Industry automation report

Let robots build your business

Robots can help small business thrive by boosting production, quality and efficiency.

Future-proofing UK manufacturing

We’ve published 'Future-proofing UK manufacturing' – a report into the automation of manufacturing processes of 700 British and German businesses. You can download it here.

Don’t get left behind

The report shows that while overseas businesses and larger companies in the UK are using robotics, smaller UK companies are reluctant to invest, so risk losing out in the increasingly globalised market.

That said, 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.

In fact, 22% of all companies that have turned to automation, claim that robotics have boosted their productivity by 20%.

Job security

For those worried about their workforce being ousted by robots, our research found the opposite to be true. The economic modelling we carried out shows that companies who invest in automation even a little more over the next 5-10 years, will have fewer job losses than those that maintain their current rate.

Help is out there

The report also showed that two thirds of smaller businesses don't think there’s enough support or information available when it comes to automation – so maybe this is the crux of the problem.

The government and private sector can offer lots of support and guidance. Read more in our report – it’s full of useful investment sources, and their contact details. You can download it here.

To sum up

  • Only 21% of smaller UK businesses have invested in automation or robotics, compared to 51% of medium businesses and 71% of larger businesses. Two thirds haven't even considered it
  • Most smaller businesses don’t see the potential for automation, either for their business or as a way to upskill their workforce
  • A lack of funding, inflexible equipment, high costs and other priorities are key barriers to investment
  • Companies that have invested in automation have higher productivity, better-quality products and a more efficient workforce. So, automation could help smaller businesses be more competitive, too
  • Nearly two thirds of smaller businesses think there’s 'very little or no support' for automation. available. The government and suppliers have an important role to play in bridging this knowledge gap


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