Made Smarter: SME manufacturers need strategic tech approach
In a recent study released by Made Smarter, the company identified that 55% of SME manufacturers don’t include technology in their vision and growth strategy. As a result the company stresses that they will need to take a strategic approach in order to capitalise on technology adoption.
“What is clear from our survey is that manufacturers recognise that digital tools and technology are essential to remain competitive, cut costs, increase growth, and enhance the customer experience, and without capitalising on the opportunities digital technology offers, they risk getting left behind. But it is also clear that too many makers have employed technology without the technical understanding of which areas to focus on first – which leads to disparate, disconnected equipment, and increases the risk of wasted time, money and effort. Whilst digital tools enable opportunities, it’s how we choose to use these that determines their success,” commented Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West pilot.
Key findings from the report:
- Manufacturers risk wasting time, money and effort if they adopt digital technology without a strategic plan for digital transformation
- 75% of respondents stated that they have adopted new technology in the last three years, only 12% reported they had never made investments
- 55% admitted that technology was not a pat of their future vision and growth, this was highest among micro businesses (60%)
- Core barriers for adopting technology included insufficient capital (50%) and a need for guidance (44%)
“Before implementing technology, makers need to consider whether they have a culture of innovation, the right skill sets, good digital leadership, and the buy-in and support of the team. Then they need to identify the most effective technologies to overcome their operational challenges and create a digital transformation roadmap to help them achieve their goals. It is this holistic approach to digitalisation offered by Made Smarter that will help SME manufacturers move forward progressively and sustainably, and capitalise on the opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” added Edwards.
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.