Manufacturing Recruitment Advice - Have You Thought About Succession Planning

13 July 2018

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Speaker 1: You're listening to Manufacturing Ignition Recruitment Advice, bringing you right up to date on the latest recruitment information, trends, and discussions to help you recruit the best people for your business. Sponsored by Bonfire Recruitment. Helping manufacturing leaders across the UK to attract the best talent for their manufacturing company. Ignite your business or career today by visiting Here's your hosts, Terry Mallin and Scott Buchanan.


Terry Mallin: We're going to discuss have you thought about succession planning? What are you thinking, Scott?


Scott Buchanan: As in, you know, a succession. I've thought, certainly, about it for the office. I think Kevin and Baxter probably should play in the same room together.


Terry Mallin: For those tuning in for the first time, Kevin and Baxter are unfortunately myself and Scott's dogs that we have in the office.


Scott Buchanan: Well we tried it once, didn't we? We tried to get them in the same room together, but yeah ... It was a whirlwind experience, it think it's fair to say.


Terry Mallin: I don't think either of them were that happy.


Scott Buchanan: But from a succession planning perspective within, you know, businesses. I mean, just think of the number of rules we looked at last year. And within the, you know ... One of the questions that we'll always ask is the reason behind what's going on.

Scott Buchanan: On hopefully, when we looked at this, if you look at what we've done, the majority of them are actually due to the business itself not having thought this through. Do you know the reason for the vacancy far enough in front? So therefore they need to hire external help.

Scott Buchanan: Now it's great for us, and you know, companies like us. But actually, if the company has actually planned out a strategy. You know, a three year, five year strategy, whatever it is. Then, you know, people like ourself probably wouldn't be getting as much business.

Scott Buchanan: So I guess it's kind of a double edged sword for us, Terry. I don't know how much debt we wanna give in this one. What do you think?



Terry Mallin: I think the first port of call is, again, what is succession planning. Cause we kind of take it for granted that everyone know what succession planning is, but the reality is probably ... It's not as commonly known. I think within the bigger companies and the more proactive companies certainly take advantage of succession planning.

Terry Mallin: So kind of just to give you the Google terminology for what succession planning is. So succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders, who can replace old leader when they leave, die or retire. I think retire comes before die though, so before they leave, retire, or die.

Terry Mallin: So succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they become available. So that it kind of creates within your organization is a pipeline of talent. That should your star employee ... You know, your star commercial director, your star finance director, whatever it might be. If something unfortunate had to happen to that individual, you as a business wouldn't be left exposed. Where you'd have someone that could slot into that position as required.

Terry Mallin: And we'll go through a couple of bullet points, but from a business point of view that is a great thing. Because what it actually promotes is really good behaviors within the company. And actually, people see a career rather than it just being a job.


Scott Buchanan: And I think, also there's a ... What that also, tying in with that, Terry, is there's an element of culture, stroke ethos, that the company ... You know, you have. Let's call it a bonfire employee. That way there's certain qualities and there's certain training, there's certain focus points that we want in the organization.

Scott Buchanan: Do you know that way, and that will actually come through the methodology of succession planning as well. Which means, that actually the customer, on the other side of the fence, is actually seeing consistency even when it was happening. You know, inside the manufacturing organization.


Terry Mallin: Yeah, exactly.

Terry Mallin: To give you an idea, this example's my stepdad's who's been a successful business man for thirty odd year. Now he's got retirement on the horizon, but no one that can take up the mantle at the minute. And he's kind of in the situation where he's kind of left it to the last minute. You know, he'll need to get someone in quick, he'll need to train them up quick and then, you know ... Cause this is more about yields rather than months to do.



Scott Buchanan: Yeah.


Terry Mallin: So you know, it's important that that's at the front of minds.

Terry Mallin: To kind of go through a couple of key points in with the benefit of succession planning. So it's a great opportunity for existing employees to see a career path. And it maintains, you know, increases skillsets, ensuring they get the right and the best fit for the business. Or for your business, should I say?

Terry Mallin: Any other bullet points, Scott?


Scott Buchanan: What you're saying is exactly the point of, you've got to identify ... I think the important factor is, whether you're retiring or getting hit by a bus. Or, you know, it's important to identify who's important within your business. Do you know that way? And then who have you got or what process have you got behind that is, you know, something bad was to happen for whatever reason.

Scott Buchanan: And I think that doing that is naturally gonna come through. But, you know, greater understanding of the business, finding future leaders, allows the strength in numbers. The workforce to come out as well. And it also, it could well mean, as well, that the weaknesses are shown as well. Which some companies don't necessarily wanna see, which can be ideal.

Scott Buchanan: But, look, see the end of the day, Terry. Say if all of our organizations didn't do the future planning piece. So in an ideal world, what you would have is ... you would have a working manufacturing business. You would have a graduate program, you would have an apprentice program. And you know, the natural growth factors would kick in. And people like ourself wouldn't be in a job. Do you know what way?

Scott Buchanan: But what tends to happen is, and I think it's fair to say to a point, that the companies that don't have a significant end strategy behind all this really do need to hire external help to allow the business to do what it's doing there.

Scott Buchanan: Or, that the culture, you know that particular company's maybe not investing in their staff as much as they maybe should. Do you know that way, which again, we'd tell from the succession planning perspective. So maybe I'm talking out of turn here. It's not like me but, yeah, I think succession planning in 2018 is more important than ever. Because at the end of the day, it's the future of business.

Scott Buchanan: And just as likely, you know, along the line of ... And actually, Terry, just think this through. Succession planning, and again, maybe I shouldn't say this, but should it be a person?

Scott Buchanan: So that way, if there's an automated process, it could kick out. You know, should that be an alternative, or at least instead of as well. I thought no.


Terry Mallin: I think it is, it has to be a personal perspective and the basis is actually there person that's ... So this doesn't need to be someone that owns a business. It can actually be someone who heads up a department, who heads up a team. This can be at any level


Scott Buchanan: That's what I was thinking of but I mean, even last year I was walking around manufacturing business within engineering. And, you know, the quality department, for example, was 20 heads looking at pieces of metal. Do you know that way? And I'm thinking, you know, that's already feeling good, and that's good for the people doing that. But actually, surely the modern scanning facility, make sure the metallurgists could, on the piece metal, actually do a better job. Do it quicker, and more consistent. Do you know that way?


Terry Mallin: Yeah.


Scott Buchanan: So these things kind of kick in as well, Terry.


Terry Mallin: I think it shoes peace of mind for the people who have got that planning in place. Saving time and money during that process is one of the most important aspects of a leaders role within the business.

Terry Mallin: So, you know, it's definitely ... If you haven't got something in place, then certainly I'd be looking into that and actually looking at how you can start it. It can be a long process, but a very, very worthwhile on. And, you know, certainly with talent shortages that are out there. You'll certainly not that anymore anyway.


Scott Buchanan: That's a point, Terry. It's not just a one minute job, that's a task done. That way, it really is, it's part of, isn't it? It's part of the company. It should be instilled as part of the company's ethos or vision within it.


Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Manufacturing Ignition podcast. If you've made it this far, we take it that you enjoyed the show. In return, we'd love it if you'd leave us a rating and review on iTunes. Subscribe while you're there and we'll catch you for the next episode.


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