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Sustainable Manufacturing

DATE: 2.2.23

TIME: 9.30 am – 2 pm

LOCATION: OSL Group HQ, Sheffield, S9 3WD

It’s back! The journey to Net Zero is exactly that – a journey.

Off the back of our first successful Sustainable Manufacturing event in Oct we are collaborating once again with manufacturers in the North West to follow their developments and review the energy market 3 months on. Victoria Hill of OSL will be hosting armed with her ‘Sustainability Squad’.

The Speakers

Victoria Hill CMIOSH CEnv.

Group Head of HSE The OSL Group.

Fast-track to Sustainable Manufacturing

Our businesses support and supply the engineering, rail, automotive, and security industries. Sustainability is a key value of our business and we are committed to meeting our legal and other compliance requirements through implementing, maintaining and continually improving an environmental management system complying with the requirements of ISO14001:2015.

Victoria will share,

  • The silver linings of the energy crisis
  • How she tackled ISO14001 the easy way
  • Environmental compliance 101

Tony Gresty

Managing Director ASG Energy Services.

How we started our journey to carbon neutral.

ASG Energy Services are renewable energy installers. The new specialist in sustainable energy solutions for the Warehousing and Logistics sector. Helping businesses reduce carbon emissions, cut energy bills, and save resources. Tony will cover,

• Deployment example of solar in a rented building
• Our views on the future of heating without using gas.
• Electric cars and outside spaces.

Gary Brandwood
Managing Director Perfect Sense Energy

The Sustainable Energy Journey

Perfect Sense Energy has developed a strong reputation as an incredibly knowledgeable team of experts, offering an extensive level of experience in assessing, identifying, designing and delivering energy-saving and renewable energy solutions to manufacturers across the UK. Gary will explain,

• Where should you start
• Today’s proven technologies
• Integrating Future technologies

Will Perrott
Managing Director Clean Air Ltd

Lessons learnt during our journey to Net Zero

Clean Air fume cupboards and fume extract systems, manufactured in Bolton, Greater Manchester have been keeping people safe throughout the UK and around the globe for over 25 years. They have reduced their Scope 1 & 2 carbon footprint by 43% over the last 4 years, even though turnover has increased by 50% during the same period.

• Getting everyone on board
• The easy wins
• Marketing your environmental achievements

Sustainable manufacturing event speaker logo s

Tony Gresty

In addition to our brilliant speakers, we will also be undertaking a factory walk, spotting and checking off the opportunities to improve sustainable practice, a networking lunch and opening up the floor for a panel discussion.

This event promises to embrace MORE interactive discussion opportunities, fewer presentations, and more questions alongside a factory tour to see brilliant live examples OF HOW TO DECARBONISE YOUR FACTORY.

Registration is essential, places are limited and this event is exclusive to manufacturers. To reserve your spot please complete the form below and the finer details will be sent to you closer to the time.

Autac Products Ltd based in Macclesfield committed to investing £2.8 million in developing a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.



We are very proud to share the new facility is an impressive 12,500 square feet, tripling the floor space currently within existing premises on London Road. A new additional site on Lyme Green Business Park enables an opportunity to develop a new manufacturing facility catering to the growing demand for the Autac brand. Incorporating injection moulding, cable preparation, assembly, and added value dispatch, it will enable the business to improve its supply chain operations and work in synergy with its customers meeting their increased demands.


New office space for the growing Autac team of people, there are plans to create training rooms, meeting rooms, a staff canteen and changing rooms. Impressively they plan for a new innovation lab serving the design, research and development team.


The now third-generation family business has seen great growth since husband-and-wife team David and Sallie Lowe purchased the business in 2016, with revenue rocketing from £1.7 million to £5 million over that period. The company is now firmly on track to achieving its ambition of £7.5 million in revenue within the ten-year timeframe ending in 2026.


This latest chapter in the company’s growth has been made possible by the commitment its customers and staff have shown over recent years and the ongoing success of the Autac brand.


David Lowe, Autac’s Managing Director said,

Manufacturers Alliance members

“All at Autac have kept their focus on the job at hand as the British manufacturing sector has navigated the waters of Brexit, Covid, supply chain issues, and rising raw material and energy costs. We’ve invested wisely – whether that be investing our time in improving our operations, the launch of our EV cable manufacturing division or in supporting our customers in overcoming their own challenges.


We’re excited about the opportunities this new venture will bring, one that really wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support and commitment from our customers, suppliers and of course, our Autac team.”


The business is ambitious for the future, with plans to invest further in new technologies and equipment and ensure that the Autac brand continues to strengthen its reputation and position as a high-quality British manufacturer.


Production is expected to begin at the new premises in early 2023.


DATE: 25.10.2022

TIME: 10am-1pm

LOCATION: ASG Energy Services Limited, Unit 3 Easter Ct, Europa Blvd, Westbrook, Warrington WA5 7ZB

Thought leadership with a difference

This event is being hosted by the Manufacturers’ Alliance, which has carefully selected professionals in their fields of expertise, who will all share, explain, and explore, how you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money.

Hosted at the ASG Energy Services manufacturing and warehousing facility in Warrington, with 6 excellent speakers covering seven steps to sustainability…

seven steps to sustainable manufacturing

Meet the Speakers

Tony GrestySpeaker 1. Tony Gresty, MD of Westbrook IndustrialASG Energy Services Limited

Tony is the venue host of this event and is partway through his sustainability journey and will openly share his experience so far and his vision of the future.

Tony will share: A Case Study on his factory’s journey to Net Zero

• Saving Energy (and money) practically through lighting and heating his factory efficiently
• Harvesting his own solar power
• Converting & powering up to an EV Fleet
• Removing all gas from the site

Gary Brandwood

Speaker 2. Gary Brandwood, MD of Perfect Sense Energy

Gary heads up a group of businesses delivering the design, supply & installation specialist commercial solar PV systems and LED Lighting. Formed in 2010 with a passion to drive energy cost & CO2 savings along with increased profits for manufacturers across the UK.

Gary will expertly explain how to Buy Better, Use Less & Generate your own Power

• The Energy market & supply contract options
• Energy saving tech including solar PV, LED lighting & controls
• Expected timescale to see the return on investment

The Birth of ASG Energy Services resulted from a meeting of minds at the South Manchester MA Peer Group and developed from the provision of the aforementioned projects to bring Energy Services specifically to the Warehousing & Logistics Sectors.

Speaker 3. Claire Petricca-Riding, Partner and National Head of Planning and Environmental Law at Irwin Mitchell

Claire qualified as a Solicitor in April 2005, after initially training as a geologist. She specialises in environmental, waste and planning law. She regularly advises on environmental crime such as waste and water prosecutions, breach of consents and permits and statutory nuisance.
She specialises in planning, compulsory purchase law and Judicial Review. She has recently acted for local authorities seeking planning advice as well as providing advice and assistance to corporate clients and individuals seeking planning permission or objecting to neighbouring land use. She has recently advised a corporate client on the effects of the Mersey Gateway Bridge project.

Claire will clarify: Manufacturing Facility Modifications
• The main legal barriers
• Considerations for rented or owned property
• Environmental regulations and governance
• Legislation surrounding this area in general

Chantelle BrandwoodSpeaker 4. Chantelle Brandwood, Founder of Eco Offset

Leading a super successful environmental and sustainability consultancy firm, recognised for carbon emissions management, reduction and reporting along with being an IEMA qualified lead environmental auditor. Chantelle aims to help businesses to reduce their environmental impact and become a force for good. She is passionate about sustainability and believes every single one of us has the ability to make many small, impactful changes to help in the fight against climate change.

Chantelle will show you:
• Why your carbon emissions matter and how you can start to measure them
• Look at the role of carbon offsetting and its pros and cons in carbon reduction
• The tangible benefits your business can enjoy whilst reducing your environmental impact.

Roseanna MaySpeaker 5. Roseanna May, Made Smarter Digital Transformation Specialist for The Growth Company

Roseanna graduated in media production in Liverpool in 2004, however she swapped the video camera lens for a different type of lens when she began working with facial recognition and identity management. This is where her passion for digital transformation kicked off and led to her work with the Made Smarter programme as a Digital Transformation Specialist.

Roseanna is helping to explore the link between smart manufacturing and helping SMEs to reach their net zero goals. There is a huge opportunity for manufacturers in the northwest to make a difference, and with programmes like Made Smarter driving momentum, the future looks bright!


Speaker 6. Annie Mfula, Head of Industrial Capacity Building for the IETF,Annie Mfula Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (IETF) supports industrial sites with high energy use to transition to a low-carbon future. The fund targets existing industrial processes, helping industry to:

  • Cut energy bills by investing in more efficient technologies
  • Reduce emissions by bringing down the costs and risks associated with investing in deep decarbonisation technologies.

BEIS manages the IETF for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Funding is allocated through a competitive process aimed at supporting the highest quality and most transformational bids.
Phase 2 of the IETF provides grant funding for feasibility and engineering studies, and for the deployment of industrial energy efficiency and deep decarbonisation projects. The Autumn 2022 window has launched.

On the day…


  • We have a limited number of 25 seats available

  • There will be time for open discussions with the speakers at their exhibition stands

  • You can raise your sustainability queries with the experts in the room

  • A cross-over networking lunch is available for all to interact and seek additional support from the speakers and share thoughts with your peers.

* This is a Manufacturers Only Event. This event is for manufacturing leaders across the North of the UK and Wales who want to break through the boundaries of possibility with their sustainability strategy.

Seats MUST be booked in advance by completing the form below and committing to a minimum donation of £25 for the purchase of your place. This is a not-for-profit event, and all ticket donations are to be paid directly to our chosen charity partner for this event, SolarAid.

This event is for manufacturing leaders across the North of the UK and Wales who want to break through the boundaries of possibility with their sustainability strategy.

The session will run from 10:00am- 1:00pm, incl. lunch

Register for the am session below…


The world of comedy and comedians could offer a lot of learning to leadership and leaders. In comedy, if you are not a good comedian, guess what, nobody laughs, and you don’t get any gigs. Leadership works in the same way, but instead of a lack of laughter, the outcome is an uninspired and unmotivated team. If you’re not inspiring and motivating people, you’re not leading.

At the end of June 2022, I took a huge leap of faith and trained in comedy to perform a stand-up gig for charity. A huge leap of faith because I’m not very funny and I hate performing on stage. But somehow, somebody managed to convince me to do it (Kerry Leigh, an amazing comedy trainer and all-round great person). As it was for a charity I have supported for over 10 years, it made it even harder to say no.

The only way stand up was going to work for me, was if I could just be me. I didn’t want to create some character that I was uncomfortable being on stage. I wanted to be authentic. And I didn’t want to tell lies. I’m rubbish at telling lies. I only wanted to use material that was real. Stuff that had really happened to me. Cutting a very long and emotional story short, the event was a huge success. We raised lots of money for charity (Lagan’s Foundation). Everyone smashed it on the night, even me.

So, what does doing stand up have to do with leadership? A lot it turns out. Some I learned throughout the process and training. Other aspects have been on reflection.

Laughter and fun are great mediums to bring people together. We all want to go to work and feel good and engaged, and most of us enjoy a good laugh. An enjoyable and fun work environment is stimulating and leads to higher levels of motivation. You know from your own experience of going to a comedy gig, you’re literally on a high from laughing. Fun at work is a must for me and has been reinvigorated by the comedy training. Plus, people are more inclined to learn faster and not look for other jobs if they are enjoying working for you. Is your environment fun and enjoyable for your team?

All eyes are on you. There is no getting away from being the centre of attention when you do stand up. It’s just you, a mic and your material. An extremely vulnerable place to be, but weirdly empowering and enjoyable (if people are laughing). This is the same at work. Wherever you go, all eyes are on you. Every word you speak, your tone, your body language and your strange quirks. You are always on show. You have to get used to this and have the confidence to stand up in front of people and be yourself. Are you a confident leader?

People resonate with stories they can relate to. Storytelling is a great method for communicating in a way that people can relate to. We all love an observational comedian that tells a story that reminds us of who we are. They share in a way that brings the reality of a situation to life, and we get it, we understand the context and the points we need to laugh at. Leaders that use storytelling as a style to communicate (provided they are quick enough to the punchline) can have their team hanging on every word. By being real and speaking from the heart, your people lean in and appreciate your vulnerability. Have you considered storytelling and the use of analogies as a method of communicating with your team?

Stay tuned in to what’s current. We’ve all cringed when someone is telling jokes that are out of date and shared in a style that is 30 decades old. Anyone who puts on a croaky voice, pretending to hold a cigar in their hand and starts a joke with, “My mother-in-law”. You get the picture. Cringe. You have to do your research and understand what is landing well in the current climate and what is generating a laugh to know how to pitch comedy that works. Leaders need to understand their audience both inside and outside of the business to know what style of leadership is required. Old school style that may have worked 30 years ago, could be outdated. The only way you are going to find out is by creating feedback loops from both sides. Ask for feedback and make changes. Are you aware of the current cultural needs of your audiences?

Practice in a safe space with people who will provide honest feedback. When you are preparing your comedy material, the last thing you need is everyone nodding and yessing, knowing that you are going to die on your arse on the night. You need the honest feedback, so you can share what lands well and works, and just as importantly drop what doesn’t. To hone your skills as a leader you need people around you that will be honest with you. It’s also useful to gain a perspective from outside your business from a personal coach, peer group or close friends. Are you asking for and receiving honest feedback on your leadership style?

Know your audience. Not all comedy works for all people. You need to understand who is going to be in the room on the night and pitch your humour at the right level. Over time, as you build your reputation and hone your skills you build your own audience that ‘get it’. You can push it more when you find your people, but you are never going to make everyone laugh. As a leader, you need to understand your team and work to inspire and motivate them, but as with the comedy, some people are not your people and won’t ‘get it’. Do you have the right people in your own team who get it?

Vulnerability is a superpower. The more you share about yourself and the more vulnerable you are, the more people lean in. The raw reality of our lives is what resonates. The embarrassing moments. The mistakes we’ve made. The times we sailed closed to the edge. The heartache. People love it. It’s what makes us human. Great comedians are brilliant at this. They share who they really are and put it out there for all the world to see. Great leaders are vulnerable too. They say, “I don’t know”, “I’m struggling” and they share with us who they really are. They don’t wear a mask for work. How vulnerable are you with your team?


This article has been written by Founder and Managing Director of the Manufacturers Alliance, Gary Sheader. Gary has supported a wide range of leaders in developing high-performing teams throughout the UK and Europe. He has built a team around him with a core strength in strategic facilitation and winning the hearts and minds of people. Get in touch if you would like to discuss transforming your team.

Rachael was recently approached by the national press to share how she has tapped into creative methods to simultaneously retain and attract new talent to the manufacturing industry within the Merseyside community.

With a scientific PhD and several business administration qualifications, she is the Managing Director and responsible for the HR function at JJ Smith Woodworking Machinery. She is central to the purpose-driven ambitions for the sustainable and ethical growth of the business.

As a socially conscience and responsible employer, Rachael will admit things do not always go to plan, however, the growth sits firmly in placing its people first.

The business has deep roots starting in an Industrious Liverpool backdrop surviving factory fires, the blitz and even Covid! Established almost 100 years ago in 1923, they are a 4th generation family-owned and managed company and emerged as a Global leader in woodworking machinery production. It’s fair to say if you have sat on a wooden chair… you have probably sat on a product produced by JJ Smith

Woodworking machinery -pride is at the heart of all its people.

JJ Smith’s People Retention Facts:

– Currently, employ 39 people
– Just under half have been retained for more than a decade
– 13 have maintained employment with the business for more than 30 years
– 8 people more than 40 years.

Here we sit down with Rachael on some beautifully crafted wooden JJ Smith-crafted chairs and pick her brains ahead of the Retention Strategies workshop.

Q. What surprising insights within a staff survey have you seen?
For me, it was surprising to see the very different explanations as to why employees felt appreciated at work or fulfilled with their lives. It was reassuring to see the high scores given for both areas which confirm just how important this is to the people who work for us.

Q. How do you ensure your employment packages are attractive?
At JJ Smith one of our core values is “looking out for our people…through training, development and ongoing support” and this approach helps us to provide all-round packages for people. Training is a particular area of focus, and we know that many of our employees have been able to go on courses that they wouldn’t have been able to fund personally, but that have them develop their careers and skills. For other people, the package may involve something specific to their personal circumstances, be that hour of work, what vehicle they drive or whether they work remotely.

Q. What ‘new normals’ do you see for factory workers in the future?
I think increasing levels of flexibility and individuality will be seen in the coming years as the long-term consequences of working patterns following the pandemic are felt. Manufacturing and Engineering are industries in which it is always going to be harder to have the complete flexibility that can happen in workplaces that can be entirely remote, but I think there are a lot of ways in which people can develop what works for them, whether that is time for their children’s school events or different patterns of working at different points in their careers.

In our survey, I also asked, “do you see yourself working at JJ Smith in 5 years time?” – 88% of the people who took part said that they did, which is brilliant. When everyone is thinking long-term it helps everyone to focus on long-term planning and development and helps build a solid stable team.

Rachael will be sharing real examples of what has worked and not worked for her business when Co-Hosting the Retention Strategies workshop with the Manufacturers Alliance on Wednesday 28th September.

If you are a people-focussed progressive manufacturing leader – then sign up to learn more here.