Even for the layman, the very mention of the Le Mans summons images of beautiful cars and talented drivers, pushing themselves and their machines to the limit in pursuit of victory at the world’s most prestigious 24 hour race. For the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team however, Le Mans is much more than a race. In the words of executive chairman Bill Ford, “Fifty years ago, we witnessed one of the most legendary moments in motorsports history, as the duel between Ford and Ferrari took place on the track at Le Mans 1966”.
Victorian philosopher Thomas Carlyle referred to economics as ‘the dismal science’. It’s a moniker that has haunted this particular field of study for well over a century and often, not without good reason. The sheer complexity and interconnectivity of the global economy means that during a crash or recession, every major industry feels the effects of each economic decision made by governments and financial institutions. This is particularly true of the British steel industry who, since the financial crash of 2008, have experienced a series of serious setbacks that continue to depress the industry.
What is growth? At first, it seems like a fairly simple question to answer for most businesses. Increased revenue streams, better profit margins, greater efficiency and innovation, as well as physical size are all fairly standard measures of how successfully a business is growing. However, this question becomes infinitely more complex when other factors are added into the equation: Is all business growth stable and sustainable? How does our growth as a business compare to our competitors? How is our growth as a business affected by macroeconomic factors?
The Hakskeen Pan in the Northern Cape, South Africa is a bone dry, desert bowl 200km north of the nearest airport. During the summer months, temperatures during the day can reach 45° Celsius and dust storms are a common occurrence. It’s in this scorching heat, carved out between the dunes, that Bloodhound have cleared the track upon which they intend to test their supersonic car and in doing so, break the land-speed record.
It’s hard to imagine a tougher environment in which to operate and maintain a precision engineered, finely balanced machine like the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car. To do so successfully, The BLOODHOUND Project asked Bott to provide workshop kit capable of withstanding the same extreme climate and conditions as their car, providing adequate protection and storage for the all the tools, spare parts and equipment they need to complete their challenge. In short, they need Bott’s products to be unquestionably built to last.
In these blogs, we often talk about Built to Last as a philosophy, an engineering achievement, or even a manufacturing process. But, behind each of these examples are dedicated, brilliant teams of people bringing the principles of Built to Last to life in every aspect of the company through hard work, dedication and innovation.
As a result, we believe that our company can only be as great as the people it employs. Just as we pride ourselves on our products and services being of outstanding quality, reliable and built for longevity, we aim to build relationships with our employees on the same principles. We’ve found that one of the key building blocks in creating working relationships that are ‘Built to Last’ is cultivating a strong apprenticeship programme that fosters loyalty, ambition and talent in those who sign up.
Innovation is a much hyped word, you don’t need to read far in the business press or media to be exhorted to innovate; but what actually is innovation? And how do you do it well? To quote Management writer, Peter Drucker:
“Innovation is the specific tool of entrepreneurs, the means by which they exploit change as an opportunity for a different business or service. It is capable of being presented as a discipline, capable of being learned, capable of being practiced.” (Drucker and Drucker, 2007)
This quote argues that as the wider environment changes, organisations need to change their offer to match customer requirements, therefore firms need to develop capabilities to innovate and manage these changes.
For us at Bott, our challenge is to act in an entrepreneurial way, exploiting change to create solutions which satisfy the needs of our customers. As argued in the quote, the actions involved in doing this can be learnt as a discipline and process. The scope of this subject is huge but in this blog we’ll just touch on some of the principles which drive our innovation strategy and give some useful examples of innovation.
To quote an old and much repeated phrase, many things in life, when subjected to close scrutiny turn out to be ‘all style and no substance’. At Bott we prefer to let our product speak for us, producing durable, functional storage solutions, expertly manufactured to repeatable standards in state of the art facilities.
Exceptional and consistent product quality is a keystone of our Built to Last ethos. Bott storage solutions are regularly assembled to order. This requires high flexibility in the manufacturing process, whilst ensuring that from raw material to installation, we maintain optimum efficiency and responsiveness.
No matter how clever the marketing, how ambitious the sales strategy, a company is only as good as the product it produces. If the manufacturing methods and equipment employed do not provide a product of genuine value and durability, the business cannot hope to survive in the long term.
This is why Bott and the Built to Last philosophy is wholeheartedly founded upon the high quality of the products we produce, a process that begins on the factory floor with our exacting manufacturing standards. As part of this, we are proud to announce the arrival of a brand new piece of equipment at our Bude facility that will help us to continue to create, with greater efficiency and flexibility, a product that embodies the Built to Last ideals.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsmouth at the turn of the 18th century, into a country on the cusp of a full scale industrial revolution that would dramatically and irreversibly shape the course of modern British history.
In an era where the engineering profession was exploding, with great new railways, bridges and canals springing up across Britain to provide the infrastructure to a burgeoning manufacturing industry, Brunel could easily have become another worthy but obscure engineer, working diligently on any of the thousands of enormous engineering projects across the country. Instead, he became a towering figure in history of the industrial revolution, recently voted the second greatest Briton of all time.
Brunel’s lasting legacy to the industrial landscape of Britain is bound up with values and ideals that epitomise his engineering and design work. Some of the engineering feats that make up the Great Western Railway, like the Box Tunnel and the Ivybridge viaduct, are quite simply outstanding feats of precision engineering, designed and built with such care that they are still in use today. At the core of these feats of engineering is an awareness that each element must be built to last, that their utility and durability must span centuries, rather than decades. Brunel’s astounding engineering foresight, found in almost every aspect of the Great Western Railway’s construction, is a key part of what makes it such an enduring engineering landmark. (more…)SHARE:
In 1969, Apollo 11 was on its way to an historic first landing on the moon, carrying with it the hopes and aspirations of an entire generation. A year earlier, ‘Science magazine’ observed that “the most valuable spin off [of the space programme] would be human rather than technological…” It proved true, project Apollo was a triumph in human endeavour, drive and ingenuity.
45 years on, and the Bloodhound SSC project team – which includes some of the world’s most revered engineers – are building a car designed to go faster than the speed of sound. Bloodhound has carried out a series of ground-breaking tests and research, including the firing of the largest rocket in Britain in the last 25 years. With the project rapidly gaining momentum, this has now become an iconic global engineering adventure, showcasing innovative technology and manufacturing.