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MANUFACTURING RESILIENCE


TRACKING RESILIENCE LEVELS in the manufacturing industry


While many areas of UK manufacturing are showing vital signs in key measures of


business resilience, others, like food production, are more fragile


RS Components has commissioned an in-depth study to track the resilience of the UK’s most prominent industries. Some of the key findings of the Resilience Index are shared here...


S Components has launched the Resilience Index, one of the most comprehensive studies of UK resilience that paints a mixed picture for senior engineers looking to build resilience into their plant, process, and people in the years to come. Transforming manufacturing resilience in the UK could add £26bn of productivity value to the economy, bringing it in line with some of the best performing European nations and providing greater protection to the businesses and individuals that rely upon it, according to the Resilience Index commissioned by RS Components.


R Twenty years of data


The business commissioned an in-depth study which mined 20 years of data from six sources of data across investment, productivity, and employment to track the resilience of some of the UK’s most prominent industries. The Resilience Index reveals that, even though UK manufacturing’s resilience is higher than the UK average base, it needs to add 18 additional points, where one point of the Index is worth £1.4bn, to its score if it is to match some of the best performing nations for productivity and add £26bn to the economy. The research


shows that, when taking a broader look at the data and tracking industries such as manufacturing, construction, and financial services since 2001, the UK is consistently behind the western European average.


Resilience v. fragility


The study shows that while many areas of UK manufacturing are showing vital signs in key measures of business resilience, others are more fragile.


Food production, metals and the textiles sectors are not only below the manufacturing average, but below the UK average too. While they were making small gains in the early 2000s, after the financial crash of 2008 these reversed and have never recovered.


The chemicals industry is among the most resilient of the manufacturing categories. After suffering a dip, post-financial crisis levels have continued to improve at a speed greater than the manufacturing average – and in line with their consistently higher than average rates of investment.


The oil and gas manufacturing industry also shows high levels of resilience, although this fluctuates wildly depending on the


volatile price of oil and level of production. However, even when oil prices and production have been at their most extreme, resilience has still been at least 42% higher than the rest of the manufacturing sector.


The engineering and vehicles industry has remained fairly resilient. At the financial crash, its level of resilience faltered much less than the rest of the sector and UK economy. Not long after it rose again, supported by continued investment.


Facing challenges


Emma Botfield, UK & Ireland Managing Director, RS Components, said: “In the face of multiple economic, social and political challenges, this study shows what many senior engineers have known and feared for many years - UK manufacturing has to build greater resilience to improve performance.


“Our sector is improving productivity and safety all the time, but it still stands behind Europe in output, and that is something which must change for future growth and prosperity. We certainly have the potential


APRIL 2021 | PROCESS & CONTROL 47


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