New technology in the manufacturing industry is a chance for both large and small business to grow and excel.

That’s the view of Kevin Bull, Product Strategy Director at leading digital business services provider Columbus UK.

Bull believes that the new technology is a vital evolution which needs to be embraced by smaller manufacturing businesses to keep them from falling behind their larger competitors.

“The unanimous verdict is that Industry 4.0 has arrived in the UK,” he said.

“SMBs can now exploit the falling costs of sensors and connected devices to link together people, processes and plant equipment,” he explained.

“This is generating an unprecedented volume of data to be captured, processed and actioned, helping put SMBs on a level playing field with their bigger competitors.”

Bull believes that advanced data analytics can be used to exploit new business models and processes such as ‘servitisation’ – the use of data within a business to develop a more detailed customer profile.

“Servitisation offers a unique opportunity to develop closer customer relationships and in turn retain them for longer, developing new revenue streams by bundling additional services with products,” he said.

“By embracing this business model, manufacturers can put the customer at the heart of their own digital transformation.

“Data analytics will certainly be at the core of a customer-centric strategy, using granular data for a better understanding of customer requirements, expectations and product usage.”

The report found that 66% of UK manufacturers considered digital technologies as a major growth driver in the industry.

The report also found that respondents believe digitisation is already helping to minimise equipment deterioration and improve operational efficiency.

“The future technology requirements of every organisation in the manufacturing sector will not be uniform – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to digital transformation,” he said.

“Companies of all sizes should be looking to digitise processes and equipment related to their focus markets and client-base to enable them to improve their bottom line, meet the expectations of their customers and stay ahead of that competitive curve.”