I tried WordPress yesterday but despite all it’s promise, it wasn’t any easier to use on my iPad than this! It does look nicer and has a few more features than blogger, but the jury is still out on which one I prefer. This is the post I did yesterday, as I am too lazy today to write another 🙂
I’m going to have a rant today, well a slight rant anyway!
I want to make a case for the private sector and in particular the manufacturing industries. We hear such a lot from those companies, particularly in the public sector that have a big voice. We in the smaller manufacturing industries don’t have such a big voice. So here is my case for us.
Sorry to keep referring to the public sector, but it has the biggest voice of all and that’s what I’m always hearing on the news, in the press, etc… But for as long as I can remember, my company has been accountable. To its shareholders and to its financiers. We have been in the game of cost cutting for many, many years now. I watch with disappointment the whinging of civil servants, bankers, teachers, GPs, etc when they are faced with accountability. OK, so resources are thinning and people are being stretched. In our industry that happened about 20 years ago and is still happening. We have to get on with it or we’re out of business.
We don’t have endless supplies of taxpayer money to bail us out. I we don’t perform, if the shareholders don’t get a decent return on their investment, we are history. For years we’ve been fighting off competition from cheaper foreign imports, some of which get better in quality year on year. In the UK there used to be many pencil manufacturers – now we the only one remaining. Why? Because we have adapted, changed with the times and fought bloody hard to stay ahead of the game. We’re a small team, but we are innovative, creative and hard working. We don’t give up when people who leave aren’t replaced. We work harder and smarter. We have to share out the jobs that were once done by retirees and find cleverer ways of doing things.
I’ll give you an example: a colleague of mine retired this year and now I am in charge of rubbish! Never have been before, but I’m now responsible for all the environmental aspects, standards and waste in the company (as well as all the things I looked after previously). the pinnacle of my career – manager of rubbish. However, it makes me look at things afresh – how can I combine the environmental standards with the quality ones for example? Rationalise the number of different suppliers who deal with waste? I look on it as a way to improve and a challenge – it’s not something that I need to whinge about.
Another example was the year we had foot and mouth in Cumbria. While I felt very sympathetic for the farmers, they were compensated fairly well for their losses, as were the hotel and B&B owners for the downturn in trade. That same year, we had an extremely difficult time and business was awful. No compensation for us – we had to make several people redundant to make ends meet. Not newsworthy enough among the drama of foot and mouth, it went unnoticed that people lost their jobs and others were on short time and very little money….
I hear teachers complaining about ofsted examinations and hospitals complaining about the auditing processes they have to endure. But that’s what it’s like for us – and has been for years. We have to demonstrate that we are capable of doing the job we do, so why shouldn’t public sector workers have to do the same? Wages aren’t very good, I hear from nurses – but how many of them are on minimum wage? A nurse on basic salary is earning far more than many of the people in the more skilled jobs in our company. OK, you will argue that nurses are doing something more worthwhile – I agree. But without manufacturing bringing money into the country, who will be paying the taxes to fund the salaries of the public sector?
We are now bucking the trend a bit and winning back business that had been farmed out to the far east. Because we enjoy challenges, we adapt and we are determined.
Recently, there’s been a lot of noise about pencils, again in the public sector. Doctors I believe were even talking about striking over their terms and conditions. Now that’s my argument about voice.
My final salary pension has just been stopped. Where’s my voice? I can’t strike – nor would I want to, because if I did, those far eastern competitors would be sitting there waiting to pick up the business that we could no longer provide.
So we will just accept that our pensions are no more, we will grumble for a while, but we’ll just get on and face the next challenge.
“Chase your passion, not your pension.”