British manufacturers are confident about Industry 4.0 changes
New research conducted by Interoute, the global cloud and network provider, finds that 68% of British manufacturers are confident about changes within the sector as Industry 4.0 advances.
This is higher than any other industry surveyed and above the European average of 61%.
Almost half of the manufacturers questioned claim to prioritise customer experience above anything else for digital transformations programmes, at 49%.
Manufacturing had the highest level of response to customer experience, with only 32% of legal services ranking it the most important, and 38% of the travel and transportation industry.
Interoute’s research found that the top manufacturing must haves for digital transformation are:
- The automated scaling of IT platforms, at 66%
- Securing the architecture, at 63%
- Continual process evolution, at 59%
- Digital platforms that can connect legacy technology with cloud applications, at 52%
“Manufacturers are looking for ways to respond to customers with an ‘on-demand’ mentality and deliver next generation customer support,” stated Lee Myall, Senior Vice President of UK Sales at Interoute.
“Digital transformation enables manufacturing and engineering firms that want to provide the exceptional and fast services that customers are now expecting.”
“For example, in our lifetimes, we will see a supply chain revolution where spares and parts are ‘printed’ locally and shipped short distances, in a fraction of the time, improving customers’ experience as demands are met quickly.”
“To be prepared for this change, manufacturers need a digital infrastructure that can connect legacy and digital networks together so they have the agility to embrace the latest developments and quickly respond to change.”
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.