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Graham leads the UK arm of Herman Miller, an international manufacturer of quality office furniture and equipment and last year received the Supply Chain Excellence Award at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2013. Its European Headquarters has been based in Chippenham since 1969 and employs around 220 people locally.
Passionate about local manufacturing and business, Graham also sits on the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which focuses on creating jobs in the local area. He helps run local schemes such as factory tours, and works to address key industry issues such as skills education. Sitting on a local hotbed of manufacturing prowess, Graham is calling on local manufacturers to showcase their expertise and hopes to see a greater Wiltshire representation in The Manufacturer of the Year Awards 2014 which are currently open for entries.
When Herman Miller first moved to the UK, the manufacturing industry was going strong, but tailed off towards the end of the century. But now, Graham argues that manufacturing is going through a renaissance, with clear government initiatives designed to encourage its growth.
“It’s all a part of what the government calls rebalancing the economy, and growing the manufacturing industry is a key part of that,” said Graham. But what’s great is that he sees a number of manufacturers in the local area and a lot of local talent coming through.
“Wiltshire is very vibrant for manufacturing right now – we have a lot of high-value companies based here which employ a huge amount of people,” Herman Miller also has local ties to the area, placing high value on its regular apprentice and graduate scheme offerings.
“There are an increasing number of ways into the industry now, not just through university, but directly from college or apprenticeships. Swindon College and Wiltshire College are both very active in doing this.
“People tend to see the manufacturing industry through old stereotypes, but a lot has changed and now manufacturing is one of the most exciting places to be.
“The UK’s manufacturing industry is so dynamic: competition from abroad and working in a challenging economy means that manufacturers are always looking for new ways of doing things, and that’s what’s so exciting. We’re always on the forefront of what is possible.”
The Manufacturer of the Year Awards is dedicated to recognising and celebrating industry achievement and highlighting the diversity and strength of UK manufacturing.
The awards aim to spread best practice, inspire others and show the important role UK manufacturing plays in today’s economy.
Entries for this year’s awards close tomorrow - July 31 - and can be made by visiting the website: