Digital Manufacturing Week launch begins a year-long celebration of UK industrial excellence

Posted on 24 Feb 2020 by Jonny Williamson

Digital Manufacturing Week, Europe’s festival of advanced manufacturing, officially launched today at a House of Lords reception hosted by the chairman and founder of Cobra Beer, Lord Bilimoria, and attended by 200 of UK industry’s leading manufacturers, technologists and manufacturing academics.

Digital Manufacturing Week , which takes place this year 10-13 November 2020 at Exhibition Centre Liverpool is a celebration of advanced manufacturing that attracts thousands of manufacturers every year, bringing together ideas, experience and energy across a range of events engineered to support their digital transformation journeys. 

At the launch, despite continuing uncertainty over the impact of external forces like Brexit and Coronavirus on the globally-connected manufacturing sector, the industry’s biggest players and stakeholders were in positive mood.

The Lord Bilimoria CBE told the assembled guests, “Manufacturing is important to the U.K. We excel at it and we are leaders of industry.

The Manufacturer's MD Grace Gilling with Lord Bilimoria, host of the launch of Digital Manufacturing Week
The Manufacturer’s MD Grace Gilling with Lord Bilimoria, host of the launch of Digital Manufacturing Week

“We are launching Digital Manufacturing Week today in recognition of that which drives this industry: the technology and the skills that ultimately makes its way to end users, such as hospitals and businesses, who in turn share that technology and knowledge with one another.

“It is inspiring and it is important.”

James Selka, CEO of the MTA, the Manufacturing Technologies Association said, “As a sector, we continue to struggle to get the country’s support on our side, which is disappointing – especially when we have a positive impact of 23% on UK GDP and have talent entries coming into manufacturing who can ‘earn as they learn’.

“Long-standing programmes, led by champions of industry like The Manufacturer, who host events like The Manufacturing MX (Manufacturing Excellence) Awards, are great ways to draw attention to the excellence we have within our sector.”

Support for The Manufacturer’s industry supporting events, which also include The Manufacturer Top 100, came from Jan Ward, CEO of Corrotherm, “I think this is a really important movement by The Manufacturer, who have made a fantastic contribution to bringing manufacturers together, getting them to help to promote our industry to a whole range of people and to change the image of the industry for the better and to reflect how it actually is in the modern day.”

Reflecting on the challenges facing UK manufacturing today – and the great skill with which manufacturers meet those challenges – Lord Bilimoria told the audience, “We have phenomenal capabilities in this country and fantastic universities, and if we have the confidence in our people in industry, (then) that will enable us to deal with any political uncertainty, challenges of adaptability, skills and education that must be negotiated as we move forward.

“I’ve heard some people say that adaptability is the key to survival. I say you must adapt in business – or die!”

What is Digital Manufacturing Week? 

It is a diverse range of expert speakers, technology pioneers, learning sessions, networking events and awards, helping businesses at all stages of their Industry 4.0 development to connect and collaborate. 

Smart Factory Expo (11-12 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

For the fifth year, Smart Factory Expo brings together the technologies enabling the digital manufacturing revolution – creating a carefully-curated shop window for manufacturers at all stages of their digital journey. As the flagship event in the week, it brings together 6,000 manufacturing leaders, 200+ technology exhibitors and 250+ knowledge session in the seven theme zones. 

Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit (11-12 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

Now in its 12th year, Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit attracts 300 C-suite manufacturers to collaboratively develop ideas on industrial disruption and innovation. This top-tier gathering sets the industrial agenda with contributions from the CEOs of UK FT 500 companies, entrepreneurial high-growth ‘Gazelles’, and some of the finest minds from academia. 

The Manufacturer Top 100 (11 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

At a celebratory evening reception, The Manufacturer Top 100 honours 100 of the year’s most influential leaders and rising stars who are making the biggest difference to UK manufacturing. 

The Manufacturer MX Awards (12 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

The Manufacturer MX Awards are UK manufacturing’s leading awards, in partnership with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), showcasing industry excellence across 10 categories with over 800 in attendance, and crowning the country’s ‘Manufacturer of the Year’. 

Lean Manufacturing Summit (11 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

Exploring Lean thinking for the digital era as operational excellence leaders learn how to optimise processes, reduce variance and cut operational costs. The focus is on different approaches to unlocking value from existing operations through incremental improvements and new technology capabilities. 

Manufacturing People & Skills Summit (12 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

Harnessing the talent and potential of more diverse workforces is key to future success. Removing barriers, breaking ceilings, providing inclusive career opportunities and strengthening mentor networks – these are all essential for UK manufacturing to increase its access to the available talent.  

Supply Chain & Logistics Summit (12 November, Exhibition Centre Liverpool) 

Aligning people, process, culture and technology is key to delivering resilient, agile supply chains in a fast-changing world. As trading relationships change, product development cycles accelerate, and new threats emerge to the global economy – supply chain leaders will learn how to improve visibility and predictability across supply chains.