Adapting to change

The Commission’s findings have identified that whilst the Midlands has the capability to adapt to change and to respond to challenges, it often lacks the confidence, belief and industrial leadership to do so.

However, when that is put in the context of a global pandemic, not only was it able to adapt, it actively embraced that change. Organisations of all types and sizes moved their focus, redirecting their assets and capabilities to support the global response and fill gaps.

Distilleries and breweries repurposed equipment and worked with their supply chains to produce hand sanitiser. Automotive plants manufactured ventilators and respirators. Hotels provided rooms to the homeless. It was nothing short of one of the fastest, most widespread displays of global innovation.

The Midlands can take pride in the part it played in this initiative. The challenge now is to maintain this level of agility, flexibility, and responsiveness, by identifying and removing the barriers which inhibit the ability to adapt to change.

Evolving customer behaviours, purchasing channels, regulations and national and international strategic priorities, including the green economy, are all factors which necessitate a high level of business agility and, in some cases, could trigger the need for pivoting between market sectors.

The common denominator among businesses that have pivoted is pace, both in decision making and execution. Whereas the typical consumer goods protocol for a new product involves developing and testing a prototype over several months, the pivot experience proves that the future belongs to the swift. In other words, it’s not about planning our way to the future anymore. It’s about acting and anticipating our way to the future.

To see the full list of chapters contained in the Report click here.

"We need to build 'resilience' back into the system. Not least to prepare us against future shocks, but to start to rebuild our global reputation as a centre for manufacturing excellence. This commission seeks to build this resilience."

Dr Clive Hickman

Chair - Midlands Manufacturing Resilience Commission