Ericsson R&D pulls out of Coventry
Has staff even sat down?
Ericsson is pulling out of its R&D facility at Ansty Park, jeopardising 700 jobs in the process, despite only moving in six months ago.
Seven hundred employees will be affected by the shutting down of the site, which is expected to be completed by the middle of next year - union negotiations not withstanding. Ericsson expects to abandon the site once the staff have gone, despite the first staff only having arrived in May.
The company says the cuts are part of its ongoing cost reduction strategy, which will see greater reuse of existing technology and thus needs less research and development. What R&D remains will be relocated to "lower cost-base countries".
Back in February, Ericsson's UK CTO stated: "We believe the accommodation at Ansty Park will lead to it becoming an important development centre", and providing a video showing how marvellous the site would be:
Back then, the prime minister even turned up and met with Ericsson to discuss the company's plan for the site, though closure within a year probably wasn't mentioned back then. ®
Making the UK more competitive
"how to make the UK more competitive, perhaps start by getting rid of the many layers of red tape and regulations"
I think you'd find in many UK companies that it's not the regulations that are the issue, it's the many layers of non-value-added (and indeed often value-obstructing) management. Dilbert's not meant to be a training course for them, but...
Some readers, especially those in corporate software environments, may have heard of CMMI.
A few readers may have heard of Finkelstein's Immaturity paper. Finkelstein seems entirely appropriate for some places I know (obviously not my current employers, just to be clear):
"Level 0 organisations perceive their primary technical problem to be software development environments and repositories. With a suitable environment they can, they believe, enforce their policies and processes consistently. They can prescribe standards for and control all documentation. In such an environment they will be able to be able to plug in tools which conform to a complex public tool interface or better still develop their own.
Level -1 organisations while acting in such a way as to prevent software being developed sincerely believe that they are assisting. Level -2 lunatic organisations are contemptuous of advances in software development. They do not care if they produce poor software as they will probably make more money maintaining systems than developing them in the first place. Level -2 organisations have no individuals who know or understand anything about the software development process having dismissed them or promoted them to administrative positions away from software development. Level -2 organisations have a manual describing their software process written many years ago by a software engineer who has long since left the firm." (etc)
Is anything at all left of GEC Coventry?
GEC Coventry used to employ thousands of people in jobs ranging from production to admin to development before Weinstock and his successors ran it into the ground (and did some stupid things like buying Fore and Raltec at the top of the dot con boom, because GEC hadn't done any worthwhile R+D for the last couple of decades and were therefore at risk of missing out on the boom).
I last visited that site when GEC shares were worth about 2p rather than the £10+ of their prime.
What's left of that site and its employees these days?
There is still lots of R&D in the UK
The really large companies might have gone seriously off plan, but smaller UK technology companies such as Imagination Technologies have been hiring throughout the recession. As for how to make the UK more competitive, perhaps start by getting rid of the many layers of red tape and regulations, and ditching stealth taxes such as Employer's NI, but don't hold your breath.