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Current Industrial Digitalisation Technology Trends in Manufacturing

At our recent digitalisation roadshows, David Baskett, our Technical Strategy Manager talked about why manufacturers might look to upgrade and modernise the industrial technology they use, to start to leverage trends of IOT, Industry 4.0, Big data and so on.

This will undoubtedly lead to greater productivity, efficiencies, survival of businesses and the transformation of the industry.

However, we also took the time to acknowledge where we currently are on that transformation journey, the challenges we face and the current technology trends we’re seeing within our business.

We spoke to David to learn more:


So, is the UK a Digital technology leader?

In a word, NO. Not yet anyway.

The UK suffers from productivity problems in comparison to other countries, along with a lack of digital adoption generally.

Last year the Made Smarter Review documented three areas that are preventing the UK achieving their Vision:

  • Lack of leadership – There is no clear, well defined narrative setting out what the UK does well or the significant opportunity for UK industry.
  • Adoption – The UK is behind advanced nations in overall productivity (output per worker), which is partly due to lower levels of digital and automation technology adoption… particularly SMEs
  • Under leveraged – There is not a great focus on Industrial Digital technology start-ups. However, the UK is seen as a leader in research and innovation

So last month, the Made Smarter North West programme was launched, backed by the government and some of the world’s biggest businesses. There is a £20 million initiative to engage 3,000 SME manufacturers across Digital technologies including IoT, Robotics, AI. The goal is to generate a 25% increase in productivity to the North West economy.


Do you think digitalisation will lead to the loss of jobs across the industry?

Digitalisation will undoubtedly lead to job creation, with new technology and new techniques new skills and jobs will be created.

Plus, if we’re more productive and competitive, this allows for the potential of winning new business, which also leads to job to meet the increased demand. Then there is also the potential of the multiplier effect. Every job in the industry can create several jobs in the suppliers and service providers in the supply chain.

And widely across the UK, digitalisation will help to make it economically viable to bring manufacturing closer to the market, so jobs could be reshored to the UK from previously low labour rate countries.


So, what are the current technology trends we’re seeing and how can we help you to speed up your pace of adopting them?

The industrial technology trends that we’re seeing across the technology areas we touch can be broken down into Digital, Analytics, Security and an underpinning of skills and collaboration.

Within each one there is a mix of trend themes which we’ve been focusing on and developing the best ways to help our clients smoothly adopt these trends for the greatest business benefit:

  • Digital – we’ve been looking across the areas of the Digital Twin, Platforms, edge to cloud solutions and the reimagined user interface (UI/UX) for OT environments to improve effectiveness and efficiency - you can read more about digital trends here.
  • Analytics – creating ways to take the context of your assets on an analytics journey, to access data from the past, the present and predict the future. Enabling the adoption of predictive analytics and cloud solutions to provide meaningful insight and detection.
  • Security - to digitally transform, Security must be a major consideration. We’ve been enhancing our own understanding across the various standards and directives, whilst also partnering with trusted suppliers to deliver added value to customers.
  • Skills and Collaboration - The best way to innovate is through the crowd, not as an individual. We have a big focus on collaboration, working closely with end users and SIs, as well as other relevant associations and Government catapults such as the MTC.

We shared further information on how we’re helping our clients to adopt and utilise across these trends and details of some of our latest collaborations at the recent roadshows. You’ll be able to find out much more about these over the coming weeks, by visiting our blog and attending our upcoming webinars.