Productivity statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown that the manufacturing sector improved its output per hour in the first quarter of this year. This contrasts with a slump in service sector productivity over the same period. The figures, which show a 0.2% improvement, do not spell an end to concern around productivity, which still lags behind other G7 nations.
The competitiveness of UK industrial firms is likely to be a key talking point as the nation seeks new markets on the global stage. Productivity has long posed a challenge for the UK’s manufacturing industry and remains a hot issue, with commentators suggesting a range of solutions to retain a competitive edge.
Ben Boswell, VP Europe at World Wide Technology commented: “The UK’s most productive sectors are those which develop highly refined products in the pharmaceutical, aerospace, automotive and technology industries.”
“These sectors require both a highly skilled workforce and the factory infrastructure to remain competitive on a global playing field. Technological innovation within the factory will likely be the most important driver of change in the future manufacturing sector. Additive manufacturing, connected robots and increased virtualisation will become the standard in producing better goods more efficiently.”
“Take Tesla as an example. Their factories are the current gold standard in what can be achieved through leveraging digital manufacturing technologies – their next-generation cars could only have been developed in their cutting-edge factories.”
“Increasing productivity in the 21st century is therefore a question of which technologies can be deployed in the correct way to streamline the manufacturing process. For the UK to retain its leadership in the high-tech sectors, firms will need to grasp how they can use the next-generation of factory technologies to improve their existing processes.”