Foreword As President of the BFPA, I would like to extend to our readers and all members a very warm welcome to the 2018 edition of the BFPA/BFPDA Yearbook and Members’ Directory. This being my first BFPA Directory Foreword, I would like to start by extending my thanks to my predecessor, Paul Dunlop of Pirtek UK, for handing over our Association in such good shape, primed and ready for the challenges we will doubtless face in the coming years. For my part, I am honoured to take over the prestigious position of BFPA President. The previous incumbents form an impressive list of engineers and business leaders, and it is my intention to do my utmost to continue to uphold this legacy. Paul’s Presidency coincided with a period of considerable political and economic change, and I came into the post expecting nothing more than an increase in that turbulence – I certainly haven’t been disappointed. As the old cliché states; we ‘live in an uncertain and changing world’, and this is indeed an apposite phrase; not just in terms of the political scenarios that are playing out currently both at home and across the globe, but also with regard to the adjustments we are/will be facing with the technological challenges and opportunities offered by Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). Change can be hard on any recipient, whether it be an individual or an entire corporate structure, but to ignore it, or indeed to resist it, is equivalent to leaving a serious health issue unattended – it will only get worse. It is essential that we accept that change is inevitable and design our company and personal strategies to align with, and capitalise on, these changes. Perhaps the most significant characteristic of this latest evolutionary phase is that it is being driven by technological change. Industry 4.0 and the associated IoT are no longer buzzwords used by consultants seeking to sound as if they have their finger on the pulse; they are a reality and the digitalisation that is now sweeping every aspect of our personal and business lives is already having a profound impact upon how we run our businesses. Automation and wider motion control has found its way into common parlance and even the most resistant technophobes will have to accept that the working world of tomorrow will be a very different place to the one of the past 30 years. By embracing the opportunities that this presents, my belief is that our business, society and personal lives will be improved – whether it be in terms of working conditions, environmental impact, product quality and availability or the ability to use the available and ever developing smart technology to improve our general quality of life. As manufacturers and suppliers of engineering-based products and services, BFPA members should also take comfort from the fact that the Government, and indeed opposition parties, have recognised the importance of manufacturing in ensuring a healthy economy. Our ability to devise innovative solutions to technological challenges is second to none on the global stage and we now have a network of Government- supported Catapult Centres designed to capitalise on these new ideas and take them through from concept stage to market. With the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy in November of 2017, we go into 2018 with renewed enthusiasm and looking at a more fertile potential environment due to the stated support of key regulators and politicians at the highest levels. Inevitably, we still have challenges to face; productivity in the UK still lags behind the rest of the developed world, and robot density – that is, our adoption of automation and robotics technology – is still well behind that of our main competitor nations. However, we are eminently well-qualified to address these issues and it is in our task as a business community to resolve them. The BFPA works tirelessly to support its members in these endeavours and we continue to develop a suite of membership services that are in tune with both member needs and current business trends. Our mantra of ‘helping members to improve their businesses’ is as true today as it has always been, and I would encourage members to contact the BFPA Executive staff if there is any aspect of their business lives, commercial or technical, with which they would like support. Turbulent times – but the future is bright www.bfpa.co.uk 1 Alastair Johnstone – President of the BFPA and Managing Director of Bosch Rexroth Ltd.