During October’s Engineering Design Show, Nicole Piesse Turner of Chatty Hatter recorded some roving live chats with leading industry people as part of That Engineering Chat podcast series.

Following on from the success of the conversations at the event, Nicole recorded a thought-provoking chat with our very own Gary Livingstone, where they discussed the restructuring of engineering companies for a post-pandemic world.

With business interests that span electro-mechanical automation, modular aluminium system manufacture, and acoustic and ultrasound measurement, Gary is well-placed to see a broader range of developments than most.

Gary and Nicole haven’t seen each other in person for two years, so the chat was somewhat of a reunion, having worked together over many years, and the pandemic was obviously the first discussion point.

Gary explained to Nicole how the pandemic had presented challenges, but that “every challenge is another opportunity”. The conversation covered how companies need to restructure for the post-pandemic world and what this might mean for productivity, increased automation, and the challenges of a shrinking labour pool.

They also cover artificial intelligence – with more data being collected and more tasks being performed from home. Gary argues that manufacturing and automation have been forced to adapt, including his own businesses.

Ever the optimist, Gary is looking at new avenues of business, such as environmental and sustainability projects. And, despite feeling like he has lost a year, he continues to ensure work morale is high, with continued investment in plant and staff training.

“It’s not about getting bigger; it’s about getting better”, he explains.

“There will need to be some rethinking by companies and industry in general, including how robotics and automation can be integrated, and how this can be a positive change that frees up time for other skillsets.”

Gary and Nicole go on to discuss how changes in manufacturing will affect the supply chain. Will companies want one big factory or lots of smaller ones? How will travel restrictions and rising container costs be met?

“Business is simple. People make it complicated,” Gary summarises.

The podcast is now available, with some practical advice, insightful ideas, and sound managerial advice on the international engineering industry.


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