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Industry expert calls upon UK manufacturers to “adopt digitalisation now”

10 May 2023

An industry expert is urging a “step change” in manufacturing, in order to bolster supply chain resilience and mitigate ongoing disruption.

Luke Smoothy, Founder and Director of Get It Made, says that improving supply chain monitoring arms manufacturers with the capabilities to identify, react to and better manage emerging issues. 

He argues that while volatility triggered by the pandemic has forced businesses to evolve their supply chains, there is a significant gap in technology investment which needs to be addressed before it is too late. This is reflected in the fact that 62 percent of businesses have not changed their strategy to invest in supply chain technology.

He said: “Organisations must start to take back some control amid an unstable landscape and actively seize the opportunities found in technology such as digitalisation and automation

“We must learn to live with volatility in the same way we are learning to live with Covid and harness technology to mitigate its impact and embrace its many game-changing benefits. 

“After all, tech is here to stay and will change the face of business and industry. If manufacturers don’t make that step change now, then it will fall behind the curve compared to other industries in terms of transformation.

“Further statistics by Make UK have revealed that only 46 percent of organisations use dashboards and analytics, 14 percent have supply chain control towers, and eight percent utilise AI and machine learning. 

“Yet, despite this, there seems to be a growing belief in the industry that data and cloud computing will positively impact productivity and efficiency. Now is the time for them to put the wheel into motion.”

Other findings in the report show that 93 percent of manufacturing businesses agreed that supply chains will remain under pressure through 2024 at least. 

“While 82 percent of manufacturers stated that supply chain monitoring is critical to their business, around a quarter neither monitor up or down the supply chain, and although 47 percent have increased supply chain monitoring, this still falls significantly short.

Smoothy added: “More manufacturers would benefit from using tech to track assets, by investing in automated asset management devices that allow them to track goods as they move through the supply chain. 

“Internet-connected tracking systems streamline what could be a very labour-intensive, tedious manual task by collecting data wirelessly from antennas or tags attached to containers, boxes, or even specific items. 

“Of course, this data isn’t helpful unless it’s used to make decisions. For instance, collecting data on how long it takes to ship a particular component along a certain route can help a manufacturer look for ways to optimise its workflows in the future, increasing efficiency.”

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