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Rethink manufacturing: A UK strategy for Industry 4.0

Rethink manufacturing: A UK strategy for Industry 4.0

Research among UK manufacturers uncovers their highest priorities for a long-term and coherent industrial strategy.


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Register here to download our Rethink manufacturing: Designing a UK industrial strategy for the age of Industry 4.0

We are at a critical juncture for UK manufacturing. An array of recent developments, from political and macroeconomic events to the increasing pace of extraordinary technology developments, point to volatile and disruptive times ahead. It’s time for a rethink.

Industry 4.0 is poised to drive transformation across global manufacturing. Innovative technologies such as intelligent robotics, 3D-printing and artificial intelligence, combined with new approaches to data management, will help manufacturers and the supply chain save time, boost productivity, reduce waste and costs, and respond more effectively to consumer demand.

UK manufacturing has an opportunity to position itself as a globally attractive and competitive base for advanced manufacturing, producing the best-designed products that are competitively priced. For this to become a reality requires industry to work closely with government to advance the UK’s industrial digitalisation, bring the right skills into the industry, and as necessary, cushion against the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union.The government’s recent industrial strategy green paper is a positive and welcome step in the right direction, yet it remains to be seen how this will play out in practical terms on the ground. If these challenges are not effectively addressed, manufacturing and associated industries are at risk of decline. Collaboration between sectors, as well as between industry, government and the education sector, is going to be critical.

KPMG has commissioned this research (Rethink manufacturing: Designing a UK industrial strategy for the age of Industry 4.0) among leading manufacturing executives from large organisations, to understand how they anticipate Brexit will impact them - and what are their highest priorities for a long-term and coherent industrial strategy from the UK government.

Recommendations based on these findings will contribute to the dialogue between government, manufacturers and the education system. A focus on openness to foreign investment, access to talent, engagement with new markets, a positive regulatory and legal environment and a coherent industrial strategy, will drive the UK to new levels of competitiveness and ensure manufacturers are ready to capitalise on Industry 4.0. The future is made here.

Key findings from the report

  • 78% of manufacturers agree innovation is, and will remain, the bedrock of UK manufacturing.
  • 54% of manufacturing execs believe access to a better educated workforce would boost their productivity.
  • 45% of manufacturers believe a ‘hard’ Brexit will have a negative impact on their organisation.
  • 40% of the UK’s largest manufacturers are considering moving some aspects of their plant or operations out of the UK to boost productivity or reduce costs.
  • 72% of manufacturers find the UK government's current regional approach to be disjointed and unclear.

To find out more download our Rethink manufacturing report.


For further information please contact Stephen Cooper, Head of Industrial Manufacturing.

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