Are manufacturers keeping up with the latest technology solutions and demands?

Even though a myriad of digital processes have been introduced across many industries in the UK economy, a recent report indicates that at least 96% of UK manufacturers believe there is an underinvestment in technology and digitisation in their sector.

Manufacturers have historically been hesitant to accept new technologies.

Manufacturers have been historically hesitant to embrace and adopt new technologies and processes. If you think back to the 1990s when the manufacturing landscape was rapidly changing and the industry outlook was bleak at best – conditions at that time forced manufacturers to be more reactive rather than proactive. And, that’s still part of the problem today with some manufacturers.

All the while, supply chains were going global and increased competition led to aggressive cost cuts for suppliers. Labour disputes were on the rise and manufacturers found themselves dealing with extensive layoffs.

Of course, those turbulent times being faced by manufacturers would shape the industry for years to come but because of this, manufacturers today are far too focused on bottom-line margins and upholding revenue during difficult times – competition is extremely unforgiving and price cuts are unavoidable, so that seems like the logical thing to do, right?

This made them quite sceptical of new technologies or processes that ‘promised’ to optimise things but didn’t immediately show them any quantifiable and instant ROI – many manufacturers were of the opinion that technology trials were nothing more than glorified and expensive science projects that boasted a lot of positive numbers, but no proven outcomes.

On the upside, enterprise technology has advanced a lot since the 1990s, although many of the same industry obstacles and challenges plague the manufacturing industry even to this day: supply chain uncertainty, labour woes, and dwindling profit margins.

It’s interesting to note how certain manufacturers took a different approach this time when dealing with the above issues, especially after the onslaught of the pandemic, where industry leaders realised the value of technology and digital tools ahead of time.

Many UK manufacturers, if not the vast majority, now recognise that they don’t have the luxury of waiting decades for new solutions and processes to become an industry-wide standard. Resultantly, we’re seeing the manufacturing sector slowly shifting from the typically reserved and reactive approach to a more aggressive and proactive approach, when it comes to exploring and adopting new technologies.

What can manufacturers do to embrace the latest technological solutions and demands?

Ultimately, manufacturers need to invest in the right digital tools to meet their projected ROIs. The transition to advanced digital tools and technologies will not happen overnight in the industry, so manufacturers at the individual level, at least, should waste zero time in creating and setting a benchmark for digital development which covers the next few years.

HS Manager, for instance, provides manufacturers and warehousing facility owners with paperless digital reports to help them manage operations from the palm of their hands. Insightful offline analytics and automated mobile inspections along with customisable digital checklists take process efficiencies to a new level.

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