Exploratory talks between senior officials from the Government’s Competitiveness division and the CBI’s National Manufacturing Council began this week. They are in response to the CBI’s call last week for a partnership to bring about wider use of best practice benchmarking.
The CBI moved quickly to capitalise on an offer of talks from trade and industry secretary Margaret Beckett in a speech at the launch of the NMC’s Fit for the Future report last week. Beckett said she had asked her officials ‘to discuss with Alec Daly [NMC chairman] how to take the idea forward in the near future’.
Daly had called for ‘a systematic national campaign, Government-backed and industry-led’ to lift the number of companies engaged in best practice benchmarking and bring about a ‘cultural change’. He said nothing else had the potential of best practice benchmarking.
Andy Scott, CBI manufacturing and international director, said the meeting was ‘the first of many steps to follow up her offer’.
Discussions concerned ‘what are the key focal points in the DTI, where we can reinforce what they’re doing and where they can reinforce what we’re doing to give a greater cohesion of our respective activities’.
Scott said the process would ‘build on a whole raft of initiatives’ as opposed to being ‘a single breakthrough’.
Scott said the NMC and the DTI would be keeping in close touch. The initiative would combine a gradual process of better coordination, bringing in regional and sector bodies, with high profile speeches by ‘industry champions’ to maintain impact.
The Tec National Council and the British Chambers of Commerce have also pledged support for any new initiative.