Supply chain sustainability refers to effectively managing the social, economic, and environmental factors within an organisation’s supply chain. A very important aspect of this sustainability initiative is recognising and acknowledging the link between a manufacturing company and the broader ecosystem they may be impacting – and then coming up with responsible business practices to make all aspects of the supply chain sustainable.
Automation in the Manufacturing sector
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were one of the most talked about topics in manufacturing last year. This year, the push for automation in the sector is greater than ever.
Adoption of Automation in Manufacturing.
In a recent report released by The Manufacturers’ Organisation, half of the companies surveyed are upping their investment in automation technologies, especially AI and ML, with almost ¾ of companies now spending more openly on automation across multiple technologies and functions – from product design and development to manufacturing and warehousing operations.
With the above in mind, manufacturers have also cited multiple barriers to automation adoption – namely integration and data challenges, a general lack of technical skills, high costs, and workplace culture causing resistance to adoption. As a result, the UK has been struggling to keep up with its neighbouring competitors.
By turnover, the UK is the 9th largest manufacturing nation in the world, where 2.7 million were employed in 2022. However, as it stands, the UK is finding it increasingly challenging to maintain its position as one of the world’s leading manufacturing hubs. Experts agree that in order to combat some of the issues, such as labour shortages and productivity woes, automation must be embraced on a widespread scale.
The manufacturing industry in the UK has not invested as heavily as other nations have in manufacturing, so this means it has a lot of catching up to do. But there’s good news: automation today has become easier than ever to access. Implementing it is another matter, however.
Manufacturers are under immense pressure to stay competitive.
In response to the wide-scale disruptions seen over the last few years, manufacturers are under growing pressure to remain competitive – forward-thinking ones have already turned to automation technology and software-based platforms to fully digitise their operations.
During times of global economic turmoil, manufacturers in the UK have a golden opportunity to set a benchmark and reimagine the industry. Automation technologies, including additive manufacturing, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, can all contribute towards increased performance, more sustainable growth, reduced costs, and completely new, more efficient business models.
Some UK companies have, in fact, been at the forefront of this technological shift, wasting little time to embrace digitisation and automation.
Manufacturers need to hustle to adopt the right automation technology.
With seemingly endless possibilities abound, finding the right solution to automation has proven challenging for some manufacturers. For example, manufacturing businesses often lack technical knowhow in finding an automation solution which they can effectively utilise, train their staff on, and implement on a broad scale to cut costs across the board.
At times, they also worry about exposing themselves to suppliers and technical sales specialists who often don’t recommend an ideal solution, all in a bid to close the sale.
With the right automation tools, there’s no limit to how productive and profitable manufacturing businesses can be.
The team behind HS Manager understands this, coming up with a platform which adapts to each manufacturer’s unique way of working. Inspect and report on a variety of warehouse and manufacturing functions, assigning team members their respective tasks, and keeping everything in sync with just a few taps.
As we eagerly look to a bright and productive year ahead, the UK’s logistics sector is at a bit of crossroads, so to speak, poised for disruption amid a backdrop of regulatory shifts, technological evolution, and global economic dynamics.
Organisations working in high-risk industries like manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, and logistics, are well aware of the risks and potential hazards their workers face each day. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, many businesses do not have the appropriate health and safety controls to minimise risk and hazards at the workplace.
According to an HSE report, around 54,000 workers are involved in non-fatal accidents in the manufacturing sector each year. Most of the injuries they suffer are a direct result of manual handling accidents, trips, slips, and falls, contact with moving machinery, and being struck by moving objects.
It is estimated that the logistics industry will grow at a CAGR of 10-12%, reaching a value of $380 million by 2025. A large driver of this growth will be technology and automation – from robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI), better integration of the various ecosystems involved, digitisation of processes, and more.
Supply chain inspections often prove to be a challenge, even for leading, well-established companies. However, standardisation has now become one of the chief methods of optimising the greater supply chain and ensuring that all managers, departments, and teams are on the same page.
According to a 2019 report published by the Journal of International Logistics and Trade, political unrest are among the leading causes of supply chain disruptions. A SAP survey reported that 58% of US business leaders believe supply chain problems primarily stem due to global political unrest.
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.
Did you know that manufacturers are still using paper in more than a third (35%) of their processes on average? What’s more, manual spreadsheets are still used for nearly half (49%) of all manufacturing-related processes.
If you think about, warehouses and everyone working within those walls, are the unsung heroes of supply chain and distribution. Without quality warehouses equipped with the latest technology, we would not be enjoying the super-fast at-home deliveries or products being available on shelves almost on a 24/7 basis.