What’s the predictions for the UK manufacturing industry?
• The ability to be agile after ripping up the forecasting book
• Focussing on quick changeovers and good production output
• The impact of digital transformation
Did any of us who work in the manufacturing arena ever expect plant teams to be working from home? And yet that is exactly what has happened over the last year to ensure business continuity through some of the most trying times the world of manufacturing has seen.
The noise and busyness are key factors of what makes our manufacturing sites such wonderful places that our team enjoy visiting. Output has always been everything and will continue to be a huge measure used by boards as we move forwards this year.
John says “In the early pandemic days it was devastating to hear from clients whose demand had totally slumped and in some cases fallen off a cliff. But as things picked up again, challenges to existing production lines became apparent. Some companies found that changeover times became critical, especially where contamination was not acceptable, whereas others needed to modernise their production lines to maintain output levels with fewer operators and staff.”
Many manufacturers have planned their future to provide this greater agility in their production; Make UK, whose survey of its members, found that ‘more than half of companies plan to invest more or bring forward investment plans.’
In an opinion piece released this week by The Engineer these changes look set for the remainder of the year especially as supply disruption has been greater than ever. Honda being an example where earlier this year the factory had to close due to cope the lack of components and securing a viable manufacturing future.
Another element of the impact of the virus is that has been witnessed is that rapid digital transformation to remote, virtual working. Having set Bennett Engineering Design Solutions Limited up to operate as a virtual business some 20 years ago it’s been amazing to see such a radical transformation when it’s come to online, virtual, digital, systemisation, data handling and more.
“Traditionally IT programmes take a long time to come to materialise, but time was definitely not on anyone’s side last year. Many businesses have had to move part or all of their systems to the cloud to enable new adaptive solutions for working. Those who needed to make the transition had to do it quickly and it’s good to see the adoption of so many online tools. Whilst face to face is always a preferred option using online communication tools has been essential to maintain project progress over the last 12 months and will continue to feature in our daily lives for speed if nothing more.” Craig highlights.
Real time production and project data is now easier than ever to maintain and access which helps make speedier and better decisions. The adoption of technology is likely to speed up even further in the manufacturing industry after the successes seen by many large and small organisations. “Using your business data and having it accessible at the touch of a button is essential for business stability and optimisation” Craig concludes.
There’s many predictions for the UK manufacturing industry; our team have seen a lot happen in recent times. The best outcome can only be collaboration where multiple manufacturers can come together to plan the best way forward with the things like supply which are likely to be a headache for the rest of 2021.
Otherwise it’s great to see our manufacturing growth on the up, according to The Office for National Statistics, by some 1.3% in February 2021 compared to the same month in 2020.