Made Smarter : How UK manufacturing can maximise the benefits of digital technology

The UK Governments Industry led review exploring how UK manufacturing can maximise the benefits from the increasing adoption of digital technology has now been published.

Chaired by Siemens UK CEO Juergen Maier, the review was launched in January 2017 as part of the Industrial Strategy announcement, setting out the aim for the UK to be a leader in Industrial Digitalisation (ID) and identify ways to exploit the benefits of applying digital technology to the manufacturing industry through a strong industry and government partnership.

The review is the product of eight months work, led by a team of UK CEO’s from businesses large and small and has taken contributions from over 200 organisations including the UK’s world leading Universities, the CBI, Royal Academy of Engineering and the British R&D Catapult centres.

Poor Levels of Adoption Amongst SMEs

One issue that is highlighted in the review is the poor adoption of digital technology by SMEs. In particular it identifies the perceived barriers to adoption, such as the risks around cybersecurity and a lack of common standards allowing different technologies to connect.

Chairman’s Comments

Commenting on the publication on his personal blog site Juergen Mailer stated:

"Our review into digitalisation tries to address this need for a UK technology vision. We have concluded that the Government’s industrial strategy will need a red thread of digital running through its core. It will not be about reviving long gone industries but rather it will be about building the new ones, in AI, virtual reality, big data, machine learning, simulation platforms – the merging of creative digital tech and industrial tech. This will form a new vibrant and growing ‘creation sector’; creating digital tech, software, algorithms, digital media, games and many agile digital factories. Our proposals focus on how the UK can use these technologies and strengths to improve productivity, wages and the number of jobs in the economy. Industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn, increasing sector growth up to 3% per year; creating a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5% – and we think there could be a huge growth new jobs and businesses specialising in the new digital technologies of the future. Put simply, the opportunity is huge, and that is why countries across the globe are racing to invest in this new industrial revolution."

Key Findings

The Made Smarter Review identified three themes which are limiting the UK’s ability to achieve its potential:

  • Lack of effective leadership of industrial digitalisation in the UK
  • Poor levels of adoption, particularly among SMEs
  • Under-leveraged innovation assets to support start-ups/scale-ups

Game Changing Recommendations

The review makes three game changing recommendations and one support recommendation, which is broken down into 10 specific policy proposals.

  1. Create a much more visible and effective digital ecosystem to accelerate the innovation and diffusion of Industrial Digital Technologies (IDTs)
    • Invest in a new National Adoption Programme (NAP).
    • Scale the support provided by UK innovation centres through a new national innovation programme.
    • Implement large-scale Digital Transformational Demonstrator programmes within the DIHs, co-funded by industry.
    • Drive forward the UK’s global IDT research and development leadership.
  2. Upskill a million industrial workers to enable digital technologies to be successfully exploited
    • Create a single national Skills Strategy and Implementation Group (SSIG) under the governance of the Made Smarter UK Commission (MSUK).
    • Establish a modern digital delivery platform providing scalable, relevant, timely and easily ‘digestible’ content for upskilling and reskilling.
    • Establish an incentivised programme, co-funded by industry and government, to improve digital skills capabilities.
  3. Inspire the UK’s next industrial revolution with stronger leadership and branding of the country’s ambition to be a global pioneer in IDTs
    • Establish a major national brand campaign, delivered by both government and industry, to significantly increase awareness of how new digital technologies can transform industry.
    • Establish a Made Smarter UK Commission (MSUK).
    • Set up interim Strategy and Support Implementation Groups (SSIGs) to be responsible for the delivery of the MSR recommendations.
  4. Address the key barriers preventing adoption of IDTs
    • Implement a Standards Development Programme (including cyber-awareness and best practice) for emerging digital industries to promote the greater interoperability of IDTs.
    • Implement targeted financial incentives to promote the development and adoption of IDTs.
    • Develop data trusts to overcome one of the biggest inhibitors in exploiting IDT in manufacturing: a reluctance to share data.

Download the Review

The full report can be download from:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/made-smarter-review

2017-11-01T10:16:27+00:001st November, 2017|Thought Leadership|