UK manufacturing is the 9th largest in the world by output and includes sectors ranging from aerospace and steel production to textiles and food and drink. In 2018, manufacturing in the UK accounted for:
- 8% of jobs, 2.7 million in total
- £191 billion of economic output, or 10% of the UK total
- 42% of UK exports, worth £275 billion
- 65% (£16 billion) of UK research and development spending.
Media reports showing productivity in the manufacturing sector have the UK often lagging behind the other G7 members (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States). Further, with the transition period coming to an end on the December 31 and no EU Trade deal, the impact of Brexit on manufacturing productivity is unknown. Add COVID-19 into the mix and you have perhaps the most challenging of times for UK manufacturers in a generation.
UK manufacturing trade associations broadly welcomed the Withdrawal Agreement, which sets the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union, with some suggesting this will be a new dawn for UK manufacturing. Meanwhile, others are concerned that leaving the union will probably increase the cost of conducting business, investment plans, cross border supplies and the hiring and retention of skilled labour. Having a business that is prepared for the challenge and able to take advantage of new opportunities is critical.
For some UK manufacturers, Brexit and COVID-19 can be the catalysts that force them to look at their manufacturing process and identify where they can eliminate inefficiencies and automate manual tasks to improve production and gain more visibility. In particular, manufacturers are using mobile devices to capture shop floor data and improve processes in the following areas.
You have a rush order and you want to track the process, that is, the time, stock and steps it takes from the start of production to when an order is complete.
A mobile device connected to the ERP system allows the production operator to start new work on a work order, report both production quantity and consumed component quantities for a date and shift, and even be able to end the order directly from the mobile device.
This eliminates the traditional process of filling out the production sheet that is passed onto a production manager who may enter the data at the end of a shift, which could lead to input errors and duplicate data.
A production operator can also save production time by using a mobile device to record the shop floor data on a user-friendly screen with pages configured and customised to suit business specific processes.
For the production manager who wants real-time visibility of the order in production, a connected mobile device allows them to review data the production operator has entered and not have to be there to monitor progress or wait until the end of the process when a production sheet is complete. This helps control the update of inventory and financial records, better respond to inaccurate data or errors and can initiate processes to correct discrepancies and reprocess data.
This improves shop floor visibility through dashboard KPIs and reports in real-time. You get a consistent user experience and improved control over when inventory and financial production implications are reported.
Staff can waste time searching for documents during the manufacturing process. A mobile solution can help manufacturers eliminate much of that paperwork.
With single data entry during the process, and with appropriate checks and balances to prevent bad data from getting into the system, a mobile device can accommodate multiple users per device and multiple jobs per user.
The NetSuite Manufacturing Mobile solution allows businesses to use mobile devices to capture manufacturing shop floor data. The mobile app is easy to use with an intuitively designed interface. You can record data with minimal training and requires less data entry than a traditional full user interface experience.
Learn more about NetSuite’s manufacturing solution by watching the on-demand webinar ‘Building Resilience in the Manufacturing Sector.’
 House of Commons Briefing Paper 10th January 2020 – Manufacturing: Statistics & Policy.
 The UK in a changing Europe: Economic & Social Research Council – Kings College, London. June 2020.