Make UK: UK Government’s industrial decarbonisation strategy
A major landmark for the industry, Make UK believes that the UK government’s Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy gives “the confidence that our country is politically ready to take action on the Net Zero by 2050 target. The important role that the manufacturing sector plays is very clearly recognised, to which we can breathe a sigh of relief - the lessons from the Covid-19 crisis have been learnt.”
Make UK was pleased to see that “the report emphasises the Government's crucial role in supporting the manufacturing industry especially during the first decade and the need to incentivise energy efficiency improvements.”
Make UK energy efficiency research
While Make UK has identified in its research that manufacturers are keen to invest in energy efficiency improvements, there are still barriers that need to be addressed.
- Carbon pricing: aligning the UK-ETS with the Net Zero target will be a challenge but something that should be addressed.
- Carbon labelling: while defining low-carbon products is a very good idea, in practice it is a challenging task.
- Energy efficiency: energy costs are often a barrier to electrification for many energy intensive manufacturers.
- Green collar jobs: to realise the net zero ambitions the right people equipped with the right skills is needed.
With these challenges in mind, Make UK emphasises that innovation will be a critical contributor to the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, suggesting that a ‘Made Greener’ programme similar to ‘Made Smarter’ should be something the government is considering.
“We must push the message that digital technology is in fact an enabler of the low-carbon economy and that ‘digital and green’ go hand in hand,” said Make UK.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.