At the International Festival for Business (IFB) 2016, KTN’s manufacturing team were challenged by their director to develop a high profile, innovative initiative that could make a major impact helping manufacturers to innovate. Fired up, we set to and started developing a plan.
Here we are two years later and coming up to the next International Business Festival (Yes – they’ve swapped the words around – IBF, not IFB this time), a perfect time to step back and review progress.
So, what was the starting point? Through a range of initiatives KTN had run over the years (on topics such as flexible manufacturing and business model innovation), allied with the expertise of our tech-focused staff (specialists in the cutting-edge in sensors, robotics, etc.) we were very aware of a raft of digital technologies, and the bubbling up of talk of how these technologies have potential to drive a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
In parallel, we were very aware of how productivity was (and remains) a big challenge for the UK, and how these digital approaches can have a major role in tackling it.
Furthermore, we realised that KTN was in a unique position to help SMEs with this agenda. It was on these pillars that we developed our 4Manufacturing initiative working closely from the start with partners including The Manufacturer.
In the intervening two years we have built and tested a framework that:
- Starts the first dialogue
- Establishes a starting point
- Informs a plan of action
- Signposts to the right support, providers and funding – on an impartial basis – including innovative SME solution providers, HVM Catapult, Innovate UK funding, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and more.
- Enables tracking of impacts
This has now been tested, proven and refined with more than 200 manufacturing SMEs and we are working with regional partners to provide access to businesses in their respective regions. Our aim as always is to join things up and make things straightforward for business.
To achieve this, we have developed a digital version of the framework, and there’s a certain poetry to the fact that we will be launching this at this year’s IBF.
Come and see us on the joint stand which will form the festival’s ‘UK innovation hub’. This will feature a mixture of government support including DIT, BEIS and UKRI.
Also at IBF we will be working with The Manufacturer:
- to help launch a complementary tool we’ve been working on called Digital Readiness Levels (DRL)
- to support their two Summits – on Innovation (21 June) and Women and Diversity (20 June).
There’s no need to wait two years for another update – if you’re interested to find out more about how KTN can help you, do come along and talk to us at IBF, sign up to our newsletters and keep an eye on our website.
Ben Peace, Head of Manufacturing, KTN
20 June 2018
Exhibition Centre Liverpool
Manufacturing Innovation Summit brings together directors, executive managers and heads of business units in an interactive format that sits delegates alongside some of the UK’s most experienced directors and experts from world class solution providers – with an emphasis on expertly-led small group discussions.