The United Kingdom ranks first in Europe for the development and uptake of advanced digital technologies [1], but what is the impact that investing in innovation can have on the North East process and manufacturing industries?  

Last quarter, Sunderland Software City and Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley teamed together with NEPIC to host a dinner discussion surrounding the region’s experiences with advanced digital technologies and to understand and frame the challenges facing.  

Innovation can play a key role in improving productivity, efficiency, and performance for all businesses but can be particularly poignant for the manufacturing and process industries.

Why Is This?

Cost Savings  

For some businesses within the processes industry, a key issue arises with the cost of lost production. This is often a result of machine downtime which has a knock-on effect on supply, result in potential incurring costs as well as an uptick in hidden costs.  

In the future, IoT architecture using simple sensors could allow machine faults and failures to be predicted through live data mapping. This would send an alert to highlight the issue at hand and machine repairs could then be made quickly before complete breakdown and lengthy machine downtime. Not just this, but with live data and sensors on machinery, businesses could therefore track how well machines are working and any reoccurring problem areas to keep an eye on. In addition to this, with live data readily available, insurance premiums would often be reduced as there is a more accurate reflection of how everything is working correctly. Overall, this would reduce cost, errors and would improve both productivity and safety.  

Training  

Training new starters or staff on new systems is an essential part of every business and safety has to be at the forefront of our minds.  

Virtual and augmented reality is now being adopted more and more in the industry to ensure that training can first be done in the safety of a classroom and not in a dangerous environment. This allows employees to learn processes, practice and develop muscle memory before they start their job.  

Sustainability  

Many organisations across the UK are looking to reach net-zero goals to reduce their carbon emissions and their impact on our planet. But how can digital technology support this?  

Already over the past few years, there has been a shift to remote working. In previous years, engineers would travel all over the world when machines needed repairing or staff needed to be trained up on new systems. Now the options are there for this to all happen remotely, aided by advanced digital technologies. Not only does this save money but also reduces the businesses carbon footprint.  

Digital resilience is key to building a strong business and a sustainable world. Twin transformers are those businesses linking digital and sustainable transformation together and these companies pursuing a twin transformation are 2.5x more likely to be among tomorrow’s leaders [2].

Efficiency  

We already know that digital systems are more efficient than paper records.  

It can be as simple as putting a live tracker on each of the batches of products produced. With this live tracking, data can be instantly curated to show where all of the stock is, how long it has been in a certain location, how much of it there is and what condition it is in.  

Simply put, there will be no more lost product, a reduction in wasted materials and more importantly, more money saved. 

Getting Started

Our team of industry experts at the Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley nurture the growth of businesses across the North East Tees Valley by supporting them to shape and drive productivity through the adoption of advanced digital technologies. There is a wide range of services that we can offer to both startups and large businesses alike.  

If you would like to find out more about the Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley, you can check out our website here 

Final Thoughts 

Adopting advanced digital technologies to support your business does not have to cost millions of pounds and take years and years, by implementing smaller changes more frequently, not only will productivity be increased, but it is likely to save some pennies in the long run too.  

Many thanks to the businesses that joined us to chat about their challenges, successes, and next steps to adopting innovative digital technologies.  

For more information and to continue the conversation surrounding innovative technologies, please get in touch with ashmita.randhawa@sunderlandsoftwarecity.com