Smart Machines & Factories
Digitalisation - the foundations for a vibrant future
Published:  07 January, 2020

The result of the recent election will undoubtedly reverberate for some time to come. What should have been a seasonally calm period period, leads many of us to contemplate how the number one concern for manufacturers - Brexit - will now finally play out.

From a business community’s perspective it is clear that establishing how we help UK manufacturing and industrial sectors adapt to a highly digitalised future, and benefit from the opportunity this brings, will be fundamental to the future economic success post Brexit. Industry now wants real vision and ambition for the UK economy in the next parliament and the policies to back it up. If as a nation we fail to take up the challenge, it is inevitable we will fall behind our competitors.

The next few months therefore will be crucial for generations to come, as such the overriding immediate priority for the UK must be to come to an agreement with the EU which is the basis for a future trading relationship and delivers what Made UK say are its four key tests: Frictionless trade; regulatory alignment; access to labour, and a lengthy transition period that allow business time to adapt to change.

I believe the above tests are necessary in order to achieve a successful post-Brexit future that helps to improve our national productivity, create higher value jobs, and arm our workforce with the digital skills required in the decades ahead. It should also be acknowledged that it is also highly unrealistic to assume a trade deal could be negotiated and ratified by December 2020, and steps need to be taken to avoid another no deal scenario at the end of 2020.

2020 will undoubtedly be an interesting year and it should not be under-stated that there are significant opportunities for UK industry to take advantage of if we remain optimistic about our future prospects and look towards the opportunities that digitalisation offers. A digital future is not a case of if, but when, and UK manufacturers must ensure innovation sits at the heart of improving our overall competitiveness, making the most of the new technology opportunities, creating better living standards and setting the foundations for a more vibrant future for the UK economy.