CEO, Patrick Caiger-Smith, shares his insights on leading industry association BEAMA

For a number of years now, I’ve been a director of the trade association called BEAMA and I am really proud to have been appointed as President for the next 2 years.

What BEAMA stands for is lost on most people but it was originally the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers Association. Over time, the distinction between a manufactured product and an allied service has become blurred. Most products now come with an element of services attached, whether its software updates, or combined with a maintenance offering, or increasingly web services provided by devices being cloud connected to collect data streams.

As BEAMA was incorporated in 1905, it has been around quite a while, and has during the latter part of its life seen the demise of much conventional manufacturing in this country. It’s an organisation that might not have survived if it hadn’t changed and adapted over the years. Under its current leadership of Howard Porter and Kelly Butler, there is a clear sense that the pace of change is increasing. The impact of fast moving globalised markets and far reaching legislative initiatives is stepping up the challenge for businesses to adapt. Those that can read the direction and timing of these changes right will steal a march on their competitors. So much of the agenda for BEAMA is about helping member firms to understand the rafts of legislation hitting companies and helping shape this with governments and regulators so that it doesn’t create market dislocations or unhelpful red tape. As an entrepreneur myself, this is a fascinating time to be asked to become President. Imagining what the future might look like is part of the entrepreneurs’ skillset. Maybe there’s a reason why this is the first time the role hasn’t gone to a senior member of a large company.

I like the words Enterprise and Enterprising, especially when applied to organisations. They summon up a spirit of boldness, venturing, new endeavours to which people are applying their enthusiasm with energy and dynamism. When applied to the commercial world, ‘enterprise’ feels to me a much more appropriate word than the overworked term ‘Innovation’, largely because it reflects a fact of life – that making things happen in the commercial world is 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration. We’re lucky in the UK to have a very dynamic economy and one which is currently going through a good phase of fostering entrepreneurship and enterprise, with catapults, hubs, innovation centres springing up everywhere, and government support and improved funding channels now increasingly available.  I look forward to being able to promote this view of the world through BEAMA.