A couple of weeks ago the renowned UK magazine Grinding & Surface Finishing published a 3-page portrait about Haas and our Multigrind® CNC grinding machines.
We asked publisher Roger Barber from Grinding & Surface Finishing a few questions about British and German industrial production.
Schleifblog: It seems that industrial production is “en vogue” again in Britain, after many years of dominance by the Banking Industry. Is industrial production coming home?
Roger Barber: It never really went away, certainly as far as subcontractors are concerned. The previous government in particular put all the emphasis on Britain being service based rather than a country of manufacturers. 80% of machine tools are purchased in the UK by companies with 5 or less employees, but these companies are not included in the manufacturing figures. As a direct result of government policy, apprenticeships were abandoned, in effect taking out a complete generation of skills, and it is only now that they have realised that, in order to help solve youth unemployment, they need to push apprenticeship schemes again.
Schleifblog: In Grinding & Surface Finishing you write about British and German companies. What are the main differences between a typical German industrial company and a British one?
Roger Barber: German companies are well known for their efficiency and state-of-the-art technology, especially in the area of mass production. In the UK, the emphasis is more on specials and projects involving multi-tasking and small batches.
Schleifblog: “Made in Germany”: What is your impression of Germany’s image in Britain these days and especially the image German Engineering?
Roger Barber: In Germany, engineers have a much higher social standing. In Britain the term suggests a maintenance man or a satellite TV installer. This also tends to put German made products in a higher bracket as far as end users are concerned.
Schleifblog: If you were to give just three pieces of marketing advice to a German Industrial Company that wants to succeed in the UK, what would they be?
Roger Barber: Speak good English as not everyone is taught German in school and certainly don’t use it on a daily basis. It’s also not just about selling a machine. It’s about working with British companies on specific projects and offering tailor-made machining solutions.
Schleifblog: German or English beer?
Roger Barber: In the UK the term beer generally relates to bottled continental beer, with the exception of my own particular favourite Weissbier. British beer is actually real ale and should be provided in draught form after being stored in wooden barrels. With beer also available now in bottles, it all gets rather confused. I consider continental beer vastly superior to British bottled ale, but for me real ale on draught is the best.
Schleifblog: Thank you very much, Roger.