Investments UK manufacturers should make to keep pace with 4IR | EEF

Investments UK manufacturers should make to keep pace with 4IR

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If you’re looking to remain competitive in manufacturing’s digital future, investing in your people and ensuring your operations is key.

This investment should include both allocating funds for production process improvements as well as developing and retaining your workforce. As our recent Skills Report uncovered, our sector is in need of leadership and management skills to aid productivity and performance if the sector is to adapt effectively to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).  


To learn more about how 4IR fits in with business planning and strategy, listen to my latest Be Business Ready podcast.

What is 4IR?

4IR is the connection of cyber networks with physical networks to create new, autonomous systems.

EEF’s Policy & External Affairs team have covered what these means extensively in their 4IR campaign to educate government about what it means to the industry and how legislation and policy can support UK manufacturing’s efforts. Read more here.


How to invest effectively

So how can manufacturers ensure they’re investing in the right places?

  1. Improve your critical competencies

    Identifying opportunities in your operations could lead to the need to develop long term strategy’s and business transformation projects across your entire organisation, from supply and demand, workforce productivity and skills development, to investment in technology and innovation.


  2. Embed improvements

    Once improvements (whether in process or technology) have been made, ensure your business is prepared to take these into practice for the long-term. Ensure training for staff using new equipment or technology and managers have the skills to lead their teams into the digital future. Also, determine what policies and procedures will ensure improvements are carried forward.


  3. Undertake a skills and competencies audit

    Identify the gaps in your skills and competencies.  A bespoke training programme ensures skills gaps (current and anticipated) are addressed strategically and competencies can be addressed through tailored development programmes. A training audit can identify where employees can be up-skilled and where recruitment may be needed.


  4. Manage for the future

If managers aren’t up-to-date on 4IR systems and opportunities as well as essential management skills, any significant changes will be dead in the water. Leaders will need to encourage, grow, support and motivate there teams, as well as know how to manage poor performance, to keep things running smoothly during times of change.


Wherever your company is on its 4IR journey, our Business Growth experts are on hand to discuss your questions and challenges: get in touch!


This person has now left EEF. Please contact us on 0808 168 1874 or email us at if you have any questions.

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