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“Engineering needs to be re-engineered”

Covid-19 has accelerated the fourth industrial revolution (4iR) while fundamentally changing ways of working, possibly for good. The lesson is clear. If businesses don’t adapt to embrace digital technologies, they will miss out on opportunities. As Marc Funnell, one of the speakers at a recent Make UK event, put it, “engineering needs to be re-engineered”

The event was hosted by Make UK and called ‘How technology can improve resilience post Covid-19’. As well as Marc representing DETI, we heard from Troy Barratt at BAMUK Group Ltd and Oliver Conger from Rototherm. 

What our speakers said

Oliver helped debunk the idea that 4iR is all about automation and productivity improvement. Rototherm have focused on applying digital to their products, putting customer needs first. This has led to improved monitoring options for customers and a new servitisation model that has created a “new stable and reliable revenue platform”. Sales of this new digital product are anticipated to grow over 2500% between 2019 and 2021. 

Troy’s business has taken its first steps into automation, recently purchasing their first robot. This has several benefits for the business, allowing them to compete on price, volume and efficiency for customers wishing to re-shore supply. Culture was a significant part of the decision and Troy’s team ensured that employees were included from the start of the process. The robot has created opportunities for up-skilling and staff are now fully behind it.

Marc focused on DETI’s capacity to support manufacturer looking to adopt digital technology. With funding available to utilize the High Value Manufacturing Catapult’s facilities as an industrial test bed, DETI aims to help businesses ensure the viability of their digital investment. DETI will also be providing a range of best practice case studies that will help manufacturers see the possibilities of new technology and understand how businesses like theirs’ have adopted the technology. 

Three main themes: Culture, skills and opportunity. 

Investing in new technology isn’t a stand-alone process, you need to adopt a culture of continuous improvement and learning to fully take advantage. You also need to ensure that staff are coming with you on your automation journey so they embrace the technology. 

Technology is fast moving and you need to ensure your business has the skills necessary to move with it. By upskilling your staff and ensuring in-house digital capability, you can continue to maximise your investment in digital. 

Finally, above all 4iR represents opportunity. Opportunity to compete in new markets, develop new products, attract and retain staff and increase your resilience and profitability. Support is available from organisations like DETI and best practice and guidance is available via your Make UK membership. Don’t delay, start your 4iR journey today. 

Blog / Coronavirus / Manufacturing / Digital technology