Digitisation will help cure British economy, says Juergen Maier

Posted on 23 May 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The CEO of Siemens, Juergen Maier, was tasked by the government to head a review into how government industrial strategy should evolve, to ensure that advanced digital technologies will give manufacturing in the UK the brightest possible future.

Juergen Maier has enlisted The Manufacturer’s help in ensuring as many manufacturers as possible get involved in the review.

Juergen Maier, CEO - UK & Ireland, Siemens.
Juergen Maier, CEO – UK & Ireland, Siemens.

It is understandable that some in business feel a weary sense of déjà vu when it comes to government consultation on strategy. Historically, the effort we invest in making our views known has not generally been rewarded, particularly for those in the SME sector.

This time, we urge everyone to park their cynicism and listen to the request from Juergen Maier and his board of industry peers and experts for input into his Industrial Digitalisation Review. Details of how to do that are at the bottom of the page.

In his own words, this is why he thinks we all need to grasp this once-in-a-generation moment:

“The purpose of this Review is to work out how UK manufacturing can increase its use of digital technology and automation to become more productive and competitive. Of course, there is nothing new in this: the essence of manufacturing has always been about using new technologies and finding new ways of working.  But this latest technological trend – connected, smart products that collect data and communicate it to users – is sure to create new business models, service offerings and, very importantly, brand new industries.

“But as always there is a global race to get ahead.  So the Industrial Digitalisation review is about identifying policy interventions and support mechanisms that will encourage advanced manufacturing, and broader industry in the UK, to invest more in digital technologies and drive faster innovation and automation of industrial processes.

“At the same time, there is a wider economic and societal imperative for doing this. It isn’t just about numbers, processes and investment strategies, because if we get this right, there is a massive prize – creating a key lever and a cure for the British economy. Creating opportunities for many new and highly-skilled and well-paid jobs, and giving more people in our economy the chance to feel less like they are being left behind. This is of course a message we have been hearing loudly from many of our communities, especially outside of the South East.

“Get it wrong and we will de-industrialise more, losing out on high-value, well-paid jobs and relying on imports even more than we currently do.  If this happens, it is sure to be harder for the UK to balance its books and living standards would inevitably drop.”

As Juergen says, getting this right is of fundamental importance to us as manufacturers, to the people we work with and the communities in which we live. We urge you to make your views known. Don’t feel that your voice will go unheard. Juergen and his board have committed to reflecting the opinion of companies right across the sector.

This is where to make it happen: industrialdigitalisation.org.uk/your-voice

It shouldn’t take too much of your time, but the importance of doing it should be self-evident.

We will be interviewing Juergen Maier about the outcome of the review in the September issue of The Manufacturer.