The good news is – energy prices have been stable for the past two years and there has been so much great work done on energy efficiency over the past decade or so that it is getting to the point where future gains are going to be marginal. The bad news is – energy prices are volatile, future gains in efficiency are going to be harder to get and ROI may be longer than we have been used to.
Make the wrong decision, and it can blow up in your face. You’ll pay too much. It won’t be the right system for your business or the right system for your industry. Or you’ll outgrow it. Maybe you’ll experience all of these issues – maybe even more. 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 Buyer’s Guide 2014: Simplifying your strategic ERP decisions
Welcome to The Manufacturer’s special supplement on automation. If Prime Minister David Cameron is right and the world is in ‘fast forward mode’, then the pressure is on for UK manufacturing to raise its investment in technology and equipment to take us to the next level. It looks like we have been lagging behind, so the need is pressing.
The latest Energy Entrepreneurs Report compiled by SmartestEnergy shows a 36% jump in the number of commercial scale projects in operation across the manufacturing sector in Great Britain since last year’s report.
In total, an estimated £53.3m has been invested in 38 new projects – an average of £1.4m – and taking the total invested in recent years up to £164.3m.
The amount of money available for R&D in the UK is quite staggering: over £26bn, from public and private sources. The organisations involved from the public sector can begin to look like an alphabet soup, and just as confusing, but if businesses are serious about improving their product, it is worth spending the time to seek out the resources that are needed.
The idea of collaboration between the halls of academe and the great mills of industry are nothing new; but it is fair to say that the relationship has been revived and given new urgency by the need for advanced techniques, technology and resources.
This supplement highlights some of these partnerships and shows how industry and academia can work together to push the manufacturing sector forward.
Energy & Sustainability
If energy – its costs and source of supply – is not at the top of the agenda of regular board meetings, it should be. The price of power has risen to levels that would, just a few years ago, have been thought to be so high that they would destabilise the entire economy.
Governments – not just our own, but across the EU and the wider world – have made a deliberate policy of driving the cost of fossil fuels up and subsidising alternatives in the
quest to make us less carbon-dependent. The challenge is to avoid the quiet calm of the graveyard and stay in productive business while getting cleaner.
The Manufacturer will be hosting its Energy and Sustainability conference in July in Manchester. Find out more here.
The Manufacturer | 01st June 2014 | Free
Solving the practical problems around the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products has always been a crucial part of the manufacturing process. But it’s fair to say the subject of material handling has often gone under many people’s radars.
In this supplement, we give recognition to the materials handling industry as one of Britain’s most robust sectors and a key enable of recovery in the wider manufacturing base.
The Manufacturer | 01st April 2014 | Free
While the UK is recognised as a European leader on health and safety in the workplace there is no room for complacency when it comes to managing H&S risks.
This report looks at health and safety policy, managing stress, and materials handling standards.
The Manufacturer will be hosting its Health and Safety conference in September in London. Stay tuned to The Manufacturer events listing for details.
At 3M, we look at sustainability in terms of shared global needs and the future of our business. As the population grows, particularly in emerging economies, challenges like energy availability and security, raw material scarcity, human health and safety, education, and employment must be addressed to ensure people across the globe can lead healthy, fulfilling lives. With this in mind, social and environmental stewardship is core to the sustainability of our business and our vision for growth:
• 3M Technology Advancing Every Company
• 3M Products Enhancing Every Home
• 3M Innovation Improving Every Life
Starting with technology and culminating with the improvement of every life on the planet, we are committed to driving a growing business while supporting the personal growth of everyone on the planet.
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.
- 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
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