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The Year Ahead – Tech Trends for the UK’s Manufacturing sector for 2019

05/12/18 Rachael Dent Manager, Electronics & Technology

Welcome to the end of 2018. It is something of an understatement to say that 2018 has been a turbulent year with geopolitical events of the past 12 months - most notably the lingering uncertainty over Brexit – has had an undeniably negative impact on UK’s manufacturing industry, with many manufacturers cutting spending plans and sounding stark warnings over the possible consequences of leaving the customs union and European single market.

While most engineering and manufacturing businesses we’ve spoken to over the course of the past couple of years would happily turn the clock back to those uncomplicated pre-referendum days, there’s a growing sense that technology – in particular processes and techniques that can help boost manufacturing productivity – will play a key role in helping the UK adjust to the outcome of Brexit. Rachael Dent,  Redline’s Head of Operations, looks ahead at 2019 and what can be expected in terms of rapid technological change, greater adoption of the digital processes that are reshaping the manufacturing and operations jobs market. 

The key digital processes:

• The futuristic factory: 2018 has seen tangible examples of what industry 4.0 means in practice and how manufacturers are using it to exploit the benefits of a host of digital manufacturing techniques – from digital twins, augmented and virtual reality to addictive manufacturing. There has certainly been an increase in clients’ implementing digital manufacturing to improve the efficiency, flexibility and productivity of their operations. 
• Electric and connected vehicles: It is no exaggeration to say that the automotive sector is going through a period of profound revolutionary change, with electrification and driverless technology – both fringe concepts only a decade ago – now at the heart of many manufacturers’ plans for the future. 
• Integrating analogue, digital and software: The development and production of industrial automation equipment is becoming an increasingly high-tech undertaking, with the ever-present pressure to get to market quickly with new, more sophisticated designs. 
• Additive Manufacturing: Additive manufacturing (AM) has rapidly expanded into nearly all industries with projections of growth continuing in the double digits for the next decade. AM carries with it the ability to expand product performance, reduce design-to-product-cycle times and drive down total product cost. 

Trends in Skills and training 

“With the concern around skills supply showing no signs of going away, it is critical we commit to taking steps which will avoid this becoming an intractable problem.” says Rachael. “Employers are struggling to recruit suitably qualified engineers at all levels, the importance of skills and training is at the forefront of engineering companies’ minds.  Findings from the IET’s latest Skills Survey highlighted that skills supply is a leading concern for employers. On the positive side, over half (52 per cent) of the engineering companies questioned are currently recruiting, but almost the same amount (46 per cent) report difficulties recruiting staff with the right skills, and a quarter (25 per cent) have observed skills gaps in their current workforce.”

“We’re facing a massive shortage of manufacturing engineers in this country, and training and development is a brilliant recruitment and retention tool. With the increase in digitisation and automation, more manufacturing businesses than ever are looking to introduce or extend their use of digital technologies, however not all companies have personnel with these skills.” “Redline’s clients have responded to these challenges in a number of ways, including using our onboarding toolkit to recruit staff and training programmes to retain staff.”

Specialising in the selection of both permanent, contract and interim manufacturing engineering professionals throughout the UK and Europe. Redline recruits manufacturing engineers who typically design, implement, monitor and maintain manufacturing processes ensuring the product is produced in the most efficient and cost-effective way. For a full breakdown of the typical Manufacturing & Operations Recruitment handled by Redline, click here.

To find out more about operations and careers in manufacturing or to see our latest job opportunities, please click here or alternatively contact Rachael Dent on 01582 878847 or email RDent@RedlineGroup.Com