Industry 4.0, Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Digital Transformation – it may go by different names, but there is an unmistakeable shift going on in UK manufacturing, says Nicholas Cox.
I have been spending much of this year talking to successful manufacturers – at home in the UK, and abroad – as I put together the agenda for The Manufacturer Leaders Conference.
What is clear to me is that digital manufacturing is a massive opportunity for British companies – digital tools are enabling manufacturers to raise their competitiveness and create entirely new markets for their products.
The only question should be, “Where do I start?”
The Low-Hanging Fruit of 4IR:
1. Bigger revenues through supplementary and complementary service offerings
2. Happy, healthier more productive workforces as a result of collaborative robots – or ‘cobots’ – and intelligent automated systems
3. Compressed innovation and new product introduction (NPI) cycles meaning you get your products designed, made and sold in a fraction of the time we are used to
4. Flexible, agile supply chains meaning less inventory and warehousing cost will grow margins
5. Healthier cash flow and liquidity afforded by reductions in CapEx through cloud computing and SaaS enterprise solutions
Many of the manufacturers speaking at The Manufacturer Leaders Conference see the advantages of pooling knowledge and maximising competitive advantages through collaborative networks of skills and capabilities.
If the output you require is available at a lower opportunity cost elsewhere why not outsource and concentrate on your core business and greatest value add activates? Being part of a wider network of capabilities means you can improve quality, reduce lead times, scale your output and tap into a great level of specialised skills and experience.
The Manufacturer Leaders Conference
15-16 November, Liverpool Exhibition Centre
The 9th annual Leaders Conference brings together more than 500 industry leaders for a manufacturer-to-manufacturer driven dialogue, across five streams over two days – and this year we focus on how the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change:
· The role of the CEO
· Supply Chain & Operations
· Smart Design
· Automation and Smart Factories
· Industrial Internet, Big Data & Cyber Security
The future of UK manufacturing remains uncharted – I hope you will join me, and over 500 of your peers, to begin mapping out a way forward.