UK manufacturers accelerate digital investments, new survey shows

The UK manufacturing industry is increasingly embracing the digital industrial revolution as it bids to boost productivity, improve energy efficiency and overcome supply chain shocks caused by COVID and Brexit.

This is according to a major report published today by Make UK and enterprise software specialists Infor.

But, with four out of five manufacturing firms now planning to boost digital investment over the next two years there are growing concerns that a shortage of skills could hamper the drive to work smarter and greener.

In response, Make UK is urging government to protect vital digital support programmes in the coming Spending Round. These include successful schemes such as Made Smarter and Help to Grow Digital which would help SMEs in particular develop digital skills and practices.

In addition, to unlock greater innovation and ideas, Make UK is also calling on Government to accelerate further private investment in R&D by expanding the R&D tax credit to include capital equipment within qualifying expenditure.

According to Make UK, the current financial challenges and the increasing cost of energy are likely to drive this revolution even further, with the survey showing that manufacturers intend to increase their investment in digital technologies in the next two years.

As a result, more companies are moving to the ‘evolution’ stage of digital adoption which is where they are implementing changes to their processes, in particular to marketing, product design, manufacturing systems and finance.

However, the survey also shows a third of companies say that the biggest inhibitor to more rapid digital adoption remains a lack of technical skills within the business.

Verity Davidge, director of policy at Make UK, said: “Our economy is undergoing a profound digital transformation with the potential to transform our lives and economy, making it more productive, resilient, and sustainable. Those countries that are better prepared for these changes will benefit the most, with the companies increasing their investment powering through the challenges that lie ahead with greater productivity, better skill levels and reduced emissions.

“The key now is for manufacturers to unlock their potential on digital adoption which will be key if we want to invest and grow. In order to aid this process Government must protect vital support programmes which are key to enabling SMEs in particular along their digital journey.”

Make UK
www.makeuk.org

Company

Make UK

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