Meet Frank Hayden: The Manufacturing Institute’s Long-Standing Collaborator

With 30 years of experience and an incredible list of industry achievements, Frank Hayden is not just a prized personality in UK manufacturing – he’s also one of The Manufacturing Institute’s closest affiliates and supporters.

Throughout our long-standing relationship, Frank has served as a trustee, board member, internal advisor and external influence – supporting public engagements and building key strategic partnerships as a result.

Not only will Frank be supplying the opening address at our upcoming Framework For Excellence Conference in March 2019, but he will also continue to work alongside The Manufacturing Institute in various capacities moving forwards.

On the cusp of an exciting new chapter, we took the opportunity to sit down with Frank for an exclusive interview – asking him about his experiences, ideas, and hopes for the manufacturing industry’s future.

A bit about Frank…

Frank is the go-to expert for any manufacturing firm seeking solutions in their bid for operational excellence.

Frank has spent years in various roles around the world, including Operations Director for BAE Systems (where he spearheaded an £800m investment programme to produce stealth-technology fighter jets) and Group Manufacturing Director for Rolls-Royce (where he helped increase annual sales from £9bn to £12bn through transformed productivity, quality and service).

Today, he trains and regularly coaches leadership teams at client locations – enlightening companies to the types of behaviours and approaches required to ensure improvements.

“In a nutshell, I help businesses build and implement leadership systems that enable them to grow successfully and realise operational excellence,” says Frank.

“When done well, operational excellence ensures better customer experiences, stronger sales, increased protection from competitive threats, better competitive advantages, higher performance, and greater profitability.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy some terrific career highlights. Being part of two of the biggest engineering projects in the history of the world is hugely exciting, and it was amazing to watch the F-35 fighter jets fly over Buckingham Palace recently.

“I’m very active in helping smaller North West engineering businesses – and that’s also immensely rewarding.”

Making a mark in global manufacturing

Having worked for engineering and manufacturing clients all over the globe, Frank has a very clear idea of what companies need to do in order to meet operational excellence standards.

“Those companies failing in their bid for operational excellence typically suffer from underdeveloped leadership skills,” he explains.

“As a consultant, I examine how the company culture is performing – looking at leadership and impact levels. If leaders are lacking in these areas, I work with them on ego and behaviour, getting them to consider how they can change habits for beneficial outcomes and more engaged staff.

“That’s why I’m there – to help them become operationally excellent.”

Frank has learnt that outside knowledge and influence is instrumental in the push for excellence.

“It’s crucial to get opinions from those who are somewhat separated from the company in order to find solutions,” he says.

“One key lesson I’ve learned during my career is how important shareholder views can be. These people often have a strong understanding of operational excellence and are very alert to leadership strengths and weaknesses.

“They often have shares in multiple firms – which means they have the chance to compare companies against one another. This puts them at an advantage over certain managers who remain on their own site and have developed tunnel vision.

“I’ve also learnt how hard it is to compete with low-cost economies. It’s very important to organise supply chains to actually take advantage of low-cost services. We’ve got the added value of advanced business and technical skills here in the UK which are sometimes hard to find overseas. Labour rates, for example, can be 10% of ours.

“Product quality is often excellent, so incorporating low-cost economies into your supply chain design is key.”

Working with The Manufacturing Institute

Frank’s association with The Manufacturing Institute goes back 25 years, having been involved with our organisation in various ways.

“Most of my experience has been in the aerospace and automotive industries. This has helped me understand how to make the most of The Manufacturing Institute’s range of team leader skills training and management training,” Frank explains.

“Over the past few years I’ve worked closely with the organisation on various education programmes for leaders, which has been a superb experience.

“I’m also currently involved in providing night school classes in the North West – helping sites to install low-cost robots designed to improve processes and enhance efficiency.

“I’m proud to be helping North West businesses to succeed.”

Frank has also worked with The Manufacturing Institute to implement Rapid Plant Assessment (RPA) – a pioneering method for analysing and measuring business performance.

“I am frequently called upon to provide assessments of potential economic hazards, and if an engineering business is in trouble, how it can be turned around,” says Frank.

“I’ve worked at more than 1,000 engineering businesses and I can recognise common patterns and problems – as well as potential easy resolutions.

“RPA is a one-day study that generates around six to eight ideas to help transform quality, reduce lead time, enhance the supply chain, and raise people engagement.”

What the future holds

Frank will continue to support businesses across the UK in their search for operational excellence, as well as collaborate with The Manufacturing Institute.

“Some manufacturing companies are at threat because they’re being out-priced by low labour costs in other countries, but other businesses are thriving,” says Frank.

“It’s invaluable having fresh eyes on processes, and it’s equally important to access the kind of cost-benefit they have overseas rather than attempt to compete with it.

“People can be protective over what they’ve created, so it can be difficult to change that mindset. But bringing in consultants such as myself or The Manufacturing Institute team can help you identify fundamental gaps and accelerate towards operational excellence.

“These experts can ask different questions to ones that have already been asked many times before and had no real impact.”