Yesterday saw the publication of the Made Smarter Review (previously known as the Industrial Digitisation Review) Review. Led by Juergen Maier, this was commissioned by the Government in its Industrial Strategy Green Paper in January 2017. Widely tipped as one of the likely sector deals to be announced around the Autumn Budget the paper sets out in details what is required to make the UK a global leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution by 2030.
The report identifies and describes the role of key Industrial Digitisation Technology (IDTs) such as IoT and AI but its main focus is on how it is the convergence of these technologies, where the UK will see the revolutionary advances in productivity and output. The Review quantifies this impact to be as much as £455bn over the next decade, including; increasing the manufacturing sector by 1.5-3% per annum, reducing CO2 emissions by 4.5% and a radical increase in productivity.
The Report states that the UK is building on a position of strength, whilst highlighting the strong policy direction being set in countries such as Germany, China and the US. It finds that the UK should be making far better progress but lacks due to:
- Ineffective leadership of industrial digitisation
- Poor levels of adoption of IDTs, particularly amongst SMEs
- Under-leveraged innovation to support start and scale-ups.
The report’s recommendations are aimed at addressing these areas and include:
- Invest in a new National Adoption Programme to accelerate the diffusion of IDT by SMEs. This would involve targeted support and by trialled in the North West
- Create a network of Digital Research Centres to bring together expertise in key technology areas
- Establish a Made Smarter UK Commission as a public-private partnership, with working groups sitting underneath it
- Develop a skills programme to re-skill 1 million workers over the next 5 years
- Greater utilisation of R&D Tax Credit System to incentivise investment in IDTs
Matthew Evans, Head of techUK’s IoT Programme said “This report delivers on two counts. It demonstrates the opportunity that exists on the domestic and export fronts for increased digitisation of manufacturing; helping to drive up productivity and resource efficiency at home whilst supercharging our domestic supply chain to take advantage of the global market.
It also marks an important milestone in the development of an Industrial Strategy for the 21st Century. It clearly sets out the challenges for driving greater adoption, many of which will be familiar to other sectors. Low rates of digitisation amongst SMEs is one of those issues and we support calls to explore how to use the tax credits system to remedy this, in line with our 2017 Manifesto. The prize is there but the challenge too is clear. We look forward to continuing to work with Government to deliver on these recommendations."