Q and A with David Land of the Engineering and Manufacturing Network


27th July 2022

David Land is Chairman of the Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN), which works to support the continued growth of North East England’s engineering and manufacturing industries by building a strong collaborative community of businesses.

Here, David talks to Horizon Works about the organisation’s role, services and events… and looks to the future.

How does EMN support businesses in the North East?

EMN was set up to provide a network for the SME business within the manufacturing and engineering sector. It’s about facilitation and pointing owners and leaders in the right direction, making the process simple and effective.

It’s a lonely place owning your own business, but when you have fellow members around who have experience it’s easy to get support from likeminded people, be that in supply, finance, logistics, quality legal resource or energy.

Our affiliate members can offer quick and effective advice.

How is EMN helping North East businesses to tackle supply chain issues and meet the challenges of rising energy costs?

By pooling resource and understanding what can be done… and understanding the offers that are currently in the marketplace. Support from affiliate or supply members can ensure quick and effective direction and a potential solution can be gained.

There is no magic wand to solving these problems, but by networking and understanding other business’s problems, a big issue can be reduced and absorbed.

EMN’s flagship event, EMCON, is taking place at Glow in Newton Aycliffe on September 8. Why should businesses attend this?

EMCON is now the longest running manufacturing show in the region and is aimed specifically at the SMEs exhibiting and the larger companies who are visiting to find new suppliers.

It’s established and well known for providing the right level of support for those in the sector. It’s not about numbers, although our footfall is very good. It is the quality of the people attending and the purpose that make EMCON special. It’s a terrific place to get to know new people and drive new business opportunities.

How important are member organisations such as EMN to the North East’s engineering and manufacturing ecosystem?

There are many organisations in the region and country but it’s not just about building membership – although having a strong and active membership base is a key aspect – it’s more about establishing what capabilities we have and how they can be best supported.

From the outset EMN has looked to ensure any problem can be resolved, it’s just knowing where to signpost and how to support people.

We do work with a number of regional organisations and we are keen to make friends: none are considered as competition.

What do you see as the key opportunities for North East manufacturing and engineering businesses in the next ten years?

There is still a lot to do and a lot of untapped potential. Many of our members are growing and developing in different ways, there is no one key area or aspect to approach, other than to ensure the owners and leaders of the business know how to access information and potential, be that in innovation, people, capital, equipment and business support.

Sectors tend to go through cycles, so for the region it’s important that we can ride the waves of change and stay ahead of the game.

Just look at our history – that’s a great foundation to build on.

What other activities and initiatives does EMN have planned for 2022?

We piloted an EMCONF during the Covid disruption and it proved very successful. EMN would like to build on that and again find a way where members and people from the sector can learn and take away ideas that will help them in their own business.

For more information on EMN, visit https://emn.org.uk/

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