Updates on the Manufacturing industry and looking forward to 2024

Manufacturing and Technology in 2023

Manufacturing in 2023 was a world of change. 2023 was certainly the year of AI in the world of technology, but what impact did that have on the manufacturing industry?

Manufacturing and Technology in 2023

Manufacturing in 2023

The UK manufacturing industry faced another challenging year in 2023, as it continued to deal with the effects of the pandemic, Brexit, inflation and labour shortages. According to the Office for National Statistics, UK manufacturers' product sales was £429.8 billion in 2022, an increase of 7% from 2021, but the sector shrank by about 4% in terms of actual output. The expected figures for 2023 are not optimistic, with a projected decline of 3.2% in output, according to Make UK/BDO.

Some sectors, such as electronics and mechanical equipment manufacturers, have seen a rebound in activity and demand, especially from overseas markets. These sectors are bucking the trends due to benefiting from the digitalisation and innovation trends that are transforming the industry. They are also being boosted in UK sales government's super deduction scheme that encourages investment in new machinery and equipment. The scheme ended in March 2023, so the growth of these sectors may have faced a slow-down. However, with Industry 4.0 and AI technologies becoming prevalent in businesses as a whole, modernisation will continue to be necessary and UK manufacturing has been working hard to get ahead.

The adoption of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, internet of things and other software solutions that enhance productivity, efficiency and quality have actually been a big factor in the manufacturing industry. These technologies enable manufacturers to optimise their processes, reduce costs, improve customer service and access new markets. However, they also require new skills, infrastructure and security measures that pose challenges for some firms – not to mention finding solutions that are actually available on the market.

The UK manufacturing industry is at a crossroads in 2023. It has to overcome the difficulties caused by external shocks and structural changes, while seizing the opportunities offered by technological innovation and global demand. The industry needs to be resilient, agile and competitive to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic world.

The Truth about Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing

Artificial Intelligence

The explosion of Artificial Intelligence in the news and in our lives, with the likes of Chat GPT, has certainly made everyone aware of the emergence of AI. But besides writing Tinder profiles and funny pictures of celebrities, are there any actual applications in industry?

Sales and Marketing Leading the Way

It is fair to say that sales and marketing is leading the way in the AI revolution. Partly, because it is very much language based, where a lot of AI has been focussed. Marketing tools to help create content and graphics have exploded into the marketplace with adoption rates being surprisingly high considering the level of trepidation people feel for the technology. With tools such as Microsoft’s Copilot, sales function is being revolutionized, with automated email creation, call logging, sentiment analysis and more.

AI in the World of Doing and Making

Where Artificial Intelligence has been slower to emerge has been where conversational language is less involved, particularly in back office, manufacturing and warehousing solutions. From a hardware perspective, AI will take a while to really reach manufacturing machines in the way that we understand the AI revolution. The concept of Internet of Things has been around for over a decade, yet cloud connected machines with data capture is still surprisingly uncommon. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the software world is in a race to bring capability to the market.


Microsoft’s Copilot, for example, is not only helping the sales and marketing teams. Already a big part of Microsoft 365 productivity suite, helping staff to be happier and more productive. But it gets more technical and role specific than general assistance. Copilot is coming to all of Microsoft’s platforms with a matter of urgency, including with their market leading ERP solution Business Central. Already coming into the solutions are tools such as AI driven statement matching and other finance tools. This focus from Microsoft means that wherever they can, AI tools will be implemented to aid business processes; even reimagining them.

Is it possible to Create Your Own AI solutions?

The idea of building your own AI IP is quite a big topic, partly due to complexity and partly due to the changes in marketplace. Over the last 10 years, companies trying to build their own specific AI solutions would require teams of high end PHDs and years of development. For most businesses, this is not a reality.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has been introducing AI learning tools into the Power Platform. Now, with Copilot, Microsoft is bringing forward AI tools for developers that means that it is not a ground-up design, but in fact using AI toolkits to build solutions.

The Manufacturing Industry in 2024

Moving forward, what does this mean for the manufacturing industry? Well, it is safe to say that the industry in general is teetering on a knife edge, with a difficult economy and high levels of competition. It is likely that those who fall behind on technology will fall by the wayside, whilst those who invest in technology have a better chance of being resilient. Whilst AI and industry 4.0 don’t have large amounts of ready-to-go solutions on an operational level, making sure that your business is running on platforms that will have “future tech” added to the capability is a must. With modern cloud based software, such as Microsoft 365 for Productivity, and Microsoft Dynamics  for CRM and ERP capabilities, you will be getting the tools that help you to stay ahead of the curve and lead the market.

Get ready for the future

Does Your Business Need Modern Software?

If you have read this article and are thinking, "we need to modernise", then why not talk to us about how a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP system with in-built Manufacturing and AI capability can suit your business. 

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