E-business message fails to wake slumbering manufacturing sector



The message isn't getting through - 42% of the UK manufacturing industry does not have an e-business strategy.

The Benchmark Research survey released...



The message isn't getting through - 42% of the UK manufacturing industry does not have an e-business strategy.

The Benchmark Research survey released at the Computers in Manufacturing 2000 (CIM2000) show last week revealed UK manufacturing as a sector slumbering while events march on.

But the offerings on show demonstrated what is possible if e-business methods are applied. The sheer number of operations and relationships in the production of goods gives vast scope for squeezing out cost.

But the CIM2000 show had the air of a depressed sector. The biggest suppliers of ERP software were largely absent, and as for visitorsÉ well, it wasn't too crowded. But, why?

The Benchmark survey reveals that high costs and a shortage of internal resources are the major obstacles to e-manufacturing, but there is also ignorance - 47% of decision makers in the sector have never heard of online exchanges or e-marketplaces. In other words, UK manufacturers are not buying into e-business because they cannot afford to or do not see the need to.

This should ring warning bells for the Government, top-tier manufacturers and IT suppliers.

The supply chain by its nature includes smaller firms, and in the UK it is these SMEs that will be wiped out by smarter competition - companies that know how to bid for contracts via the Web and have cut costs by e-automating their processes from start to finish.

The CIM2000 mantra for UK manufacturing was "from top floor to shop floor". In the UK this will never happen unless manufacturing is given the means and the inclination to invest in IT.

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