firmactions. By Dougie Peedle, deputy chief economist of the Engineering Employers’Federation Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Planting Fields Breaks Ground on Sensory Garden

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Officials held a ground breaking ceremony for a new sensory garden at the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay on Thursday.Officials broke ground Thursday novel sensory garden at the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park that will be center of a new entrance pavilion under construction at the Oyster Bay orchard.Sensory gardens are designed to enhance the park-going experience, leave behind background noise and connect with visitors, including people with disabilities that may not normally get to fully enjoy interacting with nature.“We want people to smell the roses, literally,” said Peter Tilles, trustee of nonprofit Planting Fields Foundation dedicated to preserving and enhancing the arboretum in collaboration with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “This will be a place for people to relax, contemplate, to feel and touch.”The park, which is celebrating its centennial, is set on the 409-acre former Gold Coast estate of the late industrialist William Robertson Coe.Tilles helped raised nearly $1 million for the project, which he said has been in the works for nine years. The goal is to raise $1.3 million to complete the work.“We need to make sure parks aren’t taken out of the budget,” Rose Harvey, commissioner of the state parks department, said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “This is where people go in tough economic times.”Once completed, the garden will feature Herbaceous plants, shrubs and an interactive touch pool. Signs will be in Braille and the paths will be wide and smoother for wheelchair access. Plant beds will be raised so they’re within not only sight and smell, but also touch of visitors.John D. Kemp, president of The Viscardi Center and Henry Viscardi School in Albertson for children and adults with disabilities, praised the development.“This accessible sensory garden allows children and adults with disabilities, many of whom use powered or wheeled mobility, to experience nature from a whole new, up close perspective – the way those without disabilities do,” he said. “We applaud the Planting Fields Arboretum for taking the initiative to create an inclusive garden setting that all visitors can enjoy.”George Gorman, the Long Island regional director for the state parks department, noted that the coming enhancements will allow both improved visitor experiences and exciting photographic opportunities.“Your tax dollars are well used in these parks,” Gorman said.last_img read more