Emerging tech in the manufacturing industry – what the future holds

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at how the cloud is powering emerging tech within the manufacturing industry. – specifically, the tech that has already been adopted by the few and eventually is set to transform the industry for the many.

We’ve covered how blockchain can revolutionise supply chain network; how AI is powering manufacturing intelligence; why manufacturers are going straight to the end users; and how cloud technology can power it all.

This is where the future is.

We’ve covered industry 4.0 in depth on our blog. And we’re already working with several manufacturing businesses in the North West as to how they move closer to operating in this fourth industrial revolution. And it all centres on the cloud.

Put it this way. Whatever new technologies are being implemented, whether it’s blockchain, collaboration with customers through crowdsourcing, or applying insight into your production through analytics, the cloud is the enabler.

Businesses can innovate around new technologies through the means of the cloud.

Bitcoin and Ethereum - just some of the applications taking advantage of the Cloud

It’s the critical platform for innovation. One wouldn’t be able to flourish without the other. The analogy of the cloud powering industry 4.0, in the same way as the steam engine powering the industrial revolution rings true.

All the innovation we’re seeing today, simply wouldn’t be possible without the advances in cloud technology. This means that everything the future holds for tech and manufacturing will place the cloud at the centre.

So, we have a good idea what the future holds, but how can businesses harness this for their own operations?

The key is innovation and placing it at the forefront of how you operate.

Establishing and harnessing the power of innovation

At our recent BIMA event, we discussed exactly what is meant by innovation and how businesses can begin to innovate, regardless of the sector they operate in.

And a couple of insights stuck with us post-event.

Namely a fantastic takeaway from Naomi Timperley that, “Sometimes innovation isn’t about coming up with a brand-new idea, it’s just coming up with a better way to do things.

The right technology should always make a business better.

And on top of this the crucial foundation for innovation being a “team with a ready-for-the-future mindset.”

Ok, let’s think about this. It’s about looking at how your business currently operates and having the right future-forward mindset to change it for the better.  

In the manufacturing industry as we know it, operational inefficiencies can be solved with the right tech, and most often, the right tech will centre on or be enabled by cloud technology. We’ve already seen this happen.

But the mindset needs to be there.

Short term goals sometimes need to be shelved with the establishment of longer term strategic goals. And that’s what we’re seeing with those business leaders that are adopting cloud computing and technology.

Specifically, a 2016 study illustrated that the two biggest reasons to adopt cloud tech were #1: to improve agility and responsiveness and #2: to accelerate product development and innovation.

That’s where UK manufacturing businesses should be focussing their time and energy – adopting a strategic approach to how and why they bring tech into their operations.

If you’re interested, saving money came in third.

Manufacturing and the route forward

The future of manufacturing in the UK

And that’s the key point for UK manufacturers. The technology exists, and we know the cloud is the enabler.

But it’s no use if a strategic approach towards tech and innovation isn’t adopted. Look at how SMEs are winning in this space, they have the forward-thinking attitude to understand the transformative power of tech, but they’re not troubled by antiquated systems or processes. They are agile and responsive.

And this is the ground where UK manufacturers need to break. To think like an SME in the adoption of tech, but also to collaborate and utilise the speed, knowledge and innovation of the SMEs in the space – again the cloud is the true enabler for collaboration.

To finish we’ll leave you with another piece of important insight from our recent BIMA Event:

“The sooner you can identify the innovation thinkers in your company and get them to the forefront of the business, the better. The road to innovation starts with a mindset shift.”

And it shouldn’t just be individual businesses shifting mindset. It should be entire industries.