Just a few weeks before the UK-wide lockdown happened, due to Coronavirus, Hosokawa Micron was delighted to welcome business students and staff from Lancaster University Management School during a day-long site visit and workshop on the theme of Digitalisation in Manufacturing.
Hosted at our Runcorn headquarters, the event allowed students from the MSc Strategy programme to experience the range of new technologies that Hosokawa Micron uses during the concept, design and manufacturing of our world-leading powder processing equipment. They also toured the factory to see some of our current equipment projects being assembled and collaborated with Hosokawa staff during an afternoon ‘hackathon’ session.
As a business, we are proud to have strong ties with the award-winning Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and were very pleased to have been asked to support their programme by twinning our SME business with the fresh perspectives and energy provided by its business students as part of their coursework.
Hosokawa Micron has been at the forefront of digital transformation in the northwest of England’s manufacturing sector for almost as long as the Industry 4.0 concept has been in existence and featured as a case study in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s Made Smarter Review. So, with more than a decade of first-hand experience in smart factory digitalisation – complemented by more than a century of experience in powder processing technologies, equipment and contract manufacturing – we are perfectly placed to share our knowledge, experiences, challenges and solutions with a selection of future business leaders from LUMS.
The students spent the morning learning about the Hosokawa Micron Group and the products and services it provides to a global customer base. Split into small groups, they also enjoyed a demonstration of the virtual reality tools we use to better engage with and support our customers, suppliers and business partners. In addition, there was a presentation and Q&A focused on Hosokawa Gen4 – our unique digital toolkit – which originated as an internal process optimisation solution and has progressed to become a transformational business line for the company.
Using a ‘mutual mentoring’ methodology, the two-way hackathon session allowed the students to learn from real-life business scenarios and experiences in the fields of digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and manufacturing, and invited them to offer observations and recommendations to address ‘organisational change to adapt to and adapt new digital business models’. The students provided genuine insights into how best to balance strategic change with the (almost inevitable) business disruption, covering elements of risk and project management to ensure a seamless transition.
We were delighted by the enthusiasm and creativity shown by all of our guests, as Hosokawa Micron Managing Director, James Moore, explains…
“The visit of the LUMS MSc Strategy students provided us with a great opportunity to communicate and demonstrate our digital vision to future industry leaders. For us, it was an excellent way to throw real-world challenges at the groups and to observe how they applied the learnings from the morning’s sessions and their course to define and solve problems we face on an on-going basis. The students were unafraid to question and probe our strategic approach and came up with some genuinely thought-provoking ideas, some of which we plan to explore further and, potentially, implement.”
James Moore, Managing Director, Hosokawa Micron Ltd