MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING ROADMAP FOR 2021
While the manufacturing and engineering industries have been greatly impacted by COVID-19 over the past 12 months, 2021 is looking like a brighter and much more hopeful time.
Both sectors have come to be recognised as crucial parts of the UK economy, with their success very much linked to the recovery of the country’s overall health. Indeed, the government’s lockdown guidance even states that the manufacturing industry is “essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers”.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has even vowed to spend an impressive £600bn on infrastructure over the next five years which is another indication that opportunities in the manufacturing and engineering sectors should soon be plentiful.
The roadmap out of COVID-19
Thankfully, although the UK is currently enduring its third COVID-19 lockdown, manufacturing and engineering companies have, for the most part, been able to carry on operating as normal within the required social distancing precautions.
One of the positives to emerge from the challenges of recent times has been how professionals in the manufacturing and engineering sectors have proved themselves to be flexible, agile and able to pivot in new directions. The breadth of variability within the two markets has astounded many and the skills displayed have been applauded.
The roadmap for the two industries during the remainder of 2021 is very much intertwined with the easing of lockdown restrictions. In England, the relevant restrictions are as follows:
- 29th March: The stay-at-home rule will end, but the government will urge people to stay local as much as possible
- 12th April: UK domestic holidays allowed and many social and community amenities reopening
- 17th May: International travel allowed, and many more social activities available to the general public
- 21st June: All legal limits on social contact will be removed
The boost that the easings of these restrictions will give to everyone’s mental health, the overall economy and the feeling of hope and opportunity in the country are sure to be felt across all sectors in the UK, manufacturing and engineering included.
In line with the easing of national restrictions, the phases that the manufacturing and engineering sectors are expected to follow are:
- Ensuring essential services and business functions are operating efficiently again.
- Restarting activities from before the COVID-19 pandemic with services being reopened, people being rehired, and stockists being resupplied.
- Formal review of the last few months and the implementation of key learnings and solidification of new ways of working.
One of the warnings from both industries though is about getting the right people, with the right skills into the right jobs. We need to ensure that investment into the training of these professionals is prioritised and young people are encouraged to get involved in these sectors.
Let’s take a closer look at what 2021 is set to bring to two of White Label’s key industries.
2021 for the manufacturing industry
Industry experts are saying that 2021 will bring several particular changes to the manufacturing industry:
- Digitalisation transformation: The automation of processes is set to change at a rapid speed which will ensure that manufacturers are able to be more agile, efficient and cost-effective than ever before.
- Cloud storage: Advancements in data capture, analysis and cloud storage will allow the sector to build on the resilience and sustainability that they have showcased so effectively this last 12 months.
- Supply chain management: Production is set to become much more localised, which will have further positive implications on the flexibility, collaborative nature and strength of supply chains.
- Sustainability will be prioritised: The environmental impacts of the manufacturing industry is likely to be put at forefront of operational planning, rather than being an afterthought.
2021 for the engineering industry
The engineering industry is similar, with the following changes expected:
- Diversification: Many organisations have changed what products and services they have been focusing on, a move that has ensured their survival. This trend of diversification is set to continue.
- Women in the workplace: While women have been increasingly involved in the industry in recent years, they still only account for just over 10% of engineering professionals. The upward trajectory of women working in engineering is expected, and hoped, to remain for some time.
- Sustainability: This is something that all sectors will be focusing on and engineering is no exception. With the UK government set to invest £4billion to help create 250,000 so-called ‘green jobs’, new roles in engineering are sure to emerge.
- Technology: The engineering industry is expected to remain at the forefront of technology and demonstrate how it can be applied to everything from supply chains to production and people management to improve, advance and expand it.
A pivotal moment
There is no denying that the years of 2020 and 2021 will be looked back on as incredibly stressful and challenging times.
However, the feeling is that they may also be looked upon as turning points for manufacturing and engineering professionals. These sectors have historically been seen as quite cumbersome in their operations and processes and while change was already coming, COVID-19 has accelerated it.
Maybe the industry professionals of the future won’t see 2020 and 2021 as being characterised by COVID-19, but they will see these years as being a defining moment in the progression of these key UK industries.
If you would like further information, insight and advice on this topic please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the White Label team, today! email@example.com
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