Chairman’s Report

Colin Findlay, BVAA Chairman

British Consul General Rafe Courage, Rob Bartlett BVAA CEO and BVAA Chairman Colin Findlay

Future Leaders Cohort 3 on a factory tour
Reflecting on my first year as Chairman of the BVAA, I can’t over-emphasise the excellent work that is done, constantly and consistently, by the core team. They deliver training and technical support as well as fabulous events for networking, learning and company exposure. The BVAA is an outstanding organisation, and it can proudly hold its head up in the world of trade associations as an innovative and exemplary body, delivering value for all its members.

However, I also want to think more deeply about our constituency: the companies which form the heart of our industry. From large manufacturers to smaller, more niche manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and sub-contractors, British valve and actuator businesses are hugely diverse. Yet a shared engineering-led ethos and other common traits underpin a global reputation for quality, innovation and reliability. This forms a strong base from which our industry can trade confidently, with approval from major customers in demanding sectors such as oil and gas, power and nuclear.

At the recent Valve World exhibition in Dusseldorf, I took time to look at the range of participants and to talk with international suppliers, distributors and customers. Nothing that I saw gave me any cause for concern about British products, services and capability. Naturally, I was asked multiple questions about Brexit. But importantly, these were related to practical matters surrounding sales and competition rather than any thoughts of our demise.

So where do we go from here? I strongly believe that the BVAA needs to focus less on the improvement of services that are already leading-edge, and more on how we help steer our industry through global change. Globalisation trends are creating unprecedented challenges for UK manufacturing. The price point for oil is driving profits down. An aging population means that there are skills shortages, both within our industry and within our client base. And as I write, Brexit is still looming, with unknown consequence or opportunity.

As we head towards 2020, the BVAA is thinking about how to address those challenges. We need to offer improved understanding of these issues to our members and consider how we can exert influence, where appropriate.

A case in point is the BVAA’s Future Leaders Programme, which is delivering huge benefits in the support and development of existing talent. It’s a prime example of how the BVAA brings meaningful influence that changes perspectives and improves the future. And it proves that when we pool thinking, effort and investment as an industry, we can achieve great things.

Another item on the BVAA’s radar is the impact of digital transformation on process industries and manufacturing. Digital Twinning featured at our annual conference, showing how the process plants of the future will collect and use data to support reliability and maintenance. Rapid Profiling / 3D printing is also becoming increasingly mainstream, bringing new design, production and business challenges. The BVAA Board will take the lead in understanding these trends, then presenting relevant information to our members to ensure the British valve and actuator industry remains at the forefront of innovation.

80th Year
The BVAA enters its 80th year vibrant, robust and capable. We should be proud of our achievements as an association and as an industry. But we cannot be complacent. I look forward to helping individual members get the most from everything we do. And to ensuring that the BVAA plays a strategic role helping all members keep pace in a rapidly changing world.

Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 48

Winter 2019 // Issue 51
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