Almost everyone would agree that the industry must embrace the shift into the digital era. It has definitely been a hot topic within the industry for a while now – and for good reason too. It is vital that we adopt the latest digital technologies if we are to stay up to speed with the rest of industry globally.
In order to get the most out of the latest digital technologies, it is important we invest time and money into discovering the best ways to utilise it.
There has been an increasing demand into ‘smart’ manufacturing processes that can provide data in real-time. This is something being increasingly seen in Air Products and other similar products within the industry.
Therefore it is important we do not simply adopt every latest technology for the sake of it, and need to ensure that the new technology addresses a specific need. It needs to provide a tangible value to the manufacturing service that can be measured by its efficiency, sustainability or productivity.
But what’s the best way to do this? Increased investment into R&D. Making this as a key focus, coupled with greater investment is a winning recipe to better understand digital technology.
There is still a lack of confidence within the UK industry to adopt the latest technologies in comparison to other countries. This was reflected in the latest Annual Manufacturing Report, which showed that other countries are more receptive to new tech.
This lack of trust stems from an incorrect assumption that the digital era spells the end of the manufacturing industry. Rather than view it as a revolution, we should view it as a positive evolution that can help propel the industry to greater things.
The processes of the manufacturing industry will remain largely the same, technology will simply streamline them, making them more efficient, saving time and money.
For it to work, it also important that everyone collaborates together. There is a responsibility for the government in a leadership role to bring industry bodies and voices together but to also speed up the process of collaboration between SME’s and suppliers.
We are often afraid of sharing information and knowledge with the fear of giving competitors the edge. But we don’t have to give away company secrets in order to plan dedicated events, sharing knowledge on forums or working together on projects.
With the collective brain power of the industry united with a common goal of digital integration, we are far more likely to see a successful evolution into the next era of the industry.
It is important that we embrace digital sooner rather than later. With it being such a fast paced industry, if we do not act now we are in danger of falling even further behind. It is critical we embrace technology and adopt more of a pioneering mindset instead of having to play catch up with other countries.