MANUFACTURERS in Warrington and Cheshire are risking wasted time, money and effort adopting digital technology without a strategic plan for digital transformation, research by Made Smarter has revealed.
A survey exploring the awareness, attitudes and approach to digital technologies of 201 SME manufacturers found huge appetite and motivation to introduce new digital tools into their operations.
Three quarters (75 per cent) of respondents claimed to have adopted new technology in the last three years, compared to 12 per cent who have never made the investment.
But the survey also highlighted the lack of a strategic approach to adopting technology.
More than half (55 per cent) of manufacturers admitted technology was not part of their future vision and growth plan. This was highest among micro-businesses (60 per cent).
Further probing found that business leaders were more likely to upgrade existing technologies to maintain continuity rather than to improve productivity.
The research suggests too few are approaching the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in a planned, strategic manner.
Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, says the answer to a successful digital transformation is a holistic approach.
“What is clear from our survey is that manufacturers recognise that digital tools and technology are essential to remain competitive, cut costs, increase growth, and enhance the customer experience, and without capitalising on the opportunities digital technology offers, they risk getting left behind,” she said.
“But it is also clear that too many makers have employed technology without the technical understanding of which areas to focus on first – which leads to disparate, disconnected equipment, and increases the risk of wasted time, money and effort.
“Whilst digital tools enable opportunities, it’s how we choose to use these that determines their success.”