ERP – Simplify your strategic investment decisions

The Manufacturer | 01st April 2014 | Free, IT

As the thought-provoking articles and case studies in this report demonstrate, selecting and implementing an ERP system is no light matter.

Make the right decision though, and ERP can be truly transformative. Especially for smaller and midmarket manufacturers where ERP usually replaces a hotchpotch of spreadsheets, accounting and invoicing systems, and basic sales and works order systems.

ERP, in other words, is a journey. So on that journey, let the following pages serve as your guide.

Annual Manufacturing Report 2014

The Manufacturer | 02nd April 2014 | Free, Government, Research and policy

The Annual Manufacturing Report 2014 surveyed 182 UK manufacturers in Q4 2013 across five key areas: Economy, policy and risk; Finance; Automation; Skills; and ICT.

The Report (AMR) was researched by The Manufacturer magazine and produced in association with Barclays, Zurich, Pera Training, eBECS and the Automation Advisory Board.

Key findings:

  • 94% of respondents reporting that they are ‘very’ or ‘quite optimistic’; the highest figure since the survey began in 2008
  • Nine out of 10 respondents believed German manufacturers received more support from their government than companies in the UK
  • 58% of companies reported investing more in machinery/machine tools in the last financial year than they did the previous year
  • Two thirds of respondents (67%) say that they plan on spending more on IT in the next 12 months than they did in the previous year
  • More than three quarters (78%) of manufacturers reported implementing a form of automation into their manufacturing process in the last five years
  • 68% of companies provide accredited training to less than 1 in 10 workers

Europe: A manifesto for growth

EEF | Free, Research and policy

Britain’s manufacturers have set out a radical plan to reform the EU and help it focus on lifting the Eurozone out of the economic doldrums.

The proposals from EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation are contained in ‘Europe – A Manifesto for Growth’. They come just six weeks before the European elections in May and follow a positive business campaign to keep Britain at the heart of the EU. Proposals include a call for a reduction in the number of European Commissioners, and the creation of a powerful new Brussels-based red tape taskforce which would have a similar function to the Better Regulation Executive established in the UK. EU Manifesto report January 140214

MACH 2014 – the UK’s largest event for Manufacturing Technologies

MACH 2014, which will be held at the NEC Birmingham 7-11 April, is the only exhibition in the UK where you can see a full range of manufacturing technologies, at work, under power. Download the pre-event supplement from The Manufacturer for the latest on the event.

About MACH:

The size and scope of MACH is way beyond anything else in the country and really does provide a one stop shop for the latest technology. Whether it’s the mightiest machine tools (and there will be a 43 tonne behemoth on display!), the most sensitive of gauges, or the latest in 3D printing technologies you can see it all under one roof.

Visitors to MACH 2014 will see new technologies opening up new possibilities at every point of the value chain. For the first time MACH 2014 is welcoming major aerospace OEMs into the show as exhibitors; with Airbus, Rolls Royce and Messier-Bugatti-Dowty taking their places on the floor in the UK Manufacturing Zone, alongside small and medium sized companies which are either in their supply chains, or aspire to be.

Automation and Robotics Report 2013

SayOne Media | 01st November 2013 | Free

Britain lags behind most of Europe and the US in its adoption of automation and technology advocates say this makes the its competitive profile precarious in a world where leadership in strategic automation is becoming more influential in the fight for market share and supply contracts.

In this supplement we dive into more detail on BARA’s Automate Manufacturing campaign and showcase the work of some of its members with UK manufacturers.

Epicor: Inspired to Make It

Epicor Software, a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations, today announced that UK manufacturing success is being held back by an Inspiration Gap, according to its new study of businesses in the sector – Inspired to Make It.

Over 300 senior UK manufacturing executives put their company’s Inspiration Rating at 5.7 out of 10 in the study – a measure of how encouraged they feel about their business and industry’s future prospects. Most recognize that dramatic change in the sector is needed for survival.

The Manufacturer’s 2013 Energy supplement: Part I

Britain’s primary energy production is falling. In 2012, the amount of energy produced in the UK declined 10.7% on the previous year (p4).

Energy generation technologies to redress this ebbing tide of UK energy production are in the pipeline – but viable options for large scale generation like commercial shale gas and new nuclear are still 10-15 years away. In the meantime, the UK is increasingly turning to imported energy to fill the void and, with depleting fossil fuel stores and environmental regulation in the balance; this means that energy bills are moving rapidly in one direction – up.

What are you doing about this?

While the spot price for commercial electricity is out of your control, there are many things companies can do to minimise energy costs. Forward purchasing is a wellknown tactic and big companies will be fluent, but can smaller firms play the market too (p12)?

There’s a maturing market for specialist commercial energy advice and power brokers and aggregators are finding innovative ways to help companies of all sizes benefit from a recent swell in self-generation (p10).

Critically, manufacturers must understand their own energy needs and usage patterns and they must be confident that their contracts are based on value for money, not empty marketing spiel (p6). Acknowledging hidden influences on energy costs is one step towards achieving this and this supplement aims to highlight these; encouraging more strategic approaches to energy purchasing for responsiveness to short term fluctuations and security in the long run.

Two subsequent reports will build on this theme with insight into technologies for energy optimisation in plant and options for on-site power generation.

The Manufacturer’s 2013 Energy supplement: Part II

In October 2013, the Royal Academy of Engineering published GB Electricity Capacity Margin*, a report, commissioned by government to investigate the reality of Britain’s energy security in the immediate and medium-term future.

The findings of this report are clear. The UK’s energy capacity margin is precariously thin to survive in the event of parallel stresses being put on the Grid – like a bought of cold weather coinciding with an outage at a single generation plant.

But the reasons for this, and the proposed solutions, are less clear cut. There’s a complex interplay between political and market forces which is both the cause and effect of energy strategy uncertainty. As the RAEng report observes, these conditions have caused supply shortages and price spike crises in other countries in the past – for example in Ontario Canada in 2002-2003 and in Victoria, Australia in 2000.

With six major energy companies hauled before the Energy and Climate Change Committee last month to explain the wave of significant price increases they had just announced, there are ominous signs that the UK could be on the brink of a similar fiasco.

On the other hand, there have been recent announcements which suggest the longer term future of energy security in the UK is being attended to.

October saw confirmation that GDF Suez will invest £25m in UK shale gas, partnering with UK-based Dart Energy to explore the reserves in Cheshire and the East Midlands. Jean-Marie Dauger, chief executive of GDF Suez, said: “We are very confident about the potential of shale gas in the UK, and its anticipated contributions to UK energy security.”

Also last month, the UK had confirmation that the its first new nuclear power station in almost 60 years will go ahead.

Many in industry welcomed the confirmation of Hinkley Point C. For those in the nuclear supply chain who have been chewing their nails awaiting a strike price agreement for years, the October announcement hails movement on contracts, orders and cash flow at long last. For those outside the supply chain, the prospect of new nuclear capacity in the UK also offers hope of a reliable, low carbon energy source to supply their operations in years to come.

Putting other controversies about nuclear power aside, the question which remains for industry is; will it come too late? And what can manufacturers do in the decade before Hinkley Point C, and other sizable investments in Britain’s energy infrastructure, become operational? The following pages explore the challenges and opportunities in securing energy supplies for competitive UK-based manufacturing.

The Manufacturer’s 2014 Energy supplement: Part III

Energy optimisation for manufacturing companies in the UK.

Recent action by government prompted energy firms to promise they will pass on savings to consumers, supposedly dulling the pain of rising energy costs for domestic and commercial users. In addition, many energy providers have promised to freeze prices after a wave of increases to energy costs this winter.

But these measures distract from the fact that energy costs in the UK are still significantly higher than those in mainland Europe, that they continue on an overall upwards trend and that there was no announcement in Chancellor Osborne’s Autumn Statement which specifically addressed the burden of energy bills on UK enterprise, particularly energy intensive users such as manufacturers.

Analysis by the bank Credit Suisse said in June 2013 that UK energy prices were likely to be double those seen in Germany by the end of 2016 and some energy intensive companies – like Tata Steel – already reckon they pay 50% more in the UK than in France or Germany.

Lobbying government to introduce energy tax reliefs and incentivise energy companies to apply better contract terms can reduce the crippling impact of energy costs for businesses. But a third critical element in reducing your energy bills is to make sure you are getting the most out of the energy you are paying for.

This supplement investigates a selection of energy optimisation technologies – some with government investment incentives and funding attached. Contributions from energy providers like E.ON – the only major energy provider not to have announced a winter price rise in 2013 at time of writing – also show the importance of energy monitoring and measurement in order to better understand usage and distribution in your business.



  • ERP – Simplify your strategic investment decisions

    As the thought-provoking articles and case studies in this report demonstrate, selecting and implementing an ERP system is no light matter. Make the right decision though, and ERP can be truly transformative. Especially for smaller and midmarket manufacturers where

  • Annual Manufacturing Report 2014

    The Annual Manufacturing Report 2014 surveyed 182 UK manufacturers in Q4 2013 across five key areas: Economy, policy and risk; Finance; Automation; Skills; and ICT. The Report (AMR) was researched by The Manufacturer magazine and

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