The UK manufacturing sector is reportedly close to stalling, as the perfect storm of Brexit coinciding with the Covid pandemic continues to disrupt national and international supply chains.
According to Jason Chester, director of Global Channel Programs at InfinityQS
, despite the challenging environment, now is the time that industry leaders should be proactively investing in strategic digital transformation projects that drive technical innovation and prioritise skills training, as this will determine the sector’s competitiveness in the future.
The last twelve months have been unprecedented for manufacturers who have been hit on multiple fronts by the combination of Covid-19 and Brexit, both of which have caused significant disruption and uncertainty on both the supply and demand sides of their value chains. The situation has also been exacerbated by significant internal operational challenges, such as staffing availability and protecting the health and safety of their entire workforce.
Chester comments: “The long-term effects on the sector are unclear and unfortunately, there isn’t a quick-fix that will solve these problems overnight. However, the UK’s manufacturing sector is at the dawn of a new era and what really matters now is how manufacturers react to the current situation, plan for the future, and prepare themselves for the road ahead. This will be vitally important for increasing agility and mitigating any future risks.”
Chester continues: “Covid and Brexit will continue to affect the supply chain as the economy slowly starts to reopen but by taking the right steps now, manufacturers can minimise the disruption to their operations. This means investing in new and emerging technology platforms such as cloud-computing, advanced analytics and intelligent systems, and also nurturing the talent to drive this digital strategy forward.”
Chester looks at the UK’s finance sector for encouragement: “The UK’s financial services post-Brexit outlook is very optimistic, as the industry refuses to be beaten and instead vows to be a world leader in global finance. I believe the UK manufacturing sector needs to have equally lofty aspirations by showing the ingenuity needed to make UK manufacturing the global success it once was in a bygone era.”
Chester concludes: “Although many manufacturers are feeling the mounting pressures of Brexit and Covid, industry leaders need to begin sowing the seeds of digital transformation at this critical time. If they can make practical improvements today, this will ensure they can maintain efficiency, productivity and resilience in an increasingly volatile global market.”