Supply chain resilience a focus for 64% of manufacturers in 2022

Nearly two thirds of manufacturing leaders will make their organisations' supply chains more resilient in 2022, according to research from Digital Catapult.

The survey of 100 UK manufacturing leaders at director level and above conducted by the technology consultancy firm in November 2021 also found that supply crises were listed as the main reason for manufacturers to innovate business models this year.

Key challenges manufacturers are currently grappling with include parts and materials shortages, sudden factory shutdowns and unfinished products, and consumers facing long queues, late deliveries and in some cases empty shelves.

Over half (51 per cent) of respondents said that building more data-driven supply chains was the greatest opportunity to make their organisation more resilient and sustainable over the next 12 months.

Amongst the primary motivating factors for manufacturing companies to implement digital innovation initiatives across their organisation are the prospect of reducing operational costs (57 per cent), growing their business (54 per cent), or becoming more competitive (51 per cent).

When it comes to the technologies currently at the top of the list of priorities for manufacturers, the cloud, predictive analytics and Internet of Things came out on top, while other tech likely to attract investment includes Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) (44 per cent) and digital twins (48 per cent).

The survey found that the top investment priorities for manufacturers for 2022 are as follows:

Cloud – 67 per cent
IoT – 61 per cent
Predictive Analytics - 61 per cent
Robotics - 56 per cent
AI – 54 per cent
5G – 54 per cent
Blockchain – 51 per cent
Digital Twins - 48 per cent
Additive Manufacturing – 46 per cent
VR/AR – 44 per cent

Commenting on the findings, Tim Lawrence, director of digital supply chains at Digital Catapult said: “Amongst other factors, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made both industry and consumers keenly aware of global supply chain inadequacies. From empty shelves to petrol queues and driver shortages, bosses from across all industries are taking note that our brittle supply chains are longer fit for purpose.

“It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that UK industrial pros have highlighted overhauling supply chains as a top strategic priority in 2022.

“Exploring how advanced digital technologies can facilitate the smooth flow of goods and services will need to be top of the list in 2022, as manufacturers large and small make data transparency, sharing vital insights and predicting shocks their goal.”

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