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Commission aiming to make manufacturing ‘smarter’ has first meeting


The recent inaugural meeting of the Made Smarter Commission has brought together Business leaders, academics and the government to make manufacturing ‘smarter’.

The meeting co-chaired by Business Secretary, Greg Clark, and Siemens CEO, Professor Juergen Maier, includes senior members from Airbus, EEF, BAE Systems and the TUC. The aim is to drive the boosting of productivity and create more highly-skilled jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Made Smarter Review

The commission was formed following the launch of the Made Smarter Review in November 2017 which sought input and recommendations from over 200 stakeholders, including companies such as Rolls Royce, GKN, IBM, and Accenture.

The Review focused on three priority areas:

  • More ambitious, informed and targeted leadership;
  • More widespread adoption of integrated device technology (IDT) across supply chains, especially within smaller enterprises; and,
  • Faster innovation and creation of new IDTs and IDT companies in order to sustain UK competitive advantage.

Last year’s review forecast that, over the next ten years, industrial digitalisation could boost UK manufacturing by £455bn. This would increase sector growth by up to 3% per year, creating a net gain of around 175,000 jobs whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5%.

Commission priorities

Key priorities for the Commission's first meeting included:

  • Discussing the North West pilot for the adoption of digital technology by manufacturers in the North West;
  • The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund bid for digital manufacturing in development which hopes to bring together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time;
  • How new techniques – such as 3D printing – can transform the manufacturing industry, as well as other innovative uses of digital technologies; and,
  • The need for more ambitious and stronger leadership.

Juergen Maier, CEO of Siemens, stated:

“The Made Smarter Commission promises to deliver our core recommendation of driving digitalisation across the UK and invigorating industrial strategy. We need now more than ever to unite business, employees and government behind a strategy that boosts industrial productivity and improves living standards.”

The UK is in the top 10 largest global manufacturing economies and is the fourth largest in the EU. Last year, manufacturing GVA totalled £186 billion, supporting 2.7 million jobs and continues to account for 48% of the UK total exports of goods and services.

Business Secretary, Greg Clark, concluded:

“The increased adoption of digital technologies will bring enormous benefits potentially generating £455 billion over the next 10 years.

“We need strong partnership between government and industry which is exactly why we have established the Made Smarter Commission. I am proud that leading men and women from industry, business and academia are working with us to turn the ambition into a reality and enable everyone to reap the rewards.”

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