The use of industrial digital technologies (IDTs) is gathering pace across the manufacturing sector – but what are the drivers of and the impediments to their adoption? To find out, we solicited insights from leading industry experts in the manufacturing technology sector and from within BSI – both on the future of IDTs and on how standards can help UK manufacturers embrace them with greater confidence.
The recurring theme is that there are huge opportunities, because IDTs enable manufacturers to achieve increased control of the business issues they want to address and strengthen their ability to adapt quickly to change. However, there are risks, complications and challenges to adoption.
Challenges to adoption
Cost, or the perception of it, is seen as a significant inhibitor – and it may be that UK manufacturers are overly cost-conscious. “We know that proportionately, technology investment in the UK is lower than that of our international competitors,” says James Selka, CEO of the Manufacturing Technologies Association. For example, the UK is 24th on the world league table when it comes to adopting robots. There are some reasons for this relatively low technology investment, including, until quite recently, a very flexible labour force in the UK.