Giants will be open to trade at festival

Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing UK
Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing UK
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SMALL manufacturers can struggle to catch the ear of global companies, but one event promises to have buyers from Rolls Royce, Boeing, Siemens and Tata all in one room - The Global Manufacturing Festival.

This year’s event - from April 17-19 in Sheffield - was launched at a round table discussion in central London attended by dozens of people from industry and politics and featuring senior figures from the big four who all pledged to send staff specifically to listen to pitches.

Robin Threapleton, managing director of Northern Engineering in Dinnington, spoke for many when he described the difficulties in contacting the right person.

He said: “How do I formally make my approach to Boeing when they’ve no idea who I am? I want to be able to tell my story about why my product is better but I don’t want to sell on price. What are they doing to make themselves approachable?”

Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing UK, Dr Hamid Mughal, executive vice president of manufacturing at Rolls Royce, Andrew Peters, divisional director at Siemens and Mark Broxholme, managing director of Tata Speciality Steels, were on the eight-strong discussion panel at Church House, Westminster.

Sir Roger Bone said SME’s were the lifeblood of Boeing but they depended on companies coming to them.

He said: “We can’t knock on doors saying, ‘show us what you’ve got’. They have to come and say ‘we have something exciting to show you’.

“We listen, we look and, if we like, we invest.”

Sheffield-based Technicut was the perfect example, he added. It’s initial contact with Boeing led to the development of the AMRC.