Lessons from Redcar

John O'Hanlon
- Leadership - Oct 13, 2015

The news that the coke ovens and blast furnace at the Redcar steelworks will close because there’s ‘no realistic prospect" of a sale was finally confirmed yesterday. The loss of 2,200 plant jobs and thousands more in the supply chain is a profound shock for the North East of England. As Anna Turley, Labour MP for Redcar, said: ‘I feel the government has thrown the towel in. I cannot believe the government has allowed 170 years of steelmaking to fade away with no fight, no determination and no understanding of what this means to our area, to people’s livelihoods and to the British economy.’

It is now unlikely that steel production will resume at Redcar. Partho Bhattacharya, MD and President of Invenio, however, believes that there are lessons to be learnt from the Redcar debacle: “The recent news that Redcar Steel Plant is to close is another sad chapter in the UKs manufacturing sector, the ramifications for the Teeside community are of course far reaching. Much of the attention for the reasons why the plant ultimately proved unviable focuses on external factors, such as the global price of steel, cheap Chinese imports and access to raw materials. There has also been criticism of the government for failing to act to minimise the impact of these factors and help to keep the plant competitive.

“Whilst these are all valid points, UK manufacturing organisations must also continue to look internally and review their own procedures, processes and business planning capabilities to ensure they are as efficient and lean as possible. The deployment of business analytics and planning software should be a central component of this. In today’s complex global environment organisations need to future-proof operations by implementing technology that can; better manage R&D spend, improve visibility through integrated planning and enhance customer service through better use of data and analytics.

With a transparent end-to-end view of the organisation and its supply chain, business can have a clearer view of their operations and finances. Business leaders can’t necessarily prevent the external factors attacking their business but with this transparency and intelligent use of technology they can develop more accurate modelling to understand what the impact of external factors will be and what proactive steps can be taken.”                               

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