From productivity to prosperity: Inclusive growth for the West Midlands

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Warwick Business School

Abstract

We will bring together academics working across disciplines to focus on the cross-cutting themes of skills, management, investment, regional supply chains, innovation and enterprise, to address the main issues around productivity and the productivity gap. Four experienced academics, two at Warwick (Driffield in WBS and Godsell in WMG), two at Birmingham (Collinson and Green, both in City-REDI) will lead on the four main themes. Both Driffield and Collinson are Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellors leading on regional engagement for their universities and both have been deans of business schools. The theme leaders, together with faculty experts in their respective departments have extensive experience of research partnerships with external stakeholders in the co-production of policy and practice-relevant research. All of the lead faculty are expert advisors on the WMCA 'Productivity and Skills Commission' and this provides an ideal channel for engaged research.

We have a number of partners from both the private and public sector, including Midlands Engine, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), 5 LEPs, private sector firms including Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin. The firms mentioned are very skill intensive, with high levels of capital investment and global links to wider value chains through inward investment and exporting, but many of their suppliers are less so. We also have as partners the CBI (building on their recent productivity work), the Chambers of Commerce, TUC and Unite. WMCA have agreed a £150K contribution on top of ESRC contribution from WMCA. The University of Birmingham will contribute £60k matched funding through City-REDI to link this project to on-going work with the WMCA on a place-based industrial strategy for the region.

The impact plan is detailed elsewhere in the application, but involves both deep engagement and bespoke events. We have also discussed this with the new lead for the Productivity Innovation Network, who is confident that our work is both distinct and adds value to their work.

Planned Impact

We have an offer of £150,000 from the West Midlands Combined Authority to jointly fund some of our work .

It should be noted however, that while our impact plan is extensive, we are not seeking ESRC support for this, as it will be funded by Warwick and Birmingham respectively to the tune of some £120K, with £60K from each institution.

At the heart of our bid is the apparent productivity gap between UK regions and our focus is the West Midlands as a reference point for other UK and international regions. As such the main beneficiaries with be UK policy makers at both a local and national level. We will also work closely with private sector partners, including individual firms and sector representatives, to identify specific constraints on productivity growth at the micro-level.
At the time of writing the West Midlands Combined authority is embarking on a Productivity and Skills Commission. Professor Driffield is the lead academic and one of the 4 core members of the board, chaired by Dr Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin. Professors Driffield and Collinson (who are also Deputy PVCs for regional engagement for their respective universities) also have lead roles within the WMCA on developing policies around productivity, inward investment and skills. They jointly advise policymakers at the Midlands Engine level and at the more local GBSLEP level.
Collinson is Director of City-REDI, and this theme will build on recent work, commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which developed the Dynamic Economic Impact Model (DEIM) in a joint project with KPMG. Working with the Productivity and Skills Commission, selected 'flagship' firms and local SMEs City-REDI is now researching industry and firm-level factors that underlie the lower levels of productivity and GVA in the region.
As our WMCA example illustrates, many bodies from BEIS, down through Midlands Engine, Northern Powerhouse, combined authorities and LEPs are currently wrestling with the problem of low productivity. As such, they are keen to engage with our network, and to plus our research findings into their emerging strategies. We are involved in the development and delivery of these strategies now, and this network will greatly amplify our work. Several partners have attested that they are willing to make a financial contribution to this network, and well as contributions in kind, to be discussed if we reach the final phase.
All of these local organisations will be involved in the co-production of knowledge, including the private sector. Our experience in working with users in many settings suggests however, that communication with policy makers and practitioners is much more effective if done face to face, through briefings and presentations (supported up by 1 page summaries) rather than through the circulation of written documents. We will therefore use all of our networks, alongside the other ESRC centres and initiatives, and through BEIS, Innovate UK etc to take advantage of all opportunities. Details of our wider engagement plan is provided in the more extensive impact document.
 
Description Although the nature of our engagement with local stakeholders has changed - from for example discussing drivers of productivity or prosperity, or exploring supply chain productivity, to discussions concerning economic recovery and resilience. In addition to the detailed events that are outlined on the submissions page, Driffield and Godsell have had weekly, or even more frequent meetings on these issues with stakeholders ranging from midlands engine to our local LEPs. In addition Driffield has been an advisor to a BEIS select committee enquiry, and has given evidence to a DiT enquiry on inward investment.
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Acting as a special advisor to BEIS select committee
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/365/business-energy-and-industrial-strategy-committee/new...
 
Description evidence to DIT select committee enquiry into inward investment
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact Evidence to select committee - published
URL https://committees.parliament.uk/work/903/inward-foreign-direct-investment/publications/written-evid...
 
Description presentation on productivity and levelling up, APPG enterprise
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Clearly this relies on the offices of the APPG
 
Description Current State of Supply Chain Productivity: A Cross-Sector Study Wanrong Zhang, Jan Godsell GRP Event on 11th Jan 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact How can you build a bedrock excellence for productivity? What leadership practices could firms develop to accelerate their journey to Supply Chain Productivity?

In our first webinar of the 2021 series, Professor Jan Godsell, Professor Nigel Driffield and Clive Reynolds will provide reflections on value creation at firm level, what firms could do improve High Performance Working and Productivity and what this means for policy makers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/research/priorities/productivity/webinars/productivityuk
 
Description Meeting to discuss inward investment strategy with Warwickshire Council 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Driffield has been invited to help Warwickshire to develop a strategic economic plan and inward investment strategy. A meeting took place in February 2020 to sketch out initial thoughts, with more to follow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Perspectives on Supply Chain Productivity  
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Industry has long recognised that, it is supply chains, not firms, that compete, but has struggled to turn this vision into reality. Symptoms include unfilled customer orders, excess inventories, and suppliers (particular SMEs) that struggle to deal with the erratic demands of those further up the chain. This undermines not only the productivity of individual firms, but the productivity of the industrial supply chains they form. This event will showcase the notion of supply chain productivity from multiple perspectives and how this can be improved through better integrated end-to-end supply chain.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/scip/networking/1july/
 
Description Presentation of initial findings on inward investment 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation at joint ERC / PIN event at the shard, london
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Supply Chain Productivity Workshop - Advanced Manufacturing On December 16th, 10:00 - 15:30, Arden House. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop with supply chain practitioners and leaders locally of industrial strategy. To sense test what we mean by supply chain productivity, and to stimulate debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Supply Chain Resilience Report Launch Webinar: A joint event with Pinsent & Mason on 23rd Feb 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A joint event with Pinsent & Mason on 23rd Feb 2021
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Supply Chain Resilience: 3 practical things you can do  
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Global Economic Crisis, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Brexit and COVID-19 are examples of significant shocks that have tested the resilience of supply chains. These risks to the supply chain, were only a disruption for the organisations that could not mitigate against the risk. Mitigation strategies require contingency. Contingency comes at a cost, whether it be spare capacity, dual-sourcing or inventory. Unfortunately the siloed, procurement led cost-reduction strategies of the last 20 years have removed many of these buffers, leaving our supply chains exposed, and with limited resilience.

Whilst much is written about the need to improve supply chain resilience, there is little practical guidance. This webinar will address that gap. Reflecting on the results of a survey of 200+ UK manufacturing firms, the current state and future potential will be discussed. This will be followed by 3 practical things that you organisation can do, drawing on experience from Crimson and Co, Tata Consumer Products and Pinsent Masons.

(Pop-out table)
11:00 am Welcome Dave Rawlins
11.05 am
Current state and future potential

Jan Godsell, WMG, Frances Zhang and Ximan Li
11:25 am
3 practical things you can do

- Risk Management mindset
- Buffer Management
- Contract Management


Jonathan Gibson
John Burdett
Clare Francis/Cerys Wyn-Davies

12:10 Panel discussion Jan Godsell, WMG
12:25 Closing comments TBC
12:30 Close
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/scip/networking/9sept/