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This week saw the long awaited release of the Government’s Industrial Digitalisation Review - Made Smarter - which was chaired by Professor Juergen Maier, CEO of Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) member Siemens UK.

The review outlines proposals to boost the economy using advanced digital technologies including robotics, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, as well as artificial intelligence.

The MTA and some of its members, notably Marcus Burton, Director of Yamazaki Mazak, have worked closely with Professor Maier and his team to ensure the voice of the UK’s advanced manufacturing technologies sector is represented in the report. The MTA were thanked for their contribution to the review in the foreword of the publication.

The Review brings together input and recommendations from over 200 stakeholders, including companies such as Rolls Royce, GKN, IBM, Yamazaki Mazak and Accenture, as well as academic institutions including the University of Newcastle and the University of Cambridge. R&D centres of excellence, the Digital Catapult and High Value Manufacturing Catapult co-designed the proposals.

Over ten years, industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn, increasing sector growth up to 3% per year; creating a net gain of 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%. Proposals include the establishment of a ‘Made Smarter Commission’ to support a national plan to put Britain’s small businesses at the forefront of a ‘fourth industrial revolution.’

The review followed the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, launched in January, which identified industrial digitalisation as one of five potential early sector deals. It has kickstarted work with stakeholders to identify opportunities for government and industry to work together.

Business Secretary Greg Clark MP said, “The UK manufacturing sector has the potential to be a global leader in the industrial digital technology revolution. Government and industry must work together to seize the opportunities that exist in this sector and promote the benefits of adopting emerging digital technologies, as well as cutting edge business models.

“I welcome the Made Smarter report that has been published today and thank Juergen and the reviewers for their work in outlining the huge potential digitalisation offers to this important sector. I look forward to working closely with industry to secure an Industrial Digitalisation Sector Deal.”

MTA CEO James Selka said of the report, “The UK’s advanced manufacturing sector has huge potential and we welcome this Review. It is essential to have a joined up approach to implementing it to sustain growth, improve productivity, secure jobs and harness the innovative thinking that the UK is renowned for.”

He continued, “This is a good first step, now we must see how the Government plans to translate it into action. The UK needs to remain competitive with its international peers and push forward with plans to embrace digitalisation. The MTA will be at hand to work alongside government to support companies in the adoption of new technologies and business models.”


You can download the report here:

Key points summary

  • Adoption: Building a national digital ecosystem. Government and industry should create a significantly more visible and effective ecosystem that will accelerate the innovation and diffusion of Industrial Digital Technologies. This includes a National Adoption Programme piloted in the North West, focused on increasing capacity of existing growth hubs and providing more targeted support. Additionally the Review recommends up-skilling one million industrial workers to enable digital technologies to be deployed and successfully exploited through a Single Industrial Digitalisation Skills Strategy.
  • Innovation: Re-focus existing landscape by increasing capacity and capability through the creation of 12 ‘Digital Innovation Hubs’, eight large scale demonstrators and five digital research centres focused on developing new technologies as part of a new National Innovation Programme. 
  • Leadership: Establish a national body, Made Smarter UK (MSUK) Commission, comprising Industry, Government, Academia, FE and leading Research and Innovation organisations, responsible for developing the UK as a leader in Industrial Digitalisation Technologies (IDT) and skills, which has a mandate to develop the UK’s own national Industry 4.0 domestic and global brand.