24 Jul 2024


Half of UK machine-builders have no digitalisation strategy

Siemens’ survey suggests that UK machine-builders are slow to take up digital technologies

Almost half of all machine-builders in the UK and Ireland have no strategy in place to embark on a digital transformation of their businesses, according to a survey conducted by Siemens. Moreover, just 17% of them are planning to implement smart and connected technologies in the coming two years, despite many of them having assets that are already IoT-ready and sensor-enabled.

Other findings from the survey are that:
• more than two-thirds of machine-builders regard increasing productivity and efficiency as being their biggest challenge, with improving delivery speeds and reducing time-to-market being key goals;
• only a fifth (21%) are using digital twins to create physical and digital products in parallel;
• only 14% are very confident that they can measure the return-on-investment in digital technologies and skills for their manufacturing processes;
• just 15% are adding value to their sales by offering remote maintenance, training and other services, with 48% revealing that generate no value at all from services; and that
• almost half of those surveyed consider preventive and predictive maintenance to deliver the greatest benefits in reducing risks and downtime.

Despite the relatively low uptake of digital technologies, nearly 60% of machine-builders believe that the most significant impact of digitalisation will be to reduce time-to-market, by accelerating business and production processes.

“Digital transformation is coming, and it will profoundly alter the competitive landscape in the machine-building industry, with smart technology greatly improving the efficiency of critical processes,” comments Ben Sheath, vice-president and managing director of Siemens Digital Industries Software in the UK and Ireland. “Machine-builders who are digitally ready can respond to market trends and customer demands faster, better, and at a lower cost.

“The old objections of scalability and affordability no longer apply,” he adds. “Our technologies make it easy to bring production machinery online, to pilot a digitalisation initiative on a single machine and then scale across the full global footprint of the enterprise.

“The changes announced to the UK Spring Budget allow companies to write off the full cost of IT equipment, plant and machinery against taxable profits in the year of investment, instead of over the life of the asset,” Sheath points out. “The first-mover advantages will be enormous. The time to act is now.”

The benchmark report can be downloaded from here.

Interested companies in the UK and Ireland can also benchmark their activities against those of their peers by taking part in the online survey here. They will receive feedback in the form of a personal benchmark.

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