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Control technology: The key to solving the UK productivity challenge?

04 December 2023

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, output per hour worked was just 0.6 percent above its pre-pandemic 2019 average in the first quarter of 2023. This leaves the UK’s productivity on the same slow upward trajectory that it has followed since the financial crisis – and well below the trend that prevailed between the early 1970s and 2008.

Here, Stephen Hayes, Managing Director of Beckhoff UK, explains how control technology can play a key role in solving the UK’s productivity puzzle.

The UK's productivity has not made significant progress since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the financial crisis, it has been on a relatively weak growth path, as the productivity progress has not been strong enough to match the historical trend that existed for several decades prior to 2008. 

Consequently, this puts the overall economic health and competitiveness of the country at risk, with productivity being a key driver of economic growth and living standards. For example, low productivity in a country's manufacturing sector can erode competitiveness, which leads to higher production costs, reduced exports, slower economic growth, and potential job losses. 

However, automation can mitigate these risks, as automated processes streamline production and increase efficiency. In fact, many employees and leaders already view automation as a complementary tool, with Harvard Business Review reporting that more than 90 percent of recently surveyed workers said automation increased their productivity. 

It’s time to square the circle of companies being aware of the automation benefits, at a time when the UK finds itself in a productivity black hole. 

Read the full article in DPA's December issue

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