Business Leadership Groups

Our working partners – 7 Business Leadership Groups

Over the last 12 months, seven groups of businesses have come together to focus on particular issues which affects the productivity performance of their sector(s). This section gives a brief description of the work each group has been doing and provides access to some of the products that have been developed as a result of their work.

If you would like to get in touch with any of the seven business groups that have been working closely with the Productivity Leadership Group over the past year, please feel free to do so. Details of the work they have been doing can be found below.

‘Better Measurement’ Business Leadership Group – ‘Improving Measurement and Benchmarking’

To achieve the greatest performance, businesses need to be able to benchmark their performance and understand where there is room for improvement. Evidence suggests that most firms aim to meet a target of average performance, rather than aiming to be the best, and can be prone to overestimating their performance relative to the average.

This work strand, led by Ian Davis of Rolls Royce and Jeremy Anderson of KPMG, working with McKinsey and Company Inc. is looking at how better measurement can drive productivity improvements in the UK. The aim is to develop business–relevant actionable insights that can help businesses benchmark their productivity position and support decisions on the interventions needed to improve. A new productivity measurement tool has been developed to enable this. It has been developed for hospitality and manufacturing sectors, primarily, but can be developed for other industries in future.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

‘Better Workplace Practices’ Business Leadership Group

We know that how employees are engaged at work and how their skills are used all make a real difference to productivity. Yet too many employees say they are not fully engaged by their employers and find their abilities and skills under–utilised at work. Research has also shown that only a minority of establishments in the UK are adopting high performance working practices.

This work stream, led by Nigel Whitehead of BAE Systems, is exploring the ways in which models of employee engagement can contribute to raising productivity in the workplace, and make better use of workforce skills. Working with Airbus, Rolls Royce, the TUC and other partners, the group has identified practical examples and actions that could be applied through supply chains and sectors. The longer term aim is to build a wider community of practice to share learning and insights, build capability and improve performance on the ground through a programme of action–orientated learning.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

‘Creative’ Business Leadership Group – ‘Improving the Diffusion of Innovation in the Creative Economy’

Britain has a successful and growing creative economy. But to compete more effectively on a global stage, the industry’s ‘absorptive capacity’ for innovation must be the best it can be. Absorptive capacity is a firm’s ability to recognise the value of new information, assimilate it and apply it to commercial ends. Improving the flow of ideas and innovations through to new products and new processes will directly increase productivity.

This work strand, led by David Abraham of Channel 4 working with Frontier Economics, is exploring how innovation and new ideas in the creative economy can be leveraged to enhance UK productivity. The group is looking at how ideas and innovations are being generated in the UK and how this compares internationally; identifying constraints to absorptive capacity and how these can be addressed; and exploring in the longer term how absorptive capacity can be stimulated across the wider economy by improving the creative process in other industries. Creative Skillset and the Creative Industries Council are the existing industry bodies expected to take the recommendations forward.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

‘Digital’ Business Leadership Group – ‘Accelerating the impact of digitisation’

It is clear that increased digitisation is driving new levels of disruption in traditional business models. This is opening up new opportunities for growth, as well as introducing new market challenges. Making the most of the opportunities offered by the digital economy will be a significant source of future productivity gains, innovation and competitiveness.

This work stream, led by Phil Smith, Chief Executive of Cisco UK & Ireland and Chair of the Tech Partnership, is exploring how the adoption of digital technology can drive the productivity and competitiveness of UK business. The group has been engaging with UK business to understand the barriers to digital adoption and also identify opportunities to accelerate its positive impact. Productivity and digitisation are both very broad topics, so the group decided to focus at first on the digitisation of two sectors of the UK economy, whilst following a repeatable methodology that could be applied to all sectors. Two digital user groups have been created, one for retail businesses and one for manufacturing businesses. A number of digital ‘use cases’ that could create value and drive productivity were explored. The report from this work stream gives UK businesses insight into the opportunities available to them from digital as they seek to increase their productivity and competitiveness in the local and global market. The long term aim is to create a tool that will allow UK businesses to measure their level of digitisation, and identify opportunities to leverage technology to drive growth.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

‘Food and Drink’ Business Leadership Group – ‘Opening up talent pipelines in food and drink manufacturing’

The food and drink industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, accounting for almost 19 per cent of total manufacturing turnover (£98.1bn). However, the industry suffers from severe skills shortages, with its pipeline of future talent insufficient to replace the one third of its workforce expected to retire in the next seven years.

This work stream is led by Dame Fiona Kendrick, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé UK & Ireland, and President of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). FDF, alongside representatives from Nestlé, Apetito, Butt Foods, Mars, Mondelez, Premier Foods and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, have developed a three to five–year plan for business–led action to deliver a real step change in skills and talent within the UK food and drink manufacturing industry. The key themes of the plan are: busting the myths about the sector and raising awareness of career opportunities for new entrants; better school engagement; increased collaboration with further and higher education; and improved apprenticeship quality and uptake.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

‘Manufacturing' Business Leadership Group – ‘Improving Leadership and Process Efficiency in Manufacturing Productivity’

The UK has a good share of world–class businesses, but a long tail of laggards. The UK manufacturing sector needs to be agile to maintain and improve its competitiveness in the face of globalisation, changing consumer demands, and technological change. These trends will be better handled by a manufacturing industry with a strong focus on productivity.

This work stream, led by Professor Jüergen Maier (Siemens), has developed a framework to help manufacturers to identify what they can do to improve their productivity in three key areas: leadership and ambition; innovation and technological step change; and skills, culture and employee engagement. This framework is supported by vibrant examples of best practice from world–leading companies to bring the concepts to life. The group, which also includes senior business leaders from GlaxoSmithKline, Toyota, Jaguar Land Rover and Perpetuum, plus other business organisations such as the CBI, EEF and Sharing in Growth, has also set out a series of recommendations to Government and industry on how to build on this strong start to make the most of the UK’s manufacturing potential.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

‘Retail’ Business Leadership Group – ‘Improving progression and productivity in retail’

The UK labour market is highly effective at getting people into work, but it is also important that more people are able to progress at work, rise up the ranks and increase their earnings. Limits on progression can be particularly acute in some industries, leading to lost potential.

The UK retail sector is the largest private employer in the country with three million employees. This increases to four million employees if including the wholesale market, or 13 per cent of the total workforce. Therefore, productivity improvement in this industry is particularly important for delivering long–term economic growth. The retail sector is complex with a very diverse employee population and it is rapidly changing. The industry will need to change the way it operates and consider how to re–design jobs to introduce higher paid roles with higher levels of responsibility, enabled by innovation, better management practices, use of technology and investment in training and development.

Led by Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and working with the British Retail Consortium, this work strand is exploring how to improve pay and progression in the industry, and the links with higher productivity. It is undertaking a range of research to better understand and frame the problem to identify industry–led solutions.

Downloads & Resources

To download the products and tools developed by this business group, click the following links:

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