Andrew Jones MP, Visits BNL as Part of Campaign to Promote the Importance of the Plastics Industry
Andrew Jones MP, Member of Parliament for Harrogate and Knaresborough, was recently invited to BNL (UK) Limited’s Knaresborough headquarters as part of a the British Plastics Federation’s campaign to promote the strategic manufacturing importance of the UK plastics industry.
BNL are a world leading designer and manufacturer of specialist plastic bearings and assemblies. The visit aimed to highlight the enabling role of the UK plastics industry in manufacturing and the issues the industry is currently facing.
Derek Mansfield, CEO, and Mark Watkins, EMEA Sales Manager, presented an overview of the company and the challenges and opportunities faced by BNL in the current business climate. BNL export over 90% of products across the globe and have a diverse customer base that has fortunately allowed it to weather many of the storms experienced by manufacturing in recent years. In the past month BNL has seen some key contract successes in Asia and a growing interest in their technology from the European automotive industry. Whilst these opportunities mean exciting times for BNL, there are challenges to be faced in order to sustain growth and innovation.
“The key challenges for our industry are the accessibility of investment funding and maintaining our key manufacturing skills,” stated Derek Mansfield. “Our ability to develop and innovate relies on investment and growth for our business, as well as our customers’ businesses. The current economic situation is making this a challenge for us all. Another issue is the employment of a workforce with the correct skills, which in our experience is being hampered by transport access and high fuel costs, plus the bureaucracy associated with developing apprenticeships.”
As a staunch supporter of improving transport links for the region, Mr. Jones was appreciative of the challenges of attracting manufacturing talent to the area and developing new workers in the industry.
Andrew commented, “It is vital that companies like BNL are able to find employees with he right skills to help their business grow. This is important because without business growth the number of jobs – particularly for young people – will be limited.”
“In Harrogate and Knaresborough we are fortunate to have an unemployment rate where there has been a decrease in the figures every month this year. Companies like BNL are part of the vibrant mixed economy of the district which enables this good record on employment to continue. I would like to thank BNL for hosting my visit and showing me the work they do.”
The discussion was followed by a tour of the Knaresborough factory, New Technology Centre and New Product Development, where he met one of BNL’s current apprentices and saw the investments BNL have recently made in technology, processes and equipment, ensuring their continuous innovation in the niche field of plastic bearing design and manufacture.
BNL (UK) Ltd
BNL (UK) Ltd specialises in the design and manufacture of specialist plastic bearing solutions. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, BNL has offices in Foxboro, Massachusetts (BNL [USA] Inc.), Tokyo, Japan (BNL [Japan] Inc.), Shanghai, China (Shanghai Plastics Capital Trading Ltd.) and a second manufacturing facility in Rayong, Thailand (BNL [Thailand] Ltd).
For more information about Andrew Jones MP, Member of Parliament for Harrogate & Knaresborough:
For more information about the British Plastics Federation: http://www.bpf.co.uk/
To download the BPF's Discussion Doucment, 'The UK Plastics Industry: A Strategic Manufacturing Sector': http://www.bpf.co.uk/Document/Default.aspx?DocumentUid=709e166e-de4e-434a-bb26-838a726525c6
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