Tony Hague PP Control and Automation
Tony Hague says the manufacturing sector cannot rely on external factors to calm or a government to care – so must take control of its own destiny.
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Rallying call issued by manufacturing boss who says industry must seek ‘strategic independence’ 

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The boss of one of the UK’s leading manufacturers is calling on industry to take control of its own destiny and not rely on government. 

Tony Hague, CEO of Cheslyn Hay-based PP Control & Automation, has made the rallying call following the first general election debate. 

He says industry must “stop waiting for a government to care about the sector” and has urged more companies to strive for strategic independence – the ability to formulate and execute strategy autonomously and without reliance on “inadequate” policies and economic aid. 

He believes adopting this approach will empower firms to make operational adjustments that are directly aligned with their business goals and customer needs.  

This will involve clearly understanding processes, defining market orientation, investing more in R&D and developing a sustainable skills plan that will meet both short and long-term requirements. 

Tony, who was named as CEO of the Year at the Manufacturing and Engineering Awards in 2023, said: “We can’t wait on external factors to calm, or a government to care. We can’t wait around for a directive, or a miraculous shift in how our work is valued. And we definitely can’t be passive. 

“The manufacturing community wears resilience like a badge of honour because of the sheer number of times it has had to fight its own corner or paddle its own canoe. But that spirit shouldn’t be reserved only for overcoming difficult situations, it should be leveraged to cultivate our own strategic independence.” 

He added: “Let’s presume that when it comes to industry, a lax government will continue to be exactly that – lax. No matter what way the July 4th general election may tip the balance of power, the matter of alignment with industry will still likely be askew. Would it not be more beneficial to instead take proactive steps to securing our own future?” 

PP Control & Automation is an award-winning provider of strategic outsourcing solutions.

PP Control & Automation offers strategic manufacturing outsourcing services to 20 of the world’s largest machine builders. Technology it has developed is used in a wide variety of applications. 

Tony’s rallying call focuses on several key business areas, including strengthening supply chains and increasing investment in technology and R&D, partnering with specialist providers and setting up dedicated innovation labs. 

Fostering a culture that values creative thinking and problem-solving across all levels of the organisation is also critical and can lead to competitive advantages on both a domestic and international scale. 

Tony says more can be done to develop skills and expertise internally, such as “crucial” spending on workforce development to improve productivity and innovation capacity as well as bridge skills gaps and keep employees engaged. 

He added: “Industry is in a digital age, where data is abundant and invaluable. Manufacturers should leverage this new ‘gold’ and analytics to gain insights into market trends, customer preferences, and operational efficiencies. This knowledge will drive smarter, evidence-based decision-making. 

“Whilst pursuing independence, it is also wise to maintain strong relationships and build your own self-contained networks and collaborative approaches to business improvement, market targeting, and the imperatives of ESG, especially in engaging with local communities.”  

He concluded: “And just because you’re developing your own strategic independence, it doesn’t mean that relationships with industry associations, and even governmental bodies are avoided – quite the opposite. When these relationships are built into strategic plans, they can provide support, resources, and vital market intelligence.” 

Hayley Johnson

Senior journalist with over 15 years’ experience writing for customers and audiences all over the world. Previous work has included everything from breaking news for national newspapers to complex business stories, in-depth human-interest features and celebrity interviews - and most things in between.

1 Comment

  1. Tony is absolutely correct. Those who witter on about an Industrial Strategy from a government are really saying that the Civil Service (who would in reality create any such plan) would know best. They don’t, and they rely on a range of inputs which are tried and to be honest, tired. Universities; Trade Associations; lobby groups, unions, etc.

    We cant sit back and wait for the self interested to tell us where to go.

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