26 May 2015
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is highlighting six steps to help UK manufacturing fulfils its potential to boost the UK economy, ahead of today’s Queen’s Speech.
The IET wants the new Government to focus on six areas: innovation, support for SMEs, public procurement, energy efficiency, data and the Internet of Things, and solving the skills shortage.
Margaret Wood from the IET said: “If given the right policy support, UK manufacturing is well-placed to deliver growth in globalised markets that will benefit the UK economy.
“But we need a long-term vision with consistent policies to help manufacturing companies increase their productivity and grow.
“By focusing on these six steps we can ensure that manufacturing continues to create jobs and expand our economy, helping to make the UK globally competitive.”
The six steps are:
Innovation: the UK has an excellent science and research base but far too often the output is not exploited in the UK. More needs to be done to help UK businesses - particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - increase investment across the whole development cycle, scale up ideas for commercial success and create new high-value jobs.
SME support: by supporting SMEs there is potential to expand on productivity and increase the number of jobs in the UK. Around 90 percent of innovation in the UK is done through SMEs and by ensuring that they receive financial and business support, they can continue to contribute to the UK economy.
Local public procurement: stronger relationships with procurers will help manufacturers particularly SMEs understand the opportunities available in public procurement. By spending time building relationships within manufacturing communities and local networks of SMEs, procurers can fulfil their requirements while boosting the local economy and employment.
Energy: energy efficiency can help lower individual manufacturing energy bills and is significantly less expensive than building new electricity generation.
Data: data and the Internet of Things will play a vital role in the future of manufacturing. Products will be designed specifically to suit the customer and data will play a large part in enabling this. The shape of manufacturing is changing and the workforce will need to be trained to adapt to these new technologies.
Skills: the shortage of skilled workers in the short and long term places a significant constraint on manufacturing growth.