The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper is meant to be a road map towards transforming the country’s economy. However, it comes with certain challenges for business in general and specifically the manufacturing sector.
Addressing Productivity and Skills
“Since the financial crisis, UK productivity growth has slowed alarmingly. Manufacturing is actually one of the better performing sectors and it is important that we learn from companies that have a good productivity story to tell and get that best practice more widely adopted. It is vital to maintain the momentum that we have.”
The Government’s White Paper identifies five foundations for productivity:
- Business environment
“Manufacturing is now at the forefront of innovation, and this is reflected in the number of dynamic, local hubs starting up. What this requires, however, is support to grow and thrive.”
Providing a skilled workforce is vital to meet the demands of technological innovation in manufacturing, and to improve productivity.
“Upskilling and providing the necessary foundation for the next generation of skilled manufacturing workers will be vital. As mass customisation becomes the new standard, the UK must be both digitally ready and have the right people in place to meet customer demand.”
Meeting the Challenges of Artificial Intelligence
Currently, the UK lags behind when it comes to spending on R & D (research and development).
“For UK manufacturing to compete more effectively it must embrace technological innovation and use this to shorten supply chains and reduce the gap between production and demand as much as possible”
Consequently, the MTA works closely with, and represents, technology suppliers and innovators to support manufacturers in adopting industrial digital technology (IDT).
“R & D should be looking at manufacturers’ needs and finding new ways of speeding up processes. Technology is rightly one of the five foundations of productivity, but it requires a firm foundation of its own. That’s one of the key things that concerns us.”
Making Manufacturing Matter More
“We need to address a failure to recognise just how significant manufacturing is, and how, in transforming itself, it also has the power to transform the wider economy.”
Manufacturing matters because it is in the process of addressing the same issues that the Government’s Industrial Strategy raises, and doing so in very practical terms.
“Modern manufacturing in the UK is all about innovation, a skilled workforce, regional hubs and localised supply chains”
“In many areas, it embodies the Government’s aspirations for a dynamic economy. However, it needs support to continue to thrive.”
This means addressing issues such as infrastructure and providing the kinds of frameworks that will offer support to the UK’s pioneering manufacturing sector.
Manufacturing Matters Magazine thanks Tom Lane for his contribution to this article.
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