10:00 AM, 29 September 2017

Make a difference - Join the HERA Industry Advisory Panel

HERA is seeking expressions of interest from members who would like to be on an Advisory Panel for heavy engineering industry development.

This objective of this panel will be to provide sound advice and counsel on the future direction for general heavy engineering e.g. in the petrochemical, marine or transport industry (but with lesser focus on steel construction which already has its own panel) and will be closely linked to the Industry Development division of HERA.

The panel via its representatives will respond to the HERA strategy set by the HERA Executive and inform on industry issues and technical development that are of critical priority and research relevance for HERA to focus on.

The HERA Industry Development Panel complements the Steel Research Panel, which covers steel construction; and the Welding Centre, which cross-sector wide covers welding interests.

All three Panels prepare recommendations for the HERA Executive to consider.

The Industry Development division successfully ran a similar group for the past four years in its JV-based Above Ground Geothermal and Allied Technologies (AGGAT) research programme called the Technical Advisory Board.

The board was responsible for the technical assessment of AGGAT research projects providing direction and advice on AGGAT projects which worked well for both research and industry teams involved.

With the ending of the AGGAT programme this year and the identified need in the HERA Strategy to comprehensively review HERA’s industry development activities, the call for a wider Industry Advisory Panel was made.

This will involve assessing the appetite of our member companies for future growth in their business through innovation.

A proposed direction forward

In today’s commercial environment continuous innovation in business has become crucial for growth and much more so for survival. With rapid changes in ways of doing business and in the business environment itself, firms will do well to adapt accordingly.

Our general (non-steel construction) related heavy engineering industry has been facing a downward spiral in business from market impacts for some time now where those who have not managed to adapt to their new paradigm have unfortunately had to shut shop. 

A shift in our mindset is seen to be critical on a first principle basis to ensure future growth and survival which requires us to put a greater emphasis on long term benefits. This will undoubtedly need to be supported with the right level of motivation, effort and set of skills to get us there.

Questions such as what are the right tools and projects to invest in to get us there and what kind of training in skills is required to enable our member companies to weather the next downturn will need to be answered. How do we know where our capabilities and skills sit against best practice?

Answering these questions adequately can help gear ourselves up for our future.

HERA in its role as the catalyst for innovation sees a critical need to assess as well as prepare our industry for future business growth. Leveraging benefits from new business opportunities can be maximised with better capabilities to manage them and a better understanding of required business practices. 

A direction forward has been proposed in the form of a business research programme that would align with this vision and achieve it through the following objectives:
- Increase the degree of ownership of products and IP in member companies. A series of collaborative interactions between HERA and members via workshops and/or one-on-one sessions will be necessary as will the counsel of the industry advisory panel.
- Increase long term thinking and vision setting capability that enables member companies to adapt to their new market paradigm. This is easier said than done and will need significant initiative and motivation from senior management of member companies themselves. Once again, the proposed Industry Advisory Panel will be sought for their advice.

Panel terms of reference

The panel’s draft terms of reference are as follows and are intended to be reviewed by the Panel at its first meeting:
• Review HERA Strategy in the context of HERA Industry Development Activities
• Develop, review and prioritise research and business development proposals
• Make recommendations as to HERA Industry Development division activities and future development

Your contribution will benefit not only the industry as a whole, but significant benefits will accrue first of all to your company as you will be getting involved in a business development upskilling and networking process which is tailored to your industry but of course also to you as part of your own career path development.

The Panel is expected to meet once per year however in the set up phase additional meetings will be required. The time contribution is expected to be volunteered but HERA will be paying associated travel expenses.

Expressions of interest will be taken in till 15th October 2017 and final Panel composition will be decided by the HERA Executive.

Please email in confidence to either Industry Development Manager Dr Boaz Habib or HERA Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz.