Automated technology could boost UK economy by £60bn

Barclays has published research revealing that a potential £1.2bn investment to further the use of robotics and automation in UK manufacturing has the possibility to boost the economy by as much as 60bn throughout the next decade.

Ten years from now in 2025, the UK manufacturing sector has the opportunity to grow by almost 20%, or £38bn on today’s value to reach a giant £191bn. Protecting 100,000 jobs in the process, the ROI in manufacturing automation could be as high as £49 for every £1 invested.

Upkeep of UK Manufacturing Workforce

Investments in productivity and reliability will help UK manufacturing to achieve a greater level of international competitiveness, according to Barclays’ ‘Future-proofing UK manufacturing’ report 

Another effect, this time in relation to employment is the 32,000 jobs that will be generated as a result of increased productivity, wider supply chains, and logistical necessaries. In 2025 alone, these investments and adaptations hold the key to a further £3.9bn for UK manufacturing. Numbers of those employed will be preserved as a result of a larger, more prolific manufacturing space.

Barclays’ head of Manufacturing, Mike Rigby, had this to say about the research: “This report highlights the importance of investing in robotics and automation for manufacturers as a potential solution to the on-going ‘productivity puzzle”.

He goes on to note that first there are difficulties to manoeuvre, namely highlighting the need for user-friendly, smart technology, that plays to the strengths of the industry and helps manufacturers access the funding and knowledge already obtainable in relation to robotics investments.

Manufacturing has greatest repayment prospects of all industries

Alongside the pharmaceutical sector, Barclays view manufacturing, particularly food manufacturing, as the sector with the most to gain from automation investment. Its research depicts 10% growth in output between 2016 and 2020.

Over 50% of British Manufacturers are already investing 

Barclays discovered that more than half of UK manufacturers have already committed to automation investment; here, 65% reveal that their actions were justified, already experiencing greater productivity. A substantial 76% openly feel that further investment opportunities are appropriate in numerous manufacturing divisions such as parts manufacturing, assembly, and packaging.

There are obstacles to achieving superior levels of automation that must first be addressed in order for UK manufacturing to truly grip the future. Considerations such as funding, current limitations of technology and relevant workforce skills are examples of areas of concern. 

The base for investment is established once these considerations have been eradicated, then British manufacturing can truly move to create a larger, more productive sector that invests nearly as much as its notorious German equivalents (58% to 66% respectively).

Read the full Barclays report ‘Future-proofing UK manufacturing’ here

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