The UK's Productivity Puzzle: How Updating Technology Can Bolster Manufacturing Output.

Author:York, David

At the tail end of last year the future for manufacturing seemed pretty bleak with reports of output growth over the past five years averaging only 0.2%, and UK productivity trailing behind our European contemporaries. However, fast forward to January and the most recent

UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), gives us reason to be optimistic, finding that UK manufacturing output is expanding at its fastest rate since early 2008.

One way the industry can now maintain this momentum, from merely an upsurge into long-term, sustained growth, could be affected by how businesses approach their technological processes. What, therefore, can manufacturers do to sustain this surge in productivity and keep increasing their levels of output?

The Government recently announced significant investment in industry-transforming technology, making the next 12 months an exciting, and potentially transformative, time for manufacturers. In his Autumn Budget speech, The Chancellor cited investment in infrastructure, skills and research and development as key to recovering productivity growth. This has reiterated the importance of technological investment to support productivity issues in manufacturing.

This commitment to technology funding has signalled a new dawn for manufacturers. With 75m [pounds sterling] being dedicated towards artificial intelligence and 76m [pounds sterling] towards boosting digital and construction skills, the necessary pieces are being put into place to address Britain's productivity puzzle.

What is clear from these pledges is the recognition that technological investment is a necessary ingredient to propel innovation forward in Britain. Off the back of the Autumn Budget, industries like manufacturing have been given the 'green-light' to be more proactive in pursuing the technology that will transform businesses and enable longterm growth. This new approach to facilitating the adoption of transformative technology will enable those who are bullish in embracing innovation, to reap its rewards.

In fact, a recent study from Epicor Software found almost one-in-four (23%) UK companies that experienced very high growth in the last 12 months believe technology has had a positive impact on their business. Firms who refuse to update their production systems with better technology therefore, often do so to their detriment.

During the instability of recent times, many manufacturers have taken the route of being cautious and avoided large...

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