Forming the future
Image caption: ICOSPA Congress 2022 (Stephen Morley on left).
The International Council of Sheet Metal Presswork Associations (ICOSPA) is a platform for the cross-national exchange of the sheet-metal engineering industry. Over the past 50 years, its member associations have represented the voices of over 12,300 companies in six countries.
Most of its member companies (employing over 600,000 people) are small and medium-sized enterprises that supply assemblies, subassemblies and parts to the automotive, machinery and electrical/electronic industries.
ICOSPA’s vision is to actively promote the international sheet-metal engineering industry for its member companies to flourish and provide growth as well as employment. It provides a network for members to facilitate information exchange and together develop services which are useful to member companies. ICOSPA offers information about international sheet-metal engineering and national market developments. It also supports matching enterprises with talented staff and students by offering an international internship/ exchange programme.
As the UK hands over Presidency of ICOSPA to Japan in 2023, ISMR sat down with outgoing ICOSPA President, Stephen Morley, to review 2022 market developments and cast an eye over the future.
Starting as a toolmaker and progressing through several senior management roles to become operations director and engineering director of UK manufacturer Sertec, Stephen Morley is President of the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM). He is also a past Chairman of the UK Institute of Sheet Metal Engineering (ISME) and sits on the Board of Directors of CBM. He sits on the Make UK Affiliate Board and CBI Trade Association Councils. Stephen represents CBM members’ interests to UK government and lobbies for manufacturing.
ISMR: Please give a brief background to ICOSPA and your Presidency of the organisation.
SM: ICOSPA started back in the 1960s as a free friendship group for professionals in sheet-metal industries in different countries. They would get together to find out what was happening in each country (initially in the U.S., the UK and Germany). ICOSPA now covers six countries (including Japan, France and China) and the ICOSPA Congress is held in whichever country holds the Presidency. The UK therefore held the ICOSPA Congress in October this year at the National Metalforming Centre in Birmingham.
Primarily, ICOSPA is about friendship and knowledge sharing, as well as networking and social activities. I first became involved in ICOSPA a few years ago, when I was on the Board of the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM), and the ICOSPA Congress was being held in Strasbourg. I enjoyed the Congress at the time and became President of the CBM just as the Presidency of ICOSPA switched over to the UK four years ago. The Presidency of ICOSPA is shared between the different country association members.
The host country of the Congress (and two President’s meetings) typically holds the Presidency for three years. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK has held the Presidency of ICOSPA for the last four years. However, we hand the Presidency over to Japan in the New Year (2023) so the next ICOSPA Congress will be held in Japan in 2024.
ISMR: Are there any specific targets or goals that you have pursued for the association during your tenure?
SM: I have focused on encouraging interest from other national metalforming associations in ICOSPA membership. I will continue with those efforts in 2023. We have also tried to increase the communication network and introduced an ICOSPA newsletter for the first time in 2022. It includes, for example, an economic report and update from each country so it is an important knowledge-sharing tool for members.
To read the rest of this interview in ISMR’s December 2022/January 2023 issue, see https://joom.ag/4L9d/p18