The keyword in that last sentence, penned by the IET’s Manufacturing Policy Panel Chair, Professor Steve Evans, is ‘together’.
Previously, digitalisation and sustainability within manufacturing have largely been spoken of, separately, in isolation of one another.
Of course, many of the major manufacturers embraced digital technologies within their factories many years ago, reaping the rewards of faster turnround times, increased product quality and improved productivity, with sectors and supply chains such as aerospace and automotive, among the early adopters.
Many of these larger, often multinational, firms also invested in lean principles and practices.
For the rest of the UK manufacturing community, digital transformation is taking longer yet there are opportunities aplenty for those seeking solutions and game-changing advantages to address their pain points and challenges.
The good news is there is plenty of support out there to help firms get started.
Post-COP26 and with new legislation on industrial decarbonisation and net zero in place, the sector is facing the perfect storm of increased international competition at a time when new investment, talent and leadership is needed to deliver urgent joint action on digital and sustainability now.