According to the Annual Manufacturing Report 2018 (AMR 2018) the new digital technologies are becoming increasingly important, with four in five UK manufacturers believing that âSmart Factoryâ technologies will improve their supply chain relationships. They accept that the future of the industry lies in the adoption of technologies classified as Industry 4.0 or 4IR.
The Report has also looked into the benefits that these technologies will bring to those who decide to invest in them. The main benefit of 4IR technologies is the ability they offer to manufacturers to monitor and act upon data flowing from connected machines. IoT (Internet of Things) sensors pour data into locally- and cloud-based computers where the data is crunched almost instantly to provide a moving, real-time picture of manufacturing processes.
When interviewing the CEOs of OEMs or other companies of a significant size, they would say that their suppliers must start using the 4IR programme if they want to remain in the supply chain. Even though that is a commercial reality, it was important for the Report to look into what smaller companies had to say about it.
It was discovered that 80% of smaller manufacturers were aware of the impact of digital technologies on the supply chain and saw it as beneficial. Admittedly, large companies do make up 30% of the demographic of the respondents, so one would expect the positive view to be weighted accordingly, yet the overwhelmingly positive response is encouraging.
The Annual Manufacturing Report 2018 was launched recently at the House of Lords. It is already generating conversations throughout industry for the insights it offers, not just into the state of manufacturing in the UK but also the mind-set of manufacturers.