UK manufacturing industry slows after best quarter in three and a half years
The manufacturing sector in the UK hit its highest quarter in three and a half years in November 2017, which was followed by a dip in December.
According to the Markit/CIPS’ Purchasing Manager Index, the industry reached a 51-month high in November of 58.2, and then fell to 56.3 in December.
However, although the sector’s reading fell in the last month of 2017 – and was lower than the anticipated 58.0 – by staying above 50.0 it is clear the industry is still expanding.
“Although growth of output and new orders moderated during December, rates of expansion remained comfortably above long-term trend rates,” reported Rob Dobson of IHS Markit, the firm that composes the survey.
The average reading for manufacturing PMI in the UK for the final quarter of 2017 was 57.0, claims the Financial Times, which is the highest quarterly figure recorded since 2014.
“The manufacturing sector continues to be a clear bright spot, but it’s worth remembering that it makes up a relatively small share of the overall economy,” said James Smith, ING Bank.
“Elsewhere, there are few obvious catalysts for a pick-up in consumer spending, particularly with real wages set to be more or less flat this year.”
SAP Whitepaper: Advantages of Intelligent Assets
A core pillar in SAP’s Industry 4.0 strategy, Intelligent Assets equip organisations to reduce downtime, empower employees and increase efficiencies across industrial equipment and manufacturing units.
In a whitepaper produced in partnership between SAP and BizClik Media Group, Rachel Romanoski, Solutions Manager, Digital Assets, SAP, dispels some of the myths surrounding asset intelligent, and shares insight into how even small investment in asset intelligence can pay dividends in minimising cost leakage and realising an asset’s potential.
As with all innovations, the ceiling for Intelligent Assets is as high as an organisation can dream, afford and implement. But Romanoski says that just a little intelligence can go a long way: “Oftentimes people think Intelligent Assets need to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology. They can be super advanced, such as leveraging physics-based engineering simulations to forecast potential failures, and help mitigate them. But it could be as simple as a temperature reading. You can pull a lot of simple information from most equipment, and by enhancing that data through ancillary solutions and digital capabilities, you can create that Intelligent Asset.”
One of the most immediate benefits is reducing or, in some cases, eliminating unplanned downtime. Equipment failure is one of the most common causes of disruption and can cause chaos throughout the supply chain.
“The true power of the Intelligent Asset is in changing the basic, reactive emergency work or time-based, planned maintenance and being more prescriptive and tailored to that specific asset and use case,” Romanoski says. “Ultimately, you can reduce the unplanned events that often carry a big price tag.”
"Oftentimes people think Intelligent Assets need to be the latest and greatest cutting-edge technology... But it could be as simple as a temperature reading"
Other financial benefits include stemming cost leakage and “sweating assets” to the full potential. “Maybe you can consider the lifecycle of the asset and understand whether you can push it a little bit further,” Romanoski explains. “It might be that the best course of action for a low-cost item is to run it to failure. Having this information that we collect over time empowers those people to make those better decisions, but also has a trickle down effect to building resiliency and efficiency into the entire supply chain.”
To read the full report, including insight from Intelligent Assets, Intelligent Factories, Empowered People, and exclusive insight from Dominik Metzger, the lead on SAP’s Industry 4.0 programme, CLICK HERE.