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.
Is technology the biggest barrier to productivity in manufacturing?
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. In fact, the use of technology (or lack of) – where only 37% manufacturers are effectively leveraging current technology – was cited as the biggest barrier to productivity, ahead of processes (32%) and people (31%). This was according to figures published by iBASEt in May 2022 in the Manufacturing Digital Productivity Report.
Why are manufacturers hesitant to fully embrace technology?
The report above involved 403 highly engineered industrial manufacturers from both the US and UK, revealing that the industry’s biggest productivity hamper is a reluctance to embrace digital tools and technologies. More UK respondents compared to their US counterparts said that legacy technologies have had a far more negative impact on their business (73%) compared to Brexit (67%).
The report also revealed that 56% of UK manufacturers are not hitting their sales targets as a result and 93% say that technological underinvestment may lead them to go out of business within a decade or so.
The key findings of the report point to one thing: manufacturers’ reluctance to let go of legacy processes and systems. Since 83% of manufacturers said their business was adversely impacted by the pandemic in the past 18 months, at least 67% of them adopted Industry 4.0 and smart factory technologies to survive amid the social distancing guidelines. As a result, 68% claimed it made them more productive while 51% said it led to better business agility.
Unfortunately, 56% of UK manufacturers are still not harnessing the power of Industry 4.0 with 19% not using any of the data whatsoever.
The problem (again) mostly lies in a general lack of digital maturity – an insistence on running operations through pen and paper or spreadsheets. This is leading to higher production and process-related errors, with the overall manufacturing process slowing down a great deal. The end result is an acute difficulty in attracting the new generation of manufacturing workforce.
If you think about it, all this adds up to not only a drop in company performance, but also a loss of trade, and ultimately, leadership positions coming under threat.
Now is the time for every UK manufacturer to take action and embrace the digital revolution. And, this is not a matter of “if” but a matter of “sooner rather than later”.
Digital transformation must be synonymous with manufacturing
As part of their digital maturity strategy, every manufacturing business must adopt the latest tools and technologies to stay ahead of the competitive curve and beat economic woes.
The next generation of talent is going to rely heavily on technology so pen and paper or traditional spreadsheets will simply not cut it anymore.
For more information about moving to a paperless reporting process.
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.
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.
In the world of business, the last thing any owner, CEO or stakeholder wants to hear is “disruption”. Effective supply chains that run like a well-oiled machine are integral to any business’s success.
The manufacturing industry has been slow to move forward, especially from an ecosystem-wide and enterprise-wide digital transformation perspective.
This brief yet insightful article explores where the UK logistics sector will stand in the next 12 months – amid many challenges, such as Brexit, the global pandemic and the Ukraine war.