In the Driving Seat: Sami Falou, Assistant Director, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – BIS North West
Sami Falou, Assistant Director, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – BIS North West, has a background of working with Unilever brands around the world, which has provided valuable experience for Sami’s current role of leading on NW manufacturing to help improve the competitiveness of the sector.
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills – BIS North West
Apart from that
Member of the North West Manufacturing Forum, North West Growth Accelerator Local Advisory Commission, NW Regional Sector Skills Council, Chemicals Advisory Council and the NW Academic Group
Association with NAA
My association with the NAA started in 2007 when I began working with the organisation on the development of the NAA automotive supply chain programmes and the design, development and implementation of the NAA regional Automotive Sector Strategy. More recently I have been supporting the NAA with its Business Excellence Programme and the recently-awarded AMSCI (STRIVE) programme.
I have always been interested in the supply chain and its contribution to economic development and I like to keep abreast of new ideas and recent developments in this area. The NAA Business Excellence Programme provides valuable SME support to help enhance the competitiveness of the NW automotive sector through improved company performance and the set-up of collaborative networks. This complements the SME support available through the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and other business support work streams. The NAA close working collaboration with MAS ensures that its member companies get access to the best support suitable for their individual requirements and needs.
I am looking forward to working with the NAA on its future challenges to support the re-shoring of automotive components and to continue the work on improving the capability of its member companies.
Married with two grown-up children who still enjoy the benefits of living at home!
I was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Having obtained my BSc in Chemistry at the AUB (American University of Beirut), I was fortunate to continue my studies at one of the highest-rated Universities – UMIST where I obtained my MSc in Petrochemicals and Hydrocarbon Chemistry in 1981 followed by a PhD in Organofluorine Compounds.
My career with Unilever, where I spent an overall 19 years, progressed through various managerial roles in R&D, quality, supply chain, factory management and government liaison. This gave me the opportunity to work with a number of Unilever companies across the globe from Latin America, through Europe to the Far East and Australia, New Zealand and Japan, on the development of the new technologies for fabric washing products and ensuring the successful on-time launches of such innovations. My four-year secondment to Egypt was exceptional as not only it provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge at senior level in R&D, supply chain, factory management and government liaison, but also provided my family with an excellent opportunity to experience living in a different culture, an experience that they still value to date.
This international experience with Unilever remains a key asset for me in my role in the civil service. In my previous role at the NWDA I worked closely with the main stakeholders in the NW to design, develop and support the delivery of the regional supply chain programmes in key sectors as well as building strong relationships at senior levels both within public and private sectors.
In my current role at BIS NW, within our team, I lead on NW manufacturing to help improve the competitiveness of the sector and ensure that the strengths of the sector are fully recognised within the region and Whitehall. This includes liaising with key stakeholders (local and national) to ensure that effective supply chain support and adequate funding mechanisms are in place to deliver our strengths and vision for NW manufacturing.
I really enjoy my role in the civil service and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to help improve the regional economy through working with local partners, BIS colleagues and other relevant government partners and agencies to support the identification and unlocking of opportunities for economic growth, particularly in the advanced manufacturing sector.
I enjoy driving (particularly whilst holidaying in New England and France), cooking and photography.
Favourite football team
Jean Michel Jarre
The Return of the Pink Panther
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey
Competitive Advantage by Michael E Porter
Best motoring moment
Driving from Cairo to Sharm El Sheikh.
Best business advice you’ve ever received?
Trust your intuition and believe in yourself