New Agility Assessment report reveals manufacturers are investing their way out of recruitment and supply chain woes

Posted on 23 Nov 2022 by James Devonshire

A new report has revealed how manufacturers believe their agility has fallen over the last 12 months, as firms continue to be significantly impacted by recruitment challenges and supply chain disruption. Nevertheless, there is some positive news in that many manufacturing organisations are continuing to invest in their products, people, premises and processes.

The 2022 Manufacturing Agility Assessment, which was launched on day one of Smart Factory Expo in Liverpool and is the second iteration in the Manufacturing Agility Assessment series, painted a worrying picture of labour shortages and supply chain disruption. Indeed, 55% of respondents said they have been significantly impacted when it comes to recruitment in the last year and 69% cited issues with sourcing material and components.

Conducted by HSO, your Business Transformation Partner with deep industry expertise and global reach, and industry experts Hennik Research, the survey also revealed that nearly four fifths of companies have accelerated investment in products, people, premises and processes to mitigate world events – a 17% rise on the previous year.

This was reinforced by 76% admitting they had diversified activities to overcome global shocks and just over two thirds of the total 100 respondents (67%) stockpiling inventory during the past 12 months.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

  • 47% of manufacturers say they are extremely or highly agile (vs. 74% last year)​
  • 69% of manufacturers say they have been significantly or highly impacted when it comes to Sourcing raw materials/component parts from suppliers (vs. 75% last year)​
  • 55% of manufacturers say they have been significantly or highly impacted when it comes to recruitment (vs. 46% last year)​
  • 78% of manufacturers accelerated investment plans (in products, people, premises, processes) to mitigate recent world events (vs. 61% last year)​
  • 67% of manufacturers precautionarily stockpiled inventory to mitigate recent world events (vs. 40% last year)​

Grace Gilling, managing director of Hennik Research, explained: “2021 was a time for recovery, but other factors including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, a global microprocessor shortage and an increasingly challenging recruitment landscape have hindered progress for many companies.

“The need to remain agile and the ability to adapt and react to changing situations is critical if firms want to not only survive but thrive. In fact, it is a key component in facing the obstacles associated with all the aforementioned factors, with digital transformation set to play a hugely important role in all of this.

“That’s why it’s so encouraging to see nearly four fifths of manufacturers increasing investment to mitigate economic shocks.”

James Devonshire, international reporter for Hennik Research and author of the report, added his support: “One of the most refreshing aspects of digital transformation projects – particularly for smaller manufacturing organisations – is that you don’t have to ‘go big’ to be agile.“Being agile is about always looking for the next aspect to optimise and improve. For example, a step-by-step approach, with easier to budget stages, can reap dividends.”

Matt Birtwistle, manufacturing industry director at HSO, said the report reflects many of the conversations they are having with clients.

“Manufacturers have a desire to streamline processes and boost their agility through digital transformation. However, most don’t know where to begin,” he said.

“The bottom line is that streamlining working practices through Digital Transformation doesn’t necessarily require a large investment and years of effort; as we’ve proved time and time again with our customers,” he added.

You can download your copy of the 2022 Manufacturing Agility Assessment below. The full report contains detailed insights gleaned from interviews with manufacturers to provide valuable context to the data.

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