Questions & Answers

Keith Bailey, 65, is chairman and chief executive officer at Automation Investments, the parent company of BSA Machine Tools. When you were at school what career were you intent on? Even at school I was always fascinated by engineering and at that time the UK was a major world player in manufacturing industry. Where and […]

Keith Bailey, 65, is chairman and chief executive officer at Automation Investments, the parent company of BSA Machine Tools.

When you were at school what career were you intent on?

Even at school I was always fascinated by engineering and at that time the UK was a major world player in manufacturing industry.

Where and how did you finish your education?

I completed my education at Aston Technical College with an HNC in Engineering and later attended the University of Aston, where I secured a BSc in Industrial Administration.

What was your first job?

I was a student apprentice engineer with British Leyland (Morris), then my first job was as a manufacturing planning engineer.

How did you first get into manufacturing/engineering?

Directly from school, through the normal interview process.

What are your company’s main areas of business?

The design, manufacture and sale of technically advanced turning machines and the provision of engineering solutions.

What do you find challenging about your position?

Making the decisions to ensure a strategy is pursued that provides a secure business in a marketplace dominated by global players.

What are the biggest changes in manufacturing?

The continuing reduction in size of UK manufacturing over the past 50 years as a proportion of GDP and the lack of importance apparently attached to UK manufacturing by successive governments. Industries previously perceived as strategically important to the well-being of the country have ceased to exist or are now significantly smaller.

Do you think manufacturing gets the recognition it deserves?

Neither the government nor the public recognises the importance of a strong manufacturing sector, and decisions are increasingly taken based on the service sector without regard to the impact upon us.

Would you encourage your children to go into engineering?

Both of my children have successful careers, not in engineering. Engineering today can no longer offer a secure future and we do not accord the same respect to the profession as in some countries.

How would you describe the climate for UK manufacturing?

The relative strength of the pound, uncertainty over interest rates and the increasing burden placed upon us by government creates a very poor climate for confidence in the manufacturing industry.

How do you relax?

Such time as I have I enjoy quietly at home with friends.

What will have the biggest impact on manufacturing in the next 10 years?

The attitude shown by government, EC developments and the growth of the internet and its role in marketing.

Will there be a big UK manufacturing industry in 20 years time?

I entered industry with an economy centred around manufacturing and now it is dominated by the service sector. I believe passionately in manufacturing, and believe that the government will recognise the need to reverse the decline to protect underlying fundamentals of the economy and ensure a long-term healthy balance of payments. A healthy economy cannot be founded on the service sector alone.

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