Friday, 29 November 2013

A Better planning system - now there's a novel idea

It's that time again - every few months in the UK media we hear about how our broken planning system is endangering the future supply of sand and aggregates. The latest article has appeared on the Agg-Net website following a report from the Mineral Products Association.

For how long can all the industry bodies keep producing report after report detailing this real threat before something is actually done about it? Government makes all the right noises about trying to support businesses during the recovery but if we look at the evidence - instead of the soundbites - there is nothing being done to address this issue.

With the industry on the upward curve again after a very tough period surely the very least we can expect is for those we charge with responsibility for ensuring that we all have the opportunity to prosper and grow to demonstrate some action and fix a broken planning system.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Exhibitions are fine - but demonstration events are a far better bet

With the amount of construction equipment exhibitions across the world you could spend your life either visiting them or organising attendance at them. We've found that open day events at working sites are a far better way of demonstrating equipment and gaining a real understanding of the benefits of investing in a new processing system. When equipment is at a trade show and it's been polished up and cleaned to within an inch of its life you can't really tell how it's going to perform in the real world. Start throwing a few hundred tons an hour of rocks at it while you can talk to the people that own it, operate it, maintain it - now that's a far better indication of how it will really perform.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Calling all editors - Is there anybody out there?

54 - that's the last count of trade magazines that land on my desk every month. All of which are producing circulation certificates boasting of their unrivalled ability to reach our customers. Which is of course how they attempt to justify their ridiculous advertising rates.

4 - that's the last count of trade magazines that land on my desk every month that are worth reading.

The only reason the other 50 even make it out of he plastic packaging is so that I can put them in the recycling bin.

Why are there so many sub-standard publications out there? I can't help feeling that it's because the art of editing the content is slowly but surely disappearing. Far too many - over 90% as far as I can make out - simply copy and paste badly written press releases from corporate marketing departments. Most of the people writing these articles have had no formal training on how to construct decent copy so it makes for painful reading.

I can't really blame the marketing people for this though - they've got a job to do which involves presenting their company in the best light possible. Why not fill the news release with boasts of how wonderful they are and how their products will change the world? It's not like there are any editors (in the truest sense of the word) checking the copy.

The blame here has to lie with the editors - a little bit of simple fact checking wouldn't hurt would it? For example, I came across an article today where the headline looked familiar. As I read on the whole article had a familiar feel to it.

I checked back through our records and found an article from over 12 months ago with the same headline and broadly similar copy published in the same magazine. Surely the editors of the magazine have a responsibility to ensure that the material they are publishing is accurate in the first instance, and original in the second?

I'm not that bothered by our material being blatantly copied by others in our industry - it displays a complete lack of imagination on their part. If this is their approach to marketing I'd be fairly sure it's replicated throughout their business which we can only take as positive.

However, I'd expect more from the trade magazines who for the most part fail to recognise that it is only by publishing genuine, interesting articles that their publications will survive in a massively competitive environment.