The UK manufacturing sector is waiting with bated breath for Brexit terms to be confirmed.
In the meantime, manufacturing firms are buckled in for exchange rate swings and rising costs.
It’s too easy to overlook manufacturing in the UK as we stand here in 2017. The world has seen a real shift towards technology and for years now, we have looked at it to provide the growth our country, and countries all around the world, have looked for. Growth has been in decline for years. The technological era hasn’t really delivered. And when you look back, it’s clear that growth around the world has always come from manufacturing, and always due to a drive for productivity.
So, let’s look to manufacturing again. We’ve seen attempts to revitalize the sector in recent years with relocation to cheaper markets, single product production on a large scale. It did mean cost efficiencies for a while but there is too much rigidity in the supply chain and as we can see with Brexit and environmental concern, those transit miles make less sense now. Add to that the fact that cheaper markets such as China or Brazil are becoming richer and will not be so cheap to deal with in the future.
There is an opportunity right now for UK manufacturing to lead the way with the next industrial revolution. To make manufacturing great again. How? By bringing together the technological innovation of recent years with the next big manufacturing reinvention.
The time is good. We have 3D printing, which has already dramatically improved the plastics sector and is working through the metal sector now and giving scale customisation at the same cost as mass production. We have advanced manufacturing robots that are already in play in small ways but can so easily be developed to up the game. We have CRM and ERP systems that can provide the automation and insight to take manufacturing firms to the next level of productivity and collaboration.
With what we now have in Microsoft Dynamics 365, it’s clear as day to us that large technological innovation is reentering the manufacturing space. It could boost industrial productivity in untold ways.
Maybe now is the time to relook at our factory locations, our models, and our innovation. Maybe consumer proximity will become the new norm. Factories can be smarter, leaner, more agile and more local.
Is it time for manufacturing to push forward the next wave of productivity and growth and get back into the limelight?
Needless to say, it won’t happen automatically and we will need to stop telling our children that the robots are taking over.
Instead, we need to tell them that technology and manufacturing can take the UK forward with confidence.
Is your business going in the right direction?