March 2019: 20 key things that happened in manufacturing you should know

Posted on 1 Apr 2019 by Maddy White

March has been a turbulent month for UK politics, despite this, British manufacturing has continued to innovate and negate any obstacles it has encountered. Here are The Manufacturer's top 20 most engaged features as Q1 2019 drew to a close.

From overcoming the challenges of digitalisation and data driven Irish cream, to blockchain and the circular economy, March was a lively month in The Manufacturer’s calendar.  

Digital Transformation Internet of Things (IOT) technology with AR (Augmented Reality) on VR dashboard. Businessman making presentation with his colleagues and business strategy digital layer effect at the office - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Image courtesy of Depositphotos.

1) Digital Transformation: How to avoid the five common pitfalls

Global competition, shifting customer demands and a surge in digitalisation are just some of the trends changing the face of modern manufacturing. Here are some common stumbling blocks to avoid on your digital transformation journey.

2) The Manufacturer Podcast: Can Make UK make UK manufacturing great again?

During the course of the National Manufacturing Conference earlier this year, the organisers EEF announced a change of name, a change of brand and a more sharply defined mission that will make them more attuned to the needs of modern manufacturing. Nick Peters discussed the re-brand with chief executive Stephen Phipson.

3) Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Summit 2019: Key takeaways

UK manufacturing is well behind its international peers when it comes to automation and robotics – something often raised during any discussion of the country’s lacklustre productivity growth in recent years. This year’s sold-out Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Summit tackled this pressing concern head-on, helping the 80 senior manufacturing executives in attendance to better define their way forward.

The sold-out Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Summit gathered together 80 senior manufacturing executives - image courtesy of The Manufacturer.
Image courtesy of The Manufacturer.

4) Annual Manufacturing Report 2019: Some key takeaways

Here is a flavour of what we discovered in the Annual Manufacturing Report 2019, a comprehensive overview of the sector’s state of mind in this critical year. It is not one to be missed!

5) The Manufacturer Top 100 nominations are open: Highlight your inspirational figures of 2019!

The Manufacturer Top 100 is one of the most joyous projects in our calendar, celebrating the most inspiring individuals in UK manufacturing. Nominations opened in March, be sure to highlight your manufacturing heroes now!

6) Why entering award programmes matters and top tips to get on the shortlist

As many of you know, each year, The Manufacturer puts out a call for entry to the Manufacturing Excellence (MX) Awards (for 2019, calls for entry started in February and run to 28 June).

Last month, Paul Stead explained why entering award programmes matters and provides some top tips for getting onto the shortlist. Who knows, you may even become a future winner!

7) Top tips: Transforming the role of finance in manufacturing

Making Tax Digital - Graph on rows of coins for finance and banking on digital - image courtesy of Depositphotos
Image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Do you want to know how your manufacturing firm can be strategic in its finance function? Finance executives from industry-leading manufacturers like Aston Martin and Caterpillar share insights on how finance teams can drive transformation in your business today.

8) How is every single link in the BMW supply chain being tightened?

Digital technologies unquestionably have the power to make supply chains more transparent and more efficient. They connect manufacturers to suppliers at one end and to customers at the other. Nick Peters visited the BMW plant in Regensburg to learn more.

9) What is blockchain technology and how is it changing the manufacturing industry?

Blockchain can simply be defined as record-keeping database technology that stores blocks of information on a chain. But how can it transform your manufacturing operations?

10) The skills side-step: How manufacturers are ensuring their future workforce

The skills gap remains one of the biggest and most consistent challenges in industry. What measures are manufacturers taking to ensure they have their future talent secured?

11) The secret behind one Norfolk manufacturer’s remarkable revival

The recession of 2008 left the Norwich engineering and manufacturing company Lintott in dire straits. A new team took the company over in 2012 and decided on a strategy that had data at its core. The transformation has been remarkable.

Vertical Farming - AeroFarms is a pioneer of aeroponic farming with an ambition to set up vertical farms in towns and cities across the world - image courtesy of AeroFarms.
Image courtesy of AeroFarms.

12) Vertical farming: Growing food in the air and the role of big data

The world’s food chain faces a growing crisis from climate change, population growth and the contamination of water and soil via intensive farming.

A new type of agriculture – vertical farming – has been developed that offers hope, and food, for the future. And it is all made possible by data and lean manufacturing. TM reports.

13) First Ireland Spirits: The smoothest blend

For our March issue, The Manufacturer visited First Ireland Spirits, a leading Irish Cream manufacturer who produce 1.3 million (9L) cases of the liquid in the heart of rural Ireland every year. The business aims to lead the herd, not follow it.

14) Five positive stories for UK apprenticeships

The 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week 2019 took place from 4-8 March, and to celebrate we rounded up five positive stories surrounding UK manufacturing apprenticeships.

15) Could blockchain be the key to IoT security?

A framework has been published showing how blockchain technology can be used to enhance the security, privacy and manageability of IoT devices and networks. Will blockchain play a vital role in the future of manufacturers’ cyber security?

(R) Morven Burden at The Manufacturer MX Awards 2018 - image courtesy of The Manufacturer.
Image courtesy of The Manufacturer.

16) Five kickass stories about women in manufacturing

It was International Women’s Day last month (8 March), and to celebrate we rounded up five (of the many) kickass stories about women in industry.

17) The Manufacturer podcast: The Accidental Manufacturer

Duncan Jones grew up in America dreaming of designing cars. As a young man he chose to become an architect instead, but just as he was embarking on his professional career designing buildings, he was sent to Bolton, Lancashire, to build the family business. Editorial director, Nick Peters, spoke to managing director of Philadelphia Scientific, Duncan Jones.

18) Cheese into vodka! The benefits of a circular economy

A seamless circular economy is an enviable strategy for businesses. One manufacturer implementing this is the world’s oldest cheddar maker, Barber’s, whose cheesemaking by-products are being made into infant formula products, used in energy creation and even turned into vodka. Maddy White visited the Somerset factory.

19) 5G farming: The challenges of being rural

Dairy farming has formed a vital part of agriculture for thousands of years, but as milk prices remain volatile and dairy farmers look to more profitable enterprises, the industry faces an increasingly uncertain future.

Reporter, Maddy White, visited a 5G testbed in Somerset to find out about the connectivity challenges rural businesses face.

James Cadbury – using data to sell upmarket chocolate with personalisation and customisation

20) Data: The start-up enabler

When James Cadbury – the relative of the founder of the chocolate brand, John Cadbury – decided to create his own version of what was once the family business, he knew the traditional high-investment, high-risk way wouldn’t work for him

The Manufacturer’s editorial director, Nick Peters, reported for TM’s March issue.