Report urges UK manufacturing to embrace the next industrial revolution

UK manufacturing must embrace the next industrial revolution if it is going to retain its place as a force in the global economy it was revealed this week:

The Internet of Things, or Industry 4.0 as it is commonly known, will be one of the main changes to hit the sector over the next fifteen years, opening up opportunities in new markets and the way mass produced products are personalised to meet consumer demand.

More than 50 business leaders were present at the launch of Business in the Community’s Future Insights Report on ‘The UK in 2030 Key Trends for Manufacturing’ and heard how investment in ‘Smart Factories’ has the potential to improve productivity in this county by up to 30%.

Developed in partnership with Pinsent Masons, the guide also warns about planning for depleted raw materials, the impact of climate change on global supply, growing political uncertainty and the need to move towards Servitization.

Unsurprisingly, manufacturers will also have to tackle the twin challenge of an ageing workforce and changes in the kind of skills required from fewer manual workers to people with broader skills across IT, data, design and R&D.

“A new industrial revolution is underway; one that is blurring the boundaries between physical and virtual,” explained David Isaac, Head of Advanced Manufacturing and Technology at Pinsent Masons.

“Developments like the Internet of Things and 3D printing are disrupting traditional business models and offering us opportunities to improve our lives, jobs and our productivity.”

He continued: “This report sets out of some of the key developments that will affect the manufacturing sector between now and 2030 and how we can respond to them. Technology will be at the heart of these developments, but we shouldn’t underestimate resources, demography, politics and climate change.”

The 22-page report, which is also backed by Business in the Community members Anthesis, Cisco, Lloyds Banking Group, Walgreens Boots Alliance and WSP:Parsons Brinckerhoff features a detailed insight into the trends we can expect to see in 2030 and recommendations on how to future-proof UK manufacturing, in order to remain globally competitive.

It also showcases a number of current projects that are already addressing issues raised in the report.