In the recent global state of the nation report issued by Sage, outcomes have revealed that UK process manufacturers are taking confident and optimistic steps towards building a world-leading industry, despite the current political and economic uncertainty in the country.
Factors such as Brexit are making it difficult to predict future import-export conditions, which is causing many manufacturers to make new strategic decisions in preparation for growth. Unlike what might be expected, 82% feel confident that their UK home-grown industry will be a world leader as soon as 2025. This opinion shows the sector is treating the current climate of the unknown not as a period of gloom and doom, but more as a motivating force that will drive positive change and continuous improvement.
“Contrary to prevailing sentiments about the decline of manufacturing in the UK, our research reveals attitudes are anything but downbeat,” said Sabby Gill, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Sage. “With the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathering pace, we see an industry taking the initiative to equip itself with the technologies and skills it needs to succeed. Half of UK manufacturers, for example, say uncertainty around Brexit is making them more likely to invest in technology as they prepare for possible changes.”
So how are UK manufacturers going to build this brighter future? As mentioned by Mr Gill from Sage above, many are making significant investments in new technologies that will allow them to gain a competitive edge on the world stage. With the aim of driving productivity, creating better customer experiences and venturing into new markets, emerging technologies will allow businesses to reduce operational costs, increase traceability in the supply chain and automate repetitive tasks. Investment in robotics, IoT solutions and automation is set to make data-driven production the norm within the UK industry.
In addition to embracing new tech, UK manufacturers are also working to expand their knowledge and skills. Around 39% believe proficiency in data science and computer science will be critical if UK manufacturing is to remain competitive. It’s also believed that the knock-on effect of regulatory immigration changes will see many manufacturers look outside of their usual talent pools when recruiting new people.
Another factor driving the confidence of UK manufacturers is the increasing importance of entirely British manufactured products. Consumers are placing more value on “Brand Britain” goods, demonstrating a preference for home grown items created with locally-sourced and easily traceable materials. This is regardless of the lower prices that are often associated with products built from imported materials, with consumers showing a desire to support and fuel their own economy.
Understanding this shift in attitude among UK manufacturers can help others in the sector to plan for uncertainty and take an active, confident approach in planning future growth. Viewing an unpredictable future as an opportunity rather than a threat, will help to guide the strategic decision making that will allow UK manufacturers to thrive.
To find out more about the state of the industry, download Sage’s informative manufacturer’s toolkit by visiting www.poweringbritishindustry.co.uk