Investment in high-tech manufacturing is essential

UK factories must be in a position to compete with technologically advanced rivals on an international stage, according to technology solution provider World Wide Technology.

The latest productivity statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the manufacturing sector improved its output per hour in the first quarter of this year. This contrasts with a slump in service sector productivity over the same period.

However, the figures, which show a 0.2% improvement, do not spell an end to concern around productivity, which still lags behind other G7 nations.

The competitiveness of UK industrial firms is likely to be a key talking point as the nation seeks new markets on the global stage. Productivity has long posed a challenge for the UK’s manufacturing industry and remains a hot issue, with commentators suggesting a range of solutions to retain a competitive edge.

Ben Boswell, VP Europe at World Wide Technology, said: “Technological innovation within the factory will likely be the most important driver of change in the future manufacturing sector. Additive manufacturing, connected robots and increased virtualisation will become the standard in producing better goods more efficiently.

“For the UK to retain its leadership in the high-tech sectors, firms will need to grasp how they can use the next-generation of factory technologies to improve their existing processes.”