Whilst I'm no great fan of the overburdening reach of red tape and health and safety regulations, when it comes to food hygiene I know it's essential to set high standards. So as part of a recent visit to Coca Cola Enterprise's bottling and canning factory in Sidcup, I had no hesitation in making sure that I was suitably attired. It is an extremely impressive facility producing a range of drinks beyond just the simple 'Coke' ranges.
What left a particular impression on me was the level of engineering and design which goes into an everyday product like a plastic drinks bottle in order not only to maintain quality, but to aid mass production in a highly competitive environment where every penny literally does count. It was also interesting to hear how environmental issues such as water consumption, waste and power usage are key to the business model.
We are fortunate to have a skilled manufacturing facility like this in this area with the potential for raising the aspirations and opportunities for the next generation of engineers. This should be aided by the opening of a new education centre at the site next year.