Outlining a digital roadmap for industry

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:
Juergen Maier CEO Siemens UK and Ireland and chair of the Industrial Digitalisation Review

Business leaders from the UK’s most prominent firms are to begin work on a roadmap for digitalising British industry, hoping to find ways that new technologies can increase national productivity and improve the skills of employees across the country.

The Industrial Digitalisation Review was announced as part of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy on the 23rd of January, and has met for the first time at the Digital Catapult Centre in London.

The review was chaired by Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK and Ireland, who is tasked to assess how the UK can benefit from the accelerated adoption of digital technology across advanced manufacturing. It is backed by the newly formed Productivity Leadership Council, which received support from the Government in the November Autumn Statement.

Representatives from business include Sir Charlie Mayfield (chairman, John Lewis), Phil Smith (chairman, Cisco UK & Ireland), Carolyn Fairbairn (director general, CBI) David Stokes (CEO UK & Ireland, IBM), Oliver Benzecry, (CEO of Accenture UK), Roger Connor (head of global manufacturing, GSK) and Nigel Stein, (CEO of GKN).

They will be joined by Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy who alongside the Secretary of State, Greg Clarke, will receive the outputs of the review.

Hurd said: “Industry is best placed to identify what firms really need and we want them to come to us with proposals to transform and upgrade their sector.”

The Industrial Digitalisation Review leadership team will engage with large and small businesses alongside academics to see how the design, development and deployment of digital technologies can drive increased national productivity.

The completion of the review will result in a blueprint for a ‘Sector Deal’ for manufacturing and industrial sectors, which could see government and business partners increase the take up of new technologies in the UK.

Maier said: “We want the end result to be a sector deal for manufacturing that makes a real difference to companies regardless of their size or market.”

The leadership team will also identify industrial sectors with the maximum opportunity to benefit from the adoption of industrial digitalisation technologies, looking at global best practice. They will also identify the digital technologies with the highest likelihood of being able to create new industries and jobs. These include artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality solutions, automation technology, robotics, blockchain and data analytics.

The Industrial Digitalisation Review leadership team will also identify the key policy interventions that will encourage advanced manufacturing and broader industry to invest in new technologies.

Smith added: “Business is backing this review with enthusiasm because we are all passionate about supporting UK industry through an immense period of change, both politically and technologically. If we can shape a sector deal that helps the UK compete with world leaders in this space, notably Germany and the US, the jobs payoff could be substantial.”

The Industrial Digitalisation Review leadership team is set to complete its work in the summer of 2017 and will report interim findings in the coming months.

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