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‘UK manufacturers are not planning to cope with change’

18 October, 2018

UK manufacturers need to prioritise forward-thinking strategies to cope with an unprecedented amount of change in the sector, a new report from NatWest suggests. Based on interviews with senior personnel in 110 UK manufacturing companies with turnovers from £5–80m, Future Fit: Trailblazing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution looks at what makes a successful manufacturer, and reveals the views of the sector’s leaders.

While 78% of respondents said that they have the capacity to implement forward-thinking strategies, less than a quarter (22%) place the development of strategic plans for the next five years at the top of their agendas.

“With the convergence of rapid changes in technology, data analysis and other macro-economic issues, it’s clear that to prepare for the future, leaders must bridge the gap between their intentions and actions, when it comes to innovation and r&d,” says Richard Hill, NatWest’s Head of Automotive & Manufacturing

Four fifths of those surveyed for the report agreed that innovation will be crucial to remain competitive in the next 5–10 years. And 54% cited a lack of innovation as their number one international challenge. But only 15% said that future-proofing their business was top of their agenda.

The NatWest report provides insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by UK manufacturers

“During our research a sub-group of manufacturing leaders emerged who we’ve called ‘trailblazers’,” Hill continues. “They have similar and distinct attitudes to challenges, opportunities and planning. These businesses have prioritised the development of strategic plans, ensured they have the staff to deliver them internally and have built a resilient business system that is proactively seeking to diversify.”

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