Gravity Racers & Student Engineering

A number of years ago I was approached by a local Technology & Design teacher, David Ackroyd, (brother of John Ackroyd, the Thrust SSC designer) seeking sponsorship to build a Gravity Soapbox race kart; the objective was to encourage students into engineering.

Along with other local companies, I duly obliged and the result was the “Nimbus”, rather generously, named after my own business, which, when it wasn’t out racing or at school, we proudly displayed in our reception.

The kart went onto gain sponsorship from Vauxhall Motors, was raced at Goodwood, featured on C5 “The Gadget Show” and shown across the UK gaining, along the way, the land speed record of over 100kmph at Eastborne, a record still held today.

I caught sight of the local news recently and delighted that David’s idea has flourished, his partner suppliers has grown and the number of schools now involved exceeds over 200.

I grew up surrounded by boxes of Meccano and the sounds of Mothers exclamations as she hoovered up yet another set of misplaced screws from the carpet.

Today my love of all things mechanical and engineering based is undiminished and from a commercial and economic point I see the need for engineering and manufacturing support with equal passion.

If your local school or perhaps your own business, would like to get involved, then I’m sure that David would be delighted to hear from you.

Links here:

http://www.formulagravity.co.uk/speed_record.html

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/on-your-marks-posh-soapboxes-thrill-at-soapbox-challenge-in-thetford-1-4986817

http://www.formulagravity.co.uk/

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Engineering, Gravity Racer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Simple Tale of Slippers and Batch Control

So who would like a laugh at my expense?

On Wednesday I bought a new pair of slippers – nothing of particular interest except that they were too tight.

Quick check of the label said they were my size- “I’ll let them stretch a little”.. but alas it soon became apparent that they had been incorrectly labelled.

I mused whilst standing at the returns desk as to where in the manufacturing process the error had been introduced.

At this point I must have had brain fade because I exchanged them for the next size up-logical right?

Nope! I now flip flop around the house with a pair that are too big.

So a lesson for Carr – back to Go, past QC, do not collect £200, and remember to collect your books on SPC on your way there lol!

I guess the lesson learnt is don’t assume that you know root cause and propose a solution until you know all of the facts.

Anyone want to buy a nearly new pair of slippers – size extra-large?

Posted in Manufacturing Process, Quality Control, Root Cause Analysis, SPC Batch Control, Systems | Leave a comment

John Clarke RIP

Well no sooner had I posted the previous short piece mentioning the brilliant satirist John Clarke, then news reached me that he has died .

Apparently whilst out bush-walking in Victoria he died from natural causes . He was aged 68.

Thank you John for your brilliance and humour. RIP.

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#PM Brexit Letter# Understanding Grexit

So today, our Prime Minister, signed the letter that will inform the EU of our intention to leave the European Union.

The events leading up to today have been a colourful twist of hyperbole, dis-information, naievity and political snakes and ladders inter-twined with cliques and cabals, a play out, worthy of the Bard himself rising to script this masterpiece for the 21st Century.

Where it leaves us, is firmly in our own hands, the ultimate in self actualisation in a global economy we’ve done it before and delivered handsomely, albeit we might need to blow the cobwebs off that particular book.

We now have a different generation at the helm of GB PLC, one unfettered by constrictive practices and a recalcitrant workforce. As a lean advocate, I think that stripping away bureaucracy and maybe even walking away from toxic EU debt cannot be anything but a good thing and it has certainly forced a re-think of strategy.

From what I read in my daily  news, what appears to have emerged is a healthy realisation of opportunity tempered with pragmatism – would it be anything less? perhaps not but it should certainly galvanise a call to action, to lift our heads and think, really seriously about where our future business is going to come from – wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who is quoted as saying ” Failing to plan is planning to fail”

I’ll leave with a more light-hearted perspective at the European position as admirably discussed by Clarke & Dawe. – Enjoy!

The Greek Economy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ue9ek9tTSg

 

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Economic Insight for Informed Business Decisions

I’ve commented before on the availability of economic and industry data reports from the banks. If you haven’t already subscribed for these reports I do recommend them to you.

The reports are not just to aid you when you start thinking about refreshing your annual Operating Plan but also act as a radar, alerting you to events that perhaps you hadn’t thought about.

I’ve just signed up for a selection of reports that I think may be of value for my Clients, I’ll keep an eye on them for salient points.

Have a look, see what you think- as ever, happy to discuss them with you.

This link is for Lloyds Bank but of course other banks also provide them as well.

Regards

https://resources.lloydsbank.com/economics-and-market-insight/

dont-worry

Posted in Annual Budget, business planning, Business Strategy, Management Information, Strategy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“We’ve Just Engineered a Tool for Delivering Stem Cells, Mid Brain”

The statement above was quietly delivered by a Dr Stone, a Clinical Scientist at Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge. at a presentation that I attended last night.

I sat amongst the audience and took in what he had just said; the capability to engineer such a tool, how and why it was to be used and the impact upon someone’s life I felt, was quite breath taking.

In our Corporate World we indulge ourselves in our power statements, the big car, the nice suits and of course the de-rigueur latest technology, because we’re really important aren’t we?

I felt that the statement last night firmly pulled and re-aligned, my carpet, underneath me.

Earlier in the year I had read a book by Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh entitled “Do No harm” and I had the same feeling of awe and it has left a vacuum in my thoughts – a vacuum because I’m tumbling with my thoughts as to where I could contribute, where I could leave a footprint? and I don’t say that from a centric or corporate social responsibility point of view either; it’s a grumbling I’ve had for a while.

If you want to know more about Addenbrookes Charitable Trust, take a moment to look at this web link, I’m sure you will find it as humbling as I did and perhaps in your busy day it might make you ponder as well.

http://www.act4addenbrookes.org.uk/Whereyourmoneygoes/Research/Recentlyfundedresearch/ACTresearchawards2015

Have a good and thoughtful day.

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility, Organisation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Bhagavad Gita

Searching for a book for my recent long haul trip, my wife rather appropriately, suggested The Bhagavad-Gita, a series of Hindu spiritual readings relating to life on earth.

There was one particular story that caught my eye, entitled – The Graduation Test.

The story relates to military training and how each student was tasked with firing a single arrow at the head of a wooden eagle placed on a nearby tree.

The question was asked of each student “Get ready, look at the eagle, and tell me what you are seeing.”

To which they replied “I see the sky, the clouds, the tree trunk, the branches, the leaves and the eagle sitting there”

One student answers “I only see the eagle and nothing else”

When he shot his arrow he landed true and successfully passed his test

The summation of the teaching is that whatever you are doing, put your whole mind on it; if you’re shooting, your mind should be only on the target, then you will never miss.

That’s what we do…… right?…

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