Budget constrains main barrier to digital competitiveness

Posted on 17 Jan 2018 by Jonny Williamson

UK manufacturers can’t ensure its engineers are sufficiently trained for the advent of Industry 4.0, a new study has revealed.

UK manufacturers can’t ensure its engineers are sufficiently trained for the digital competitiveness – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

A limited training budget is one of the major barriers to competitiveness, which is directly impacting the businesses’ profitability, according to a Bosch Rexroth whitepaper.

The report, ‘Tackling the training gap in UK manufacturing’, aims to illustrate the correlation between training adoption and budget, and the impact this is having on implementation of Industry 4.0.

The white paper has shown that 43% of engineers identify budget constraints as one of the key barriers to adopting a more rigorous training plan, while over half of respondents anticipate training budgets will stagnate in their organisation over the next five years.

The report has stated that in the UK, automation is an area which is dramatically increasing, however productivity – measured both by output per worker and per hour worked – is significantly lower against the UK’s major trading partners in Europe and the US.

For this reason, automated production processes and modern automation techniques were identified in the report as the areas where the greatest gaps in knowledge exist.

The study also revealed that, in as many as a quarter of companies, less than 10 hours of training is delivered to employees each year on average.

Richard Chamberlain, service product manager at Bosch Rexroth, said: “As the UK manufacturing sector borders on the cusp of Industry 4.0 with increased automation, businesses must update their approach to training.

“We must upskill the workforce and empower engineers with the skills they need to use Industry 4.0 technologies, whilst offering continuous development opportunities to individuals is vital.”

“At face value, the survey shows that the majority of organisations are committed to training, with only a tiny proportion (2%) of organisations admit to providing no training at all.

“However, it appears, in many instances, to be piecemeal and an activity which is squeezed in around day-to-day operational requirements, rather than being seen as a core value-adding function which requires strategic investment of time, resources and of course, budget.

“What is also clear is that there was no widespread optimism around a greater commitment to, and role for, training in the next five years.”