The future of manufacturing in the digital age

On 4 October, Northampton-based MHA MacIntyre Hudson co-hosted the Future of Manufacturing event with Lloyds Bank and Franklin Solicitors LLP to celebrate the launch of the sixth annual MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Survey Report.

Held at FESTO, suppliers of cutting edge automated technology, the event saw over 50 manufacturers come together for a morning of workshops, real life case studies and discussions on the opportunities and challenges facing businesses in the East Midlands.

Experts from Simon-Kucher & Partners, Autodesk, FESTO, Northants Engineering Training Partnership and Gambica gave insight into achieving commercial success, the UK productivity and skills gap, and the benefits of academic partnerships.

Event attendees also had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions on topics ranging from reverse mentoring to cyber security. Richard Powell, partner and head of manufacturing at the Northampton office of MHA MacIntyre Hudson, and Keith Willett, commercial banker in manufacturing for Lloyds Bank, presented a snapshot of common themes for manufacturers identified in this year’s survey report.

“The industry remains positive about the future, with 78% of respondents predicting growth for their business”

The survey, conducted among over 460 businesses from a variety of sub-sectors within manufacturing and engineering, found that despite uncertainty over Brexit, the industry remains positive about the future, with 78% of respondents predicting growth for their business.

Speaking at the event, Richard Powell of MHA MacIntyre Hudson said: “The results of this year’s Manufacturing & Engineering Survey Report demonstrate that UK businesses remain resilient despite the numerous obstacles and challenges presented by Brexit. More than two thirds of respondents reported revenue growth over the last 12 months, a 10% increase compared to last year.

“It’s important that businesses continue to build on this progress and plan ahead as they navigate the ever changing landscape. Production cost increases and a shortage of applicants with relevant skills are just some of the challenges identified in the report and the sector needs to do whatever it can to stay ahead of the game and remain competitive.

“Robotics, automation and the Internet of Things are rarely out of the news and it’s encouraging to see that many manufacturers are starting to respond to changing conditions and new opportunities. However, in order to succeed in the long term, businesses need to see innovation as routine practice and integral for survival, not just another item on their to-do list. If they don’t, they risk being disrupted and left behind.”