March 21st saw the inaugural lecture by Mike Hulme, Honorary Professor and Managing Director of Trains and Modernisation at Alstom. Bringing together senior executives from industry, staff and students at Aston Business School, the event celebrated the recent conferment of an honorary professorship on Mike and marked his formal introduction to Aston University and the wider business community.
Mike was awarded the honorary professorship in recognition of his 17 years’ service to the rail industry, in particular the pivotal role he played in the introduction of advanced services contracts to Alstom, such as the availability-based contract with Virgin on the West Coast Mainline.
Following a welcome address by George Feiger, Executive Dean of Aston Business School, Mike’s lecture focused on look at the future of manufacturing: digital technologies, advanced services and the opportunities these represent for industrial strategy.
For Professor Tim Baines (Director of the Advanced Services Group) the lecture was thought-provoking.
“I enjoyed Mike’s lecture very much. He provided a rich insight into the value of advanced services for manufacturers, and how this resulted in a very much enhanced experience for the customer. Everybody benefits!
“He also demonstrated how digital innovations were helping to enable these services in the rail industry. Most striking for me, though, were Mike’s reflections on the environmental and societal challenges the world now faces, and how these digitally enhanced advanced services agenda could have a positive impact.
“It’s a very rich contrast for me, to the all too familiar conversation with manufacturers, where the only focus is on a 2-3% improvement in factory productivity. They really are missing a much bigger picture and opportunity for wealth creation.”