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Industry automation report

Embrace the rise of the robots

Smaller businesses in the UK are lagging behind larger companies and foreign peers when it comes to automation and the use of robotics, but those that have got on board are seeing increases in production, consistency, quality and efficiency.

Future-proofing UK manufacturing

We have published 'Future-proofing UK Manufacturing', a report into the automation of manufacturing processes of 700 British and German businesses.

Download the full report now 1.57 MB

Don’t get left behind

The report revealed that while the trend towards using robotics is taking off in overseas businesses and larger ones here, smaller companies in the UK are reluctant to invest, so risk losing out in the increasingly globalised market.

21% of smaller businesses have upgraded to some degree of automation, and they’re already seeing the benefits. Production has increased, as has consistency and quality, and employees now have more time to concentrate on other tasks.

Of all the companies, of all sizes, that have turned to automation, 22% claim that the robotics have boosted their productivity by 20%.

Job security

For those worried that their workforce will be ousted by robots, our research found the opposite is in fact true. The economic modelling we carried out for the report shows that even a moderate increase in automation investment over the next 5 to 10 years would mean fewer job losses than in companies that maintain their current rate.

Help is out there

The report also revealed that two thirds of smaller businesses didn't think there was enough support or information available to them when it comes to automation. This suggests that what's really lacking is the information about the help that is out there.

There are various sources for support and guidance from both the government and private sector. The report contains contact details for a number of sources of investment and information about automation. Download it now 1.57 MB .

Summary

  • Only 21% of smaller UK businesses have invested in automation or robotics, while 51% of medium businesses and 71% of larger businesses have. Two-thirds haven't even considered it.
  • A majority of the smaller businesses don’t recognise the potential for automation either for their businesses or as a way to upskill their workforce.
  • Lack of external funding, lack of flexibility of equipment, high costs and other priorities for capital investment are key barriers to investment.
  • Companies that have invested in automation see higher productivity, better quality of products and more workforce efficiency. This means increased automation could help smaller businesses to be more competitive.
  • Nearly two-thirds of smaller businesses believe there is 'very little or no support' available to them when it comes to automation. The government and suppliers have an important role to play in bridging this knowledge gap.

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