The growth in technology and applications underpinning Industry 4.0 is having a massive impact on British manufacturing. Brian Williamson discusses how British firms can make the most of their investments.
When it comes to Industry 4.0, almost everyone in manufacturing sees the benefits flowing from advances in technology and capabilities. It offers bespoke items at mass-production costs, reducing overheads by knitting together the different stages of manufacturing and improving industry’s responsiveness to consumer tastes.
The main point of contention, especially for SMEs, occurs when discussing the scale of costs and implementation. Ensuring all your processes and equipment are in line with an integrated system takes time, planning and investment.
What many fail to take into account is that organisations can recoup some of that investment thanks to R&D tax credits from the government.
Discovering what is and isn’t eligible for tax credits is the start of the process. “There’s a fundamental requirement for eligibility – an intent to make an advance in science and/or technology. You have to ask, is this a global advance or not?” said Brian Williamson, managing director at Jumpstart Ltd.
Jumpstart is an expert at ensuring firms get the best return for their R&D tax credit claims. The opportunities that Industry 4.0 offers are huge, and aren’t lost on Williamson, who believes that the government should be taking a leading role in backing British industry.
“I do think this is as big as the industrial revolution. There’s a really big opportunity here, and government has a role. Money funds growth, and that’s where government can provide support.”
Williamson is clear that companies must learn to embrace and immerse themselves in Industry 4.0 in order to fully understand it. However, it’s difficult for firms to keep up to date with all the latest innovations – firms don’t go into business to monitor trends; they want to create a product.
This is where Jumpstart can help; its aim is to make it easier for firms by benchmarking current standards, enabling them to see whether or not their tax credit claim is optimal – and if not, why not.
There has been a large increase in the number of SMEs applying for R&D tax credits – an impressive 60% of new claimants are SMEs. This highlights the resurgence of British manufacturing and the rise of firms adopting Industry 4.0.
“We’ve got a long history of innovation in this country. We have the history, the talent and a great education system – we’ve got all the building blocks. We can do this, and we really can compete on the world stage,” concluded Williamson.