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Operational Efficiency

Manufacturing of the future

Manufacturing of the future, Industry 4.0, the 4th Industrial Revolution, Digital transformation, Industrial digitalisation – whichever label is used the principle is the same. Manufacturing is changing.

The need for businesses to consider their opportunity to digitalise has never been more important - recent research by ServiceNow found that by 2020, 86% of businesses will need intelligent automation to stay competitive.

According to Phil Rubins, Manufacturing Industry Lead, Digital Transformation Solutions, Microsoft;

“Manufacturing has never been more competitive. Cost pressure, quality control, customer relationships, production and supply networks — these are some of the challenges manufacturing businesses face in today’s global market. And the list doesn’t end there. Your brand is at stake every time you encounter unforeseen breakdowns that stop the assembly line, frequent service disruptions that inconvenience customers, high maintenance costs due to repeat visits or a lack of insights into potential product deficiencies.”

This is something that I see with the businesses I work with time after time. Productivity is impacted by preventable downtime, but there are platforms available that can help manufacturers combat these challenges. According to Phil;

“Agile digital manufacturers, of all sizes, are now able to make use of smart production platforms, giving their employees access to tools and knowledge that let them work more effectively and increase productivity. Digital transformation brings together every system, device, process, and asset across the organisation using a smart production platform. By harnessing all the data at your disposal, you too can deliver the right expertise, at the right time, to produce higher-quality products more efficiently. That is the vision of the manufacturing Industry 4.0 model.”

The solution sounds too good to be true, so what is the reticence for the sector to invest in this new technology?

What are the barriers?

When the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and BDO surveyed UK manufacturers in 2016 they found that only 8% had ‘significant understanding’ of Industry 4.0 processes and a quarter of businesses had no plans to invest in the next two years, with the majority citing lack of understanding as the main reason for this.

I personally feel it’s vital that every manufacturer has the opportunity to understand how digitalisation can help their business to be more profitable. This is why the Business Growth Hub has partnered with Lloyds Banking Group and Microsoft to host a joint event for the sector on 23 June in Wigan. The event features expert speakers, workshops and the opportunity to see Industry 4.0 in action in real businesses like yours.

It’s also an opportunity to hear how the Manufacturing Growth Fund can provide grant funding for businesses looking to start their Industry 4.0 journey.

If you are from a manufacturing business and you want to learn more, understand how it will impact your business or even start your journey to implementation, join us on 23 June and start digitalising your future.

To find out more about the event visit the website or email to book your free place.

Find out about grant funding which can support your digital transformation here:


Lloyds Banking Group

Lloyds Bank specialise in supporting the manufacturing sector. Dedicated manufacturing relationship managers are based locally and undertake regular training with the Warwick Manufacturing Group so they understand how the manufacturing sector operates today.

Find out more about the guidance and support they can provide to help their clients achieve their business ambitions:

SME business with a turnover £1m-£25m                                                       

Mid-Markets business with a turnover £25m+                                 



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