31 Jul Barry Kennedy talks to Vincent Wall
Posted at 07:53h in News
Irish Manufacturing Research CEO Barry Kennedy chats with Vincent Wall on Newstalk’s Breakfast Business Show about the landscape of manufacturing in Ireland and what the future looks like.
Barry starts by addressing Vincent’s concerns related to the CSO figures that revealed that just 10 manufacturing companies in Ireland are responsible for over half the manufacturing output by value in the country.
“While it’s a stark statistic, part of the reason is that Ireland is on the international stage with some of the major international manufacturing companies based here in Ireland. However, Ireland do need to figure out ways in which to shift that balance and grow our indigenous manufacturing base and let them get the confidence to grow when they see these other major players and what they can do on the island it shows what the skillset and the talent can do in this country. We need have to ensure we have a more balanced portfolio to stop ourselves from being exposed economically to a major player moving off the island. But we do have a very significant manufacturing base in the country with it accounting for over 35% of our GDP”
Barry also explains how indigenous manufacturing companies can benefit from the larger multinational companies in terms of the supply chain, support, and outsourcing certain jobs.
Vincent also asks Barry about the challenges that the indigenous Irish manufacturers face in terms of the rapid change in manufacturing with the advancement of robotics, automation, and digitisation.
“Not only is there a rapid global pace of change but we also have unprecidented times with Brexit, COVID 19 and climate change which has caused a move around the world away from globalisation and more towards more localalized manufacturing. Examples of this are evident during the COVID 19 pandemic with a company like Mergon flipping production from the car industry to making face shields or Ventac in Blessington flipping production from producing padding soundproofing for the automotive industry to PPE or SteriPack flipping from making parts for electric surgeries to producing surgical face masks”
Barry also illustrates the importance of adopting these emerging technologies like robotics and digitisation into our manufacturing industry if Ireland is to keep progressing but when asked if he is optimistic about the future of indigenous manufacturing here in Ireland he replied:
“Oh I absolutely would, I think we have a very strong manufacturing base here and there are some great examples of where manufacturers have been able to turn on a dime to deal with the challenges they have been faced with recently and we have a very high skilled workforce but we need to nurture it and work better together on the island of Ireland to ensure that our strong base grows”