Accelerating Digitalisation in Manufacturing & Engineering
19 July 2017
The only way to counter uncertainty in the workforce is to invest in an accelerated rate of digitalisation in the manufacturing and engineering industries, according to business leaders across several market sectors. Not only will a more digital workplace allow our business to maximise productivity, it will also boost our existing skills set, enabling us to compete for international trade and export contracts.
Siemens polled 30 CEOs and Board Executives at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, and 44% of those surveyed felt that the UK was too slow in embracing the digitalisation of existing manufacturing operations. This resulted in a lack of drive to boost competitiveness within the industry. Only 19% of the respondents thought that the UK was ahead of target in terms of achieving a digital workforce.
The Goodwood Festival was attended by business leaders from industries such as automotive, construction and aerospace, with the intention of discussing how to tackle the challenges facing the UK economy over the next few years whilst Brexit deals are negotiated.
Two main factors emerged from the conference, according to The Manufacturer magazine; digital skills and strong leadership. Both of which are needed to modernise the manufacturing industry.
Both the UK and the Scottish governments are providing extra funding to encourage young people (in particular, women) to study STEM subjects from primary school through to university. This will hopefully bridge the skills gap that both our manufacturing and engineering industries face.
The majority of those surveyed (85%) said that the lack of digital skills currently available in the market was holding the UK back from achieving its full potential. Existing workforces also need to be re-trained in new skills in order to avoid being left behind in the technology race.
Change, ultimately, has to come from the top. Strong leadership should alleviate any employee or shareholder fears about new technology. Again, the majority of those surveyed (82%) felt that business leaders in the UK were not ambitious enough to incorporate new technology or methodologies in to their work practices.
Lack of a cohesive ‘national digital strategy’ could be presenting an issue for many business owners, who are unsure how to recruit or which technology to invest in. Most companies would prefer to forge ahead with a flexible mix of new tech and traditional methods. In one of my previous blogs, I discussed how ‘cobots’ could assist with this transition.
These new and emerging technologies are going to help us compete on the international markets to secure bigger and better deals. The use of new technology any form of artificial intelligence will assist with this. Combining technological advances with our traditional pool of hard-working candidates will ensure that our manufacturing and engineering industries and both productive and profitable.
If new technology in manufacturing and engineering has affected your recruitment needs, me and my team would love to discuss our highly qualified, available candidates with you. We recruit across a wide range of jobs titles – from entry level to senior executives. Click here to contact us.
Written By Michelle McLaughlin