factory floor

Emerging from uncertain times 

The future of Manufacturing

28/07/2020
factory floor
Commentary from our National Head of Manufacturing, Johnathan Dudley

The UK manufacturing sector was already facing significant challenges before the global coronavirus pandemic. The timing and impact of Brexit affects all sectors and in particular manufacturing. There are also issues concerning the future of the internal combustion engine, suppressing sales, and therefore production schedules, down the supply chain in the automotive sector.

The global pandemic has brought the aerospace industry to a shuddering halt; no aircraft in our skies means that maintenance and replacement schedules are delayed and supply chains have quickly deteriorated too.

Our Manufacturing Outlook Report 2020 identified a number of key needs and opportunities across manufacturing sectors. COVID-19 has made these issues even more important when looking to the future.

In fact, the pandemic has brought the need for change into even sharper focus. To survive and thrive, the UK manufacturing industry has needed to change for quite some time, even before the impact of COVID-19, Reinvestment was needed to drive efficiency and global competitiveness and adjust to the realities of transformed, greener technologies and products.

In the manufacturing sector, COVID-19 has:

  • depleted cash and funding reserves
  • increased debt
  • limited traditional customer demand and made that demand uncertain in the future
  • exposed weaknesses in supply chains.

Manufacturers need to take a close look at their products and services and establish where and if competitive advantage can be achieved. They should exploit that advantage where they can and scale back or even abandon, where they cannot.

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Johnathan Dudley
Johnathan Dudley, National Head of Manufacturing, said:

"Inevitably, this will require some tough and often brave decisions and there can be no ‘sacred cows’ in the process. Whereas before COVID-19, some businesses could have opted to resist change, now it is unavoidable and businesses need to be ready to implement change successfully at very short notice. Looking on the positive side, the effects of COVID-19 could be viewed as strategically beneficial to manufacturing businesses that were previously resistant to change management.

"The future of manufacturing will need to be predicated based on energy efficient production and products. There will be a drive for new and greener materials and processes, lighter components and innovative solutions to the problems posed by the various sectors of industry.

"Such problems will not necessarily be driven predominantly by price at all costs, as they have in the past. Political, idealistic and social pressures will dictate that supply chains will need to be both ethically sound and kind to our planet.

"Successful manufacturers of the future will seek out and develop innovative solutions to transform their products and services to meet the customer needs of the new post COVID-19 age and deliver the necessary change to their businesses to facilitate them."


How we can help

We have a range of processes to assist manufacturers in getting back on track, visualising and achieving future goals and the expertise to advise on the tax and accounting issues that derive from the necessary change.

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