North West Business Insider February 2022

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Back to the future

Someone told me recently “2022 looks so futuristic, I thought we’d all be speeding around on hoverboards by now”. Flying skateboards? It’s just kid stuff. There’s a lot more futuristic stuff than that, and you’ll find it in this issue.

Traveling to Hills Panel Products in Oldham, I expected much more of a ‘spit and sawdust’ operation. In fact, what I saw were boilers of recycled waste that heat the factories and an automated robot that circles the ceiling of the warehouse and does the work of several human pickers and packers.

At CNC Robotics in Aintree, Managing Director Philippa Glover made me promise not to write headlines about the “rise of the machines” suggesting that her robots were about to replace us all (all the while muttering “I’ll be back” with an Austrian accent). Instead, its robots allow a range of companies to automate their cutting processes.

These features lead to our list of fastest growing manufacturers in which Urban Splash Modular tops the charts. Does a real estate company belong to a manufacturing list? I would say that when the whole house is made in a factory, it is.

Over the Christmas holidays, I found myself in the Oppidan Social coworking space in Manchester typing out said features. For people like me and many others, coworking spaces are a godsend – but is it an option for companies to relocate? In this month’s coworking article, I looked at companies ranging from small PRs, all the way up to HSBC, that have chosen a coworking or hybrid office environment.

During our roundtable on owner-managed businesses, Beaverbrooks President Mark Adlestone revealed that he was also (somewhere later) thinking about the new way to exit a business – the employee stock ownership trust.

We also looked at some technology predictions from GP Bullhound and found that the Metaverse is the next place you might want to take your business. (If you’re not sure what or where it is, take your hoverboard to page 10).

Simon Keegan, Editor, North West Business Insider
@SimonKInsider

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