BVAA's 80th AGM - Celebrating in style
This is all the more remarkable when one considers that only one in five small businesses survive for twenty years, let alone 4-score years. And however robust and proud our profile, and our international reputation, BVAA is exactly that - a small business. One with all the same challenges as our members, and some very peculiar financial constraints too it has to be said; ‘don’t make excessive profit and waste members’ cash on tax, but also, don’t make a loss either.’
Some of the greatest names in the industry sat around that table in 1939 – household ‘brand names’ now in many cases - and many went on to be honoured too by their Majesties for their service to the nation.
However, it was the current great and good that came together on the 15th November 2019 at Rudding Park, Harrogate, to participate in the 80th AGM, and have just a little celebration too. BVAA Chairman Colin Findlay kicked off the day with a special welcome to our 60 guests, and introduced our speakers.
The Power of Extended Networks
BVAA Vice-Chairman Tim Guest (Zoedale) open his presentation with an example of the cringing networking methodology that used to be applied across many an industry viz: the high-speed business-card swop, the minimalist exchange of information, the rapid moving-on when no prospect was immediately detected.
He also gave a fine example of when a salesman gave him the bum’s rush, not bothering to drill a little further, where if he had, he would have been exposed to three massive opportunities via Tim’s ‘extended network’, that would now go to a competitor. Tim also had members on their feet for a bit of impromptu networking with other members that they didn’t know yet – so successful it took a while to break them up!
Members were then challenged to introduce their new contact, with someone else they knew, and he finished off with a range of excellent networking tips and strategies.
Patent Process & Global IP Protection
Tomas Karger, patent agent with Marks&Clark, gave a riveting and very informative presentation on an area of business that often gets forgotten and which can severely damage businesses, namely intellectual property rights protection.
He started out with stating firmly that IP should be one of members’ assets. He noted that in the past this might be typically 15~20% of any business’s assets, but nowadays 80% was commonplace.
He gave an example of a Dyson vacuum cleaner that featured 76 granted patents, and 19 requested designs - on just one model. He also covered types of registered and unregistered rights.
Tomas observed that patents are governed by national laws – and there is an awful lot of those required for proper international coverage. A measured approach was required if a drain on resources was to be avoided.
With Brexit in mind, he also noted that the European Patents Office was independent and unconnected to the EU. He also took members through scenarios covering differing manufacturers coming to similar solutions (and what happens if you haven’t registered), pricing enhancements for IP protected goods, balance sheet implications, depreciation, trade secrets (not a patent), company versus individual ownership of rights, etc.
One particular issue was that of A.I. and of course ‘additive’ manufacture – in the event of a suspected breach who was responsible? The person posting the CAD file, the website developer, the host of the website featuring it, etc.
Customs & Logistics ‘No Deal’ Scenario
Richard Bartlett (Institute of Export & International Trade) gave members a comprehensive report on the challenges that British Industry might face in a ‘No Deal Brexit.’ He noted that the UK was the world’s 10th biggest exporter, and 5th biggest importer. Due to EU membership, currently the UK saw just 50m export documentations, which was expected to rise to 285m on exiting without a deal.
The motor vehicle industry’s challenges were widely known, but he cited an example of a new British-built train where 55% of the components actually came from Europe. Similar issues abounded in the aerospace industry where costs were set to spiral.
One freight forwarder was estimating he had to increase his staff from 1 clerk, to 17, just to cope with demand. He also noted that forwarders would need lots more time to ship and therefore needed goods earlier than previously.
Consequently, his Institute was predicting that Brexit must be pushed back to end of 2022 as the nation would not be prepared by end of 2020. He noted bodies like Port of Dover and Channel Tunnel were claiming to be ready, but currently the EU was refusing to say where clearing would actually take place. Also, the Institute was trying to get withdrawn the need for costly ‘T1’ documentation that allowed freight to cross borders (£80~£100 a document). A further complication was that 85~90% of freight drivers were not native English mother-tongue speakers. Richard also explained to members Deferment Accounts and HMRC procedures, the difference between FTA and WTO, Rules of Origin issues, etc.
ALL the presentations are available to members on the Members Only section of the BVAA website
BVAA Dinner Dance
Following the brief formalities of the BVAA’s 80th Annual General Meeting, 130 members and guests reconvened in the evening for a fabulous Champagne Reception. A big hit these days is the concurrent Fun Casino, where of course no real money is gambled – only completely phoney ‘Rob Dollars’. Each year BVAA chooses a charity to benefit from the participation donations, and this year we were delighted to donate £1,400 to the Poppy Fund in recognition of the circumstances surrounding our formation.
Control Valve legend Dave Martin (formerly Valve Solutions) was recognised this year as a ‘BVAA Champion.’ In addition to being a life-long committee member and BVAA’s regular Control Valve lecturer, Dave also chairs the relevant BSI committee and often steps in deliver other BVAA courses, often at short notice and no doubt considerable inconvenience. Dave is also authoring a Control Valve Manual for the BVAA.
A new award this year of a solid silver salver was generously donated by the Greenhalgh Family. Their spokesman, Martin Greenhalgh (BVAA’s Technical Consultant) explained to the assembled members that his grandfather had attended BVAA’s first meeting in 1939, and throughout BVAA’s 80 years a Greenhalgh (or two) had always been involved in the work of the Association.
He read out a moving note entitled ‘Never Forget’ found in James Greenhalgh’s papers concerning life, an employer’s considerations and responsibilities – as relevant today as it was in 1939.
The Future Leader’s Award as the salver will be known, was then presented to Dave Godfrey (Rotork) from Cohort 1 of the BVAA’s Future Leaders Programme, in recognition of his continued commitment to the FLP, to the Association and also its Board, of which he is an ex officio and enthusiastic member.
A sumptuous dinner followed, and members were then royally entertained by the Rock & Roll Bagpipe legends that are the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. We rounded of the evening with dancing late into the evening with Rollercoaster band.
As ever the success of the BVAA AGM Dinner Dance is a combination of the hard work and attention to detail of the BVAA Team, and of course our generous sponsors without whom it would be impossible.