There’s plenty of gloom and doom around regarding the state of the UK economy and uncertainty about the future for British businesses, in particular the manufacturing sector. Despite major concerns, not least due to the impact of Brexit trade negotiations, we believe UK manufacturing businesses are a resilient and inventive lot, and that it’s better to be optimistic when it comes to commerce. With this is mind, we’ve identified three aspects of business on which you should be focusing, in order to prosper and grow:
When demand drops and sales slow, it gives you an opportunity to explore new markets and customers. Against a background of prolonged Brexit uncertainty, a number of resources have been developed to assist businesses in growing their businesses further. The Department of International Trade has established a dedicated resource hub https://www.great.gov.uk/ to research potential markets; a number of UK manufacturing associations have joined together to form a website that connects manufacturers with suppliers ReshoringUK (https://www.reshoringuk.co.uk/ ; and Lloyds have a useful website that can assist in export payment instruments and securing trade finance https://resources.lloydsbank.com/international-trade-portal/
Peter Drucker called business innovation ‘…the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth’. The very nature of business requires that you adapt to a changing operating environment: new competitors offer new products, existing customers fade away, Brexit happens. Whether we like it or not, change forces change and a business must take measured risks and step outside its comfort zone, embracing new ideas and seeking to develop them. A number of avenues exist to help your business develop new ideas and take them to market: The High Value Manufacturing Catapult provides a range of Government funded services as does the Manufacturing Technology Centre.
The UK led the first Industrial Revolution: mechanical production. It likewise drove the second: science, and was an early adopter of the third: digital. Now it’s readying itself for the fourth, Industry 4.0. This term incorporates the trend towards the Internet of Things, including smart sensors, cloud computing, cognitive computing, mobile devices, artificial intelligence and more. Businesses need to be familiar with all these concepts and the impact they will have. To help your business prepare for the fourth industrial revolution and ensure a digital future for manufacturing, a number of companies are geared up to help, including Hitachi and Fujitsu.
Open new doors
To stay competitive, manufacturers must commit to four courses of action: identify crucial business needs, invest in technology, build organisational capability and adapt processes and culture to remain relevant. Choosing inaction over action could lead to your manufacturing business shutting doors instead of opening new and potentially lucrative ones!
Turner Rawlinson is a longstanding member of Willis Towers Watson Networks and we are proud to be associated with the British Plastics Federation.
For further information about tailored insurance for the industry please visit our plastics and manufacturing insurance page.
You can also find more information for all sizes of business on our trade credit insurance page.