Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Manufacturing a Major Technology Revolution

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Manufacturing a Major Technology Revolution

Article excerpt

Byline: Naomi Morrow

IT IS perhaps an obvious statement to say that the continued success of the manufacturing sector is critically important to the North East's economy. However, the challenges facing the manufacturing sector are huge.

Increasing international competitiveness, fluctuating customer needs, dynamic supply chains and changing government legislation are just a few to mention.

More specifically, some recent research we've undertaken with manufacturing companies has suggested the utmost barrier to growth include lack of resource in terms of budget and people power - and lack of understanding of technology's potential.

It is this latter point that is most interesting from our point of view. It is our job within the Digital Catapult North East and Tees Valley to work with traditionally non-digital businesses to help them understand how technology can help drive their businesses onwards and upwards.

Collaboration between the growing tech community and manufacturers is key, however this cannot be forced, and will only be successful if it is forged on mutual understanding, application and benefit. A manufacturing sector underpinned by technology will thrive, innovate and compete locally, nationally and globally. So it is of no surprise that technology companies and economic strategists alike can see the benefit of further integration between the two.

It is easy to say that in order to stay ahead the industry needs to embrace new technological solutions. But the challenges manufacturers face are as individual as the businesses themselves.

There is no one size fits all approach to digitalising manufacturing. Many inside the manufacturing organisations we spoke to did not know of or understand what tools, uses and benefits technological innovation could bring to their companies. Ultimately, what manufacturers need to understand is how adopting new technology into their processes will affect their bottom line.

It is now easier than ever for manufacturers to benefit from emerging and data-driven technologies - with an increased pool of innovative and competitive technology providers able to quickly and efficiently develop game-changing solutions that can revolutionise the sector, supported by public and privately-backed initiatives that are creating the right ecosystem to allow this collaboration to occur. …

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