IT Strategy for Welsh Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sector
Manufacturing is the third largest sector in the UK economy, in terms of share of UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Statistics show that in 2009 the UK manufacturing sector generated around £140bn in gross value added (GVA), representing just over 11% of the UK economy and employing around 2.6 million people, representing over 8% of the UK workforce.
One of the rising contributors to the growth of the UK is the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sector (“AM&M”). AM&M describes businesses which use a high level of design or scientific skills to produce products or develop processes which are technologically complex and capable of penetrating the high growth markets of the future.
Some of the largest AM&M companies are based in Wales and underpin some of the major export and employment industries within the country. The Welsh AM&M sector employs around 142,000 people, which equates to 11% of the Welsh workforce. Similarly, the Automotive, Aerospace, Optoelectronics and Process Engineering industries combined contribute an estimated £10-12bn to the Welsh economy.
Given the sector’s importance, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) are detailing an ICT strategy in order to keep Welsh-based businesses competitive in the global market. With uncertainties in the Eurozone effecting export numbers and Supply Chain risks impacting on lean manufacturing, UK companies have to move away from just offering a product, to offering a holistic solution for their clients. This ‘servizisation’ of manufacturing encompasses professional support services, logistics and distribution, sales and marketing, and research and development activities. All of these services require investment in smarter manufacturing systems.
AP Benson have been chosen by WAG to develop an evidence base for the ICT strategy, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the sector currently, while also investigating the opportunities and benefits which the AM&M companies can exploit through the use of new and emerging ICT technologies.
AP Benson's Managing Director, Tom Girn, said "We're delighted to have been selected again by the Welsh Government to develop a sound evidence base to show how AM&M companies can plan for the future through the adoption, implementation and exploitation of new and emerging technologies. We are pleased that we can continue to support Welsh businesses and the UK economy as a whole by helping companies reach their goals through IT Transformation."
Gerard Fannon: Junior Researcher