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AAT Composites June 09 www. bus- ex. com 77 freedom to explore new market opportunities. And in today's volatile economic climate, it is important to plan for the future. " This is a live, vibrant industry to be in, with lots of research still going on," Putterill says. The world economy may be in a downward cycle, but the global effort to reduce carbon emissions is picking up and can only become more imperative with time. Reducing the weight of all items that are being transported or are part of the transport vehicle will be essential to fuel economy, and this is where composite materials will come into their own. With that in mind, AAT is looking at opportunities to produce other components of the air cabin from composites and may eventually look further afi eld. " Companies that are strong are going to come out of this downturn better prepared, leaner and ready for when the economy picks up," Putterill says. The future looks bright for AAT, with its focus on improvement, training and quality, and with a technology that will be increasingly in demand. - Editorial research by Jon Bradley workers would simply have done as they were told, they are now engaging with the process. " We've set up a career path for some of our good candidates and have seen them blossom in a way that I never saw during seven years working in England." With the degree of investment the company is making in its staff, employees are a very valuable resource- a resource that has come under considerable heat and pressure in this economic downturn. " We've certainly had to downscale; we're running some short time, and we've reduced our workforce accordingly," Putterill says. " But we see this not only as a threat but also as an opportunity." The company has, for example, been able to see the members of the workforce who have taken more easily to the lean way of thinking and who have shown the necessary willingness to work during the diffi cult times. There has been an increased focus on multi- skilling, more time is being dedicated to the improvement process, and there is more

78 www. bus- ex. com June 09 Inmintcondition