In our monthly series of industry blogs, we look at the global changes and trends affecting the UK Manufacturing industry, as well as pressing issues on a national scale.
Christmas, Brexit, technology and global environmental sustainability continue to be major focuses in October.
Here we explore several of the big stories so far, this October.
Brexit deadline comes as warehousing activity ramps up ahead of the festive season, making planning for both events harder Economist at the Dutch bank ING James Smith, said: “Inventory levels are still perceived to be fairly high, but also warehousing space is becoming more constrained given the close proximity to Black Friday and Christmas.” Some firms have also started stockpiling beer, wine and spirits to keep the alcohol flowing at Christmas, where other companies such as Greggs, have confirmed they may have to stop selling certain products as they will be unable to find suitable alternatives.
Slow-moving UK manufacturers risk falling behind the rest of the world on AI Organisations using AI now outperform those that aren’t by over 10%; meaning there’s serious risk of businesses falling behind global competitors unless they act now to accelerate the use of AI technology. Given the current economic and political climate, UK businesses cannot afford to pass up the opportunity AI provides. Less than a quarter of UK organisations have an AI strategy in place, and almost three-quarters (74%) of the nation’s business leaders doubt the country has the socio-economic structures in place to lead in AI on the global stage.
Unilever commits to halving the use of new plastics by 2025 Consumer giant Unilever has announced plans to half its use of new plastics, eliminating over 100,000 tonnes of packaging by 2025. The supplier, committed to creating a waste-free world, claims to be “the first major global consumer goods company to commit to an absolute plastics reduction across its portfolio”. The business will invest in reusable and/or refillable packs, plastic-free solutions such as alternative packaging materials or ‘naked’ products, and reducing the amount of plastic in existing packaging. Unilever has said it will also help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells in an attempt to help offset the environmental impact of the business.
Why we should bring manufacturing closer to home Given the issues and continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, onshoring is becoming a popular option for many businesses. Previously, ‘offshoring’ could help reduce operating expenses as well as enabling businesses to produce quality products for less. However, onshoring is becoming a rising trend in manufacturing due to a domestic demand for goods that is often assembled close to final demand. Benefits can include shorter supply chains and lead times, lower costs (given overseas taxes and transport costs) as well as the ‘Made in Britain’ stamp; which remains a sign of quality and craftmanship.
Bentley’s Crewe factory is certified carbon neutral As many business are working harder to reduce waste and protect the environment, Bentley Motors, this month received their carbon neutral certification from the Carbon Trust. 100% of the prestige car manufacturers electricity is also either generated by on-site solar panels or bought as certified as green electricity. The certification is the result of over twenty years of work to make the Crewe site as carbon and energy efficient as possible.
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