The Right Approach
Firstly, I was pleased to be discussing this topic on a management rather than a technology podcast. That’s because – in our experience at Make UK – digitalisation is as much a change management issue as it is a technology one. Taking full advantage of the productivity and resilience gains that are on offer requires a fundamental reworking of production processes and systems – and the confidence and management skills to drive through that change. So, it’s great to see companies like Rockwell Automation place a particular focus on the management aspect of digital transformation, and acknowledging this is part of the broader challenge.
It’s also what makes digitalisation a huge challenge for a large part of the UK industrial sector. Most especially SMEs, where leaders will have many pulls on their time and energy from the plant floor. In many ways, I believe that SMEs actually hold the key for the future of UK industry, and the policy paper goes a long way to offering insight into how we can enable this vital group of companies to level up in terms of digitalisation. The opportunity is huge.
The point is often made about the opportunity for industry as a whole, but seldom made that SMEs have a particular advantage in adopting digital approaches. This is due to more agile decision-making and greater levels of flexibility. Given the right circumstances, they will thrive in this era, despite the economic outlook and impact of coronavirus.