1st Dec 2020

Back in April 2020, Graham Spink was appointed as the new President of the UK Weighing Federation. Since then he has steered the Federation through what has been a year like no other. 

No stranger to legal metrology, Graham has worked in the weighing industry for more than 20 years and there really isn’t an area of weighing that he hasn’t worked in or overseen. He has also been a member of the UKWF board since June 2017. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic around for a little while yet, and Brexit changes coming in a matter of weeks, we caught up with Graham to see how his first nine months at the helm have been, and discuss how the Federation is supporting its members through what are some of the biggest challenges the industry has seen in recent years.  

How have the first nine months as President of the UKWF been? 

Having been a member of the UKWF for many years before being voted onto the board, I’ve always respected and been very supportive of the Federation, the work it does on behalf of its members, and its ethos. When I was voted into the President role back in April, we were really at the start of a transition period – Brexit and its impact on our members was just around the corner, we were in the process of establishing an apprenticeship scheme for the weighing industry, and the UKWF brand was ready for some modernising – so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to guide the Federation through this period and drive it forward into its next chapter. 
Obviously, it’s been a strange and difficult time with the Covid-19 pandemic, in fact I’m yet to chair a board meeting face to face, but that said, we haven’t let the restrictions delay our progress and despite everything, and with the support of the board and our members, we have kept the momentum going – albeit over Zoom! 

What is the biggest challenge you see facing the weighing industry today?  

Clearly, the two main challenges that all UK businesses face are Covid-19 and Brexit. Each one on its own would be a big enough challenge, but the two running in tandem is a worrying prospect. 

My main priority as President is to ensure the UKWF is providing assurance and support to its members, as we no doubt face big challenges in the coming months and years ahead to recover from the pandemic and navigate through the inevitable Brexit upheavals.  

We have been working hard to try and mitigate some of the impact Brexit will have on our members by lobbying government and trying to seek as much clarity as possible on the new legislation. This is tricky, especially as the Government themselves are still working through some key aspects. However, our UKWF Technical Officer, Ian Turner, has been working tirelessly with the National Metrology Office (NMO) and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to gather information and provide timely and important advice to UKWF members. 

How is the UKWF supporting its members to get Brexit ready for January 2021? 

The impact of Brexit will be felt strongly as we move into 2021 and the legislation changes will be in place from 1 January – next month! Weighing companies need to be implementing a number of changes now so that they are compliant in the New Year. 

Our Technical Officer and I are in regular contact with the NMO and key players in government so we can provide the very latest guidance to our members and hopefully help them hit the ground running in January 2021.  

I genuinely believe that its now more important than ever for the industry to come together, so there really is no better time to be part of the UKWF. With the uncertainty of Brexit, we are a trusted and informed voice that can help our members makes the right decisions at the right time. 

How do you think the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the industry?  

Like all industries, each of our member’s businesses will have had a slightly different experience during the pandemic. That said, almost everything produced is weighed at some point – and in a lot of industries it is a legal requirement – so many of our members have seen continued demand for weighing equipment and services during these unusual times. 

As an example, during the first lockdown we saw food producers investing in modernising their processes – which often included weighing machines – to improve their efficiency in a bid to meet increased demand as consumers stockpiled. Also, from speaking to other UKWF members, it seems that demand for service and calibration visits have also increased since the first lock-down as companies look to catch up on maintenance.  

And finally, what is the most unusual thing you’ve weighed in your career in the weighing industry? 

Strangely turkeys – they are fascinating, and I suppose quite topical at the moment with Christmas around the corner. Standing in a vast shed with 1000’s of Turkeys is an incredible experience. A single Turkey calling from the back of the shed starts a Tsunami of “gobbles” that builds to an almost deafening crescendo. And they look otherworldly too, wonderful animals!