21 months have passed since the UK went into its first national lockdown, and manufacturing businesses across the country were forced to rapidly pivot their operating models by accelerating flexible working policies, and where possible, migrating as well as digitising processes.
Many of these companies are now exploring the benefits of digital manufacturing and why there is growing opportunity here. This was certainly evident at this year’s Digital Manufacturing Week, which welcomed over 3,000 manufacturing leaders to the Liverpool City Region for the 6th year running. During the event we heard from speakers at the Digital Transformation Solutions Theatre discuss the benefits of digitising processes and how it can improve process control, minimise process variation and reduce operational costs.
In modern global manufacturing, industrial leaders are ever increasing the need to innovate and adopt new technological advances to remain competitive. From growing their e-commerce presence, introducing automation and robotics into their businesses through to supply chains, manufacturers are looking more and more towards digitisation and how it can transform the traditional way of doing things.
Additionally, with COP26 highlighting the need to accelerate action towards climate change, each business is working to achieve the UK Government’s net zero by 2050 target, and by 2040 in the Liverpool City Region. Over the next one to two decades, manufacturers will have to overcome challenges in being more sustainable, improving its circularity, producing environmentally friendly packaging and lowering its energy consumption.
I believe accelerating digital manufacturing in the North will help ensure the success of the levelling up agenda by helping create high value goods, services and jobs. For me, Digital Manufacturing Week symbolises the leading role in which Liverpool City Region is playing within the global digital manufacturing industry – and that is why we led the way in bringing this prestigious event to the City Region way back in 2015 – it shows how our region, and the wider North West, are pioneers in this industry.
The digital revolution has already begun in the manufacturing sector, and it will only continue to pick up pace in the coming years, and Liverpool City Region, with all its digital manufacturing credentials, will play a key role in driving digital innovation forward. The City Region is already home to one of Europe’s largest concentrations of bio-manufacturing clusters. Major pharmaceutical players include AstraZeneca, Baxter Healthcare, Bristol Myers Squibb, Nestle Health Science, Seqirus and Unilever, all have facilities in the City Region.
The level of support available in the City Region to help manufacturers digitise is second to none, there are support programmes led by academics and industry who are revolutionising the thinking behind Industry 4.0. Which is why so many businesses who relocate and invest here benefit from the digital manufacturing skilled workforce and a highly developed Industry 4.0-ready supply chain cultivated by the long-term presence of global leaders in the automotive, chemicals, bio-manufacturing, and FMCG sectors and Universities. Liverpool City Region’s 50,000-strong modern manufacturing workforce is also complemented by a high density of dynamic SMEs and technology businesses.
Here at Growth Platform, we will continue to lead the way in bringing manufacturing communities together across the region, whilst supporting and guiding existing and prospective investors to all the opportunities the City Region has to offer.