Industry giants from Amazon, Siemens, BAE and BT start campaign to boost British productivity

They are set to issue a rallying cry to other major and highly productive companies to do the same in the hope of creating more prosperity.

Posted by Times News on Sunday, 8th April 2018

Business leaders from giant firms ­including Amazon, Siemens, BAE Systems and BT are embarking on a new campaign to boost Britain’s weak productivity growth by mentoring less productive companies and giving ­advice on training and investment.

Mark Carney will chair a meeting of the advisory board of the group, known as Be The Business, at which the leaders, including John Lewis’s Charlie Mayfield, Nestle’s Dame Fiona Kendrick and Rolls-Royce’s Ian Davis will announce a set of commitments to help other firms improve productivity.

The plan is not purely philanthropic – by focusing on companies in their own supply chains, the group expects to be able to boost the efficiency of suppliers and customers.

“We belong to a business ecosystem in the UK that is not productive enough, is not exporting enough, is not innovating enough. If we can be part of a movement that improves all of that, then it improves business for us, it improves the market size here in the UK for us; this is not just altruistic,” said Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK.

“At the end of the day this is about us all pulling together to improve British industry. It has been a decade now that we have been saying ‘productivity isn’t good enough’, and there comes a point at which we have got to start doing something really practical about this.”

Mr Maier said UK business culture lacked a leadership element, which is filled in the US by the MBA system and in Germany by a focus on extensive training and use of technology. “When you compare the UK to other large ­industrial economies, the G7 economies, with stronger productivity than us, the evidence points to the level of qualification and the level of ambition that is held within the leadership of our companies,” Mr Maier said.

The initiative comes after Mr Mayfield’s productivity review found that Britain had a small but significant cadre of highly productive businesses, which a “long tail” of less productive firms were failing to emulate.

Editor: Jian Ping Sun

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