No risk, no reward for UK manufacturers not embracing Industry 4.0, says KPMG

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According to a new report from KPMG, the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) requires transformational change at a pace that many manufacturers are not matching. It also warns that if they continue on the current trajectory, they are likely to be disrupted by competitors and new market entrants.

Philip Harris, Associate Partner and Industry 4.0 Country Leader at KPMG in the UK, said: “It’s clear from many of the conversations we’re having with manufacturing organisations that few have developed or moved forward with Industry 4.0 strategies or plans, and some still don’t understand how it will affect their business.”

KPMG’s latest report and recommendations, whilst global in nature, are even more important for the UK’s makers. The UK is significantly behind its G7 counterparts with productivity and has been the weakest of the four European countries for almost a decade. Whilst the latest official statistics showed that job growth in the manufacturing industry has risen, productivity has fallen and it’s here that many manufacturers are missing a trick with Industry 4.0.

Harris said: “Industry 4.0 presents a huge opportunity for the UK’s manufacturers to improve productivity, but it could also be a threat to those who don’t embrace it and fall even further behind. They have a chance to catch up, but only if they act now. What we’re seeing, however, is that many don’t fully understand what Industry 4.0 is, and those who do are still in the early stages experimenting with it. As a result, very few are implementing it at scale based on a well-thought through roadmap or strategy.

”Moving from ambition to reality“Manufacturers need to move from experimenting with Industry 4.0 to embedding it into their entire organisation to ensure they capture the benefits,” explains Harris. “Most are talking about it, but very few are doing it at scale to really benefit from the rewards it can bring.”

“Brexit uncertainty continues to loom, but Britain’s manufacturers can’t afford to let this distract them, particularly as they have an opportunity to leapfrog the competition on productivity if they get their industry 4.0 strategies right. If they don’t act now and act boldly, then there’s a higher risk that international competitors, particularly in the EU, will ramp up faster and leave the UK even further behind,” concludes Harris.