Tech on speed
Speedier innovation and adoption of industrial digital technologies could boost UK manufacturing by as much as £455 billion over the coming decade, as well as deliver a net gain of 175,000 jobs. Plus, there’s also an opportunity to gain competitive advantage with Industry 4.0 technologies like ‘cobots’ as humans work in harmony with advanced tech to create highly agile businesses, according to the Made Smarter Review commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
However, although the UK is well placed to profit from technological innovation thanks to its rapidly growing digital sector, it is not applying these advances in a coordinated and strategic way in an industrial setting, the report says.
The Made Smarter Review identified three themes that limit the UK’s ability to achieve its potential:
/ A lack of effective leadership of industrial digitalisation in the UK to provide market-focused strategic vision, along with no coordination for the effective diffusion of these technologies.
/ Poor levels of adoption, particularly among SMEs who operate in an ineffective and confused landscape of business support, which also lacks common standards to allow different technologies to connect. Businesses also face a skills shortage, and are hindered by a fragmented skills system and a lack of systematic engagement between education and industry.
/ There are under-leveraged innovation assets to support start-ups/scale-ups so that the UK is falling behind in creating new innovative companies and industries. This is despite the fact that the UK is a leader in research and innovation and has started to establish a support infrastructure to develop and commercialise technology.
“Industrial digitalisation is a massive opportunity for UK industry and the wider economy,” the report says. “But the technologies that underpin it are also highly disruptive, requiring business to be innovative, agile and adaptable. Industry and government will need to work in partnership to provide the infrastructure and ecosystems that can enable manufacturing businesses and their supply chains to maximise these opportunities and be competitive.”
Image: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy