Why it is time to discuss the future of British manufacturing

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Today we have issued a report that challenges us all to envisage British manufacturing in decades to come.

Manufacturing, Britain’s Future – sponsored by leading technology companies Infor and IBM - sets the scene for Thursday’s National Manufacturing Conference. It looks at how the rapid advance of technology will bring about the 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) and how innovative firms can take a lead and help position the UK as a global manufacturing and technology hub.

The report reminds us that the clever implementation and speedy adaptation of new technology will be a key weapon for our sector in the global battle for dominance.

The 4th industrial revolution has the potential to change British manufacturing beyond all recognition – and it is already on the horizon. The majority of manufacturing bosses say it will become a business reality within a decade and they want to see the UK take a leading role and see a wealth of opportunities and economic benefits. At the same time, however, they warn that the UK is not readily equipped for this role.

This is a powerful message to take into conference where we have a national platform to look at the issues we must tackle today if British manufacturing is to remain relevant and a force to be reckoned with. 

Industry 4.0 will be a challenge. The manufacturing landscape will change beyond all recognition, which is why Government, policy-makers and manufacturers themselves must ensure they are ahead of the curve. Above all, it emphasises the need for a long-term industrial strategy that spans consecutive governments.

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