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Manufacturing tops the UK’s most data-driven industries list, research reveals

Published: 2 March 2021 - Victoria White

New research published by data-science consultancy Peak Indicators shows that UK manufacturers are outperforming other sectors in the economy in using data and analytics to inform decision making.

Peak Indicators' study, which was conducted by researchers at Opinium, found that the UK’s manufacturing sector had the most significant proportion of organisations actively using data to inform decisions, as well as the highest adoption rates of advanced analytics and AI to help interpret the data at their disposal:

  • A fifth (21 percent) of UK manufacturers have succeeded in making data insight a core part of decision making processes, compared to 16 percent of the overall business population
  • 14 percent of manufacturer have gone even further and are already backing up all of their decisions with data, almost three times more than that national average (5 percent)
  • 15 percent of manufacturers said they had deployed predictive and prescriptive analytics across multiple processes. Across the whole business population this figure was 2 percent

Despite the high numbers of manufacturing organisations making progress, Peak Indicators’ research indicates that a significant portion of the industry has been left behind in the race to become more data-driven.

Almost a third (30 percent) of manufacturers are still failing to collect or collate data systematically, while 38 percent currently make no use of analytics. Half of the manufacturers surveyed (54 percent) said they continue to rely exclusively on leaders’ intuition to inform most business decisions.

Kenneth Neilson, Managing Director at Peak Indicators, comments: “Large parts of the manufacturing sector have been transformed through industry 4.0 and smart factory investments, and many manufacturers are incorporating IoT technology into their operations to make even better decisions with real-time data. However, there is also a substantial data-divide opening up between smart factories and the laggards, who are at risk of getting left behind by more agile competitors.

“The good news is that most manufacturers can become data-rich environments relatively quickly, which is a vital first step to helping them maintain their edge and develop new sources of competitive advantage.”

Other sectors with large numbers of data-driven organisations

The construction, hospitality & leisure, business services and finance & accounting sectors also revealed significant concentrations of data-driven organisations in Peak Indicators’ study. Around a quarter of companies in each industry rely on data as a core component of most or all decision making processes.

Source: UK Manufacturing

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