Global manufacturing industry 2022: the need for agility

The global manufacturing industry has navigated countless challenges in recent years. While the effects of Brexit and COVID-19 are still being felt, businesses have proven their resilience to get through some trying times.

However, with the recent invasion of Ukraine, and the heightened awareness of market instability around the corner, manufacturers need to be more agile that even in order to thrive.

Businesses can expect Brexit to continue to hamper free trade and the security concerns with Russia and China could severely disrupt business at any moment.

With this in mind, we take you through some of the key areas where greater agility could lead to a more resilient business for UK manufacturers.

A continued reliance on exports

Despite the events of Brexit, most businesses continue to experience high levels of trade with the EU. The problem is that tighter rules and restrictions make doing business more complicated and more expensive.

With this in mind, businesses are looking to expand their focus to new markets, as opposed to relying on previous relationships – with a particular interest in the US, East Asia and Middle East.

The challenge will be in refining supply chains when exporting goods from greater distances and reducing time and costs on distribution.

Greater investment in people from global manufacturers

Despite the increase in AI capability, people are still a central part of any manufacturing business. If anything, the increased sophistication of technologies places greater demands on the people who use them.

With this in mind, manufacturers are seeking to offer training to staff and the opportunity to upskill in order to meet greater workplace demands and a shortage of labour due to changing demographics.

While technology is helping to increase efficiency and profitability, it is important that the workforce does not get left behind – they remain a vital cog in any successful business operation.

Growth through technology

Unsurprisingly, the global manufacturing industry is seeking to invest in technology as a means of meeting the current economic challenges head on.

In a more competitive marketplace, gaining small advantages over the competition through technology is a common strategy in boosting profits.

With this mind, a significant proportion of businesses will be looking to increase their AI capabilities, investing in new ERP implementations and digital technologies to support the change.

Likewise, there is increasing focus on net-zero targets, creating businesses that are carbon-neutral and can fulfil worldwide targets outlined at COP26. Businesses in certain industries may even be penalised if they are unable to keep up with the pace of change, so investing in technologies that can facilitate this is a smart move.

Want to learn more about how to increase the agility of your business? Our expert consultants are on hand here to offer their advice.

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