Is Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things the last chance saloon for UK manufacturing?

After years of under investment, the UK has the lowest productivity rating of any of the G7 countries. With the ongoing threat of globalisation and the uncertainty around our future trade agreements, UK manufacturers must make changes – and quickly. The cost of upgrading our current manufacturing infrastructure is just too great, so the emerging technologies being driven by Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things could provide a more affordable alternative. However, the speed at which we adopt these technologies will be adopted is crucial to unlocking the benefits they offer.

The two biggest reasons that we hear from our customers for the delay in adopting these technologies is lack of experience and knowledge within plants and a fear of the growing threat from cyber-attacks. These are both challenges that mainstream IT has been facing for many years. In the case of mainstream IT the solution was to turn to specialist managed service providers, and for many companies, this is now their first port of call when they need to introduce new skills or capabilities into their environment. If manufacturers lack the skills to implement new technologies in-house, they will have to follow suit and start looking at leveraging external expertise to help them move forward. The alternative – ignoring the changes or trying to upgrade entire infrastructures – could prove extremely costly.

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