The dramatic potential of advanced digital technologies to improve productivity and change business models is well known throughout the manufacturing sector. Few companies have so far scaled beyond the pilot or exploratory phase of introducing these emerging technologies as part of a continuous improvement journey.
As one might expect, many companies are reluctant to adopt advanced digital technology when the return on innovation is yet to be proven across the industry.
Read on to see just some of the organisations that are helping manufacturing companies across the UK become more competitive. Got a challenge? Why not make contact.
Since its launch in 1871, when William Siemens was it’s first president, the IET has grown to more than 160,000 members in 150 countries.
They recently issued an insight report into augmented reality in manufacturing, co-authored with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Their aim is to advance the conversation around adoption of new technology in UK industry. They also offer specialist training courses to the global engineering and technology community who are seeking additional support.
The Digital Catapult is one of ten Catapult centres across the UK. The Digital franchise network is now comprised of 12,000 start-ups and, so far, the Digital Catapult centre has facilitated 200% faster job creation than the wider economy.
They are specialists in areas of advanced digital technology, such as artificial intelligence, future networks (such as 5G) and immersive technology like virtual and augmented reality.
By leveraging the Digital Catapult’s government-backed funding and innovative research spaces, companies can accelerate growth across their plants and de-risk their investment at the same time.
Listen to our podcast with Digital Catapult CEO Jeremy Silver
Formerly the Engineering Employees Federation (EEF), Make UK are industry leaders in skills development and innovation. They provide access to key areas across the digital space, including compliance, sustainability, and cybersecurity, and influence manufacturing policy at local, national and international levels.
They work to keep up to date with the issues affecting manufacturers, offering reports on topics like cybersecurity and Brexit. With their extensive knowledge of the UK’s manufacturing industry, they speak with policy-makers to make sure that the voices of their members are heard.
Watch Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive Officer of Make UK, take to the ‘Digital Talks’ hot seat to answer questions about the future of manufacturing
The MTA creates and supplies new technology to manufacturers who are looking to embrace digitalisation. The association targets some of the most common barriers faced by companies including tech knowledge, funding and risk management as well as offering marketing support, networking and training as part of their ‘value-add’ service.
A non-profit organisation, Semta sets standards and frameworks for engineering apprenticeships in the UK. Their focus of enhancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills across the manufacturing sector comes together in their STEM Exchange programme, which looks at inspiring the next generation of innovators.
Hear more from Semta’s Head of Employer Engagement, Sarah Dhanda:
Next47 takes ‘impossible ideas’ and turns them into tomorrow’s competitive edge.
The organisation works closely with start-ups who depend on deep technologies, such as artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing. As they are aligned with Siemens’ existing and future businesses, they provide companies with an indispensable global network of digital opportunities.
SFS can provide traditional leasing models, as well as outcome-based models for businesses who could benefit from Siemens’ technology but who haven’t got the CapEx and feel too exposed to risk.
After collaborating with the customer to identify and create the business case, Siemens provides a tailored commercial model that is designed to make customers more competitive, maximise cash flow health and create savings.
At the same time it allows manufacturers to access scalable and futureproofed digital technology solutions to optimise production performance and tackle critical and expensive issues such as waste or energy efficiency.
Part of the UK Research and Innovation, Innovate UK accelerates adoption of new technology by connecting businesses with customers and providing funding for valuable research and collaboration.
Since 2007, they have invested £2.5 billion to help British businesses develop and deploy new technology. They offer matched funding, rather than cash handouts, and have so far helped 8,500 companies create 70,000 jobs.
The first of the UK’s manufacturing Catapult centres, the HVMC acts as a bridge between the ‘blue sky’ thinking in universities and the demands of business. Taking the technical expertise from education centres and domain knowledge from the manufacturing sector, companies are given the opportunity to develop new technologies, enhance expertise and engage workforces across all sectors of UK manufacturing.
Made Smarter currently work with more than 200 organisations and offer grant funding, leadership development opportunities and student placements for UK companies.
Their work is based around the Made Smarter Review, a large-scale study started in January of 2017, led by Juergen Maier, the CEO of Siemens UK. The review determined that through ambitious leadership, widespread adoption of digital technology and faster innovation, the UK can be the global leader in manufacturing by 2030. They have already put these ideas into action by launching the ‘North West Pilot’ program in this vital industrial region.