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It’s been a rough ride for manufacturing these past few years. Covid-19, the on-going Russia-Ukraine war, and slow economic growth combined with increased costs caused by an energy price hike and high interest rates are the key contributors. But drawing on insights from a recent survey from Make UK and PwC, manufacturers have increased optimism for the industry, with some even superseding their European rivals. According to the survey of over 200 senior manufacturing executives, most companies are seeing opportunities outweigh the risks to their business, with plans to invest in new products, expand into new markets, and accelerate their use of digital technologies to improve business performance. So, what does this mean for the future of manufacturing? We’ve delved into the research to bring forward a vision of what this will look like, exploring six pivotal areas where manufacturers can navigate around the challenges, and leverage opportunities with strategic marketing. Each week we’ll publish a new article that delves deeper into these areas, but for now, here are the key themes.

1. Digital Transformation in Manufacturing
2. Sustainability and Net Zero Goals
3. Navigating Global Competition
4. Skills and Talent Acquisition
5. Innovation and Product Development
6. Overcoming Supply Chain Disruptions

How Content Marketing can improve the sales cycle

1. Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

The survey underscores the critical role of digitalisation in manufacturing. By harnessing digital technologies, manufacturers can enhance productivity and expand their market reach. For example, adopting IoT and AI for predictive maintenance can significantly reduce downtime, while a robust marketing strategy communicates these innovations, attracting global partnerships.

Read further on Digital Transformation in Manufacturing >>>

2. Sustainability and Net Zero Goals

With tougher sustainability and net zero regulations in the pipeline within both domestic and foreign markets (notably in the EU), the concept of green manufacturing is no longer optional, but necessary. The survey highlights UK manufacturers’ commitment to achieving net zero goals, offering a competitive edge in the market. But highlighting your commitment to sustainability needs to be done with care to avoid “greenwashing”. It’s a fresh brand strategy that goes deeper than a simple change of logo and a new strapline including internal & external comms that help bring the business and its customers together.

Read further on Opportunities in Sustainability & Net Zero >>>

In the research, 27% of companies said they see major opportunities with new international markets, and 23% said they see opportunities to export goods to new countries. But in the face global competition, a unique selling proposition (USP) and business differentiation is key to winning new business and expanding market share. This is where Strategic marketing and branding come in. It’s the process of presenting a USP in a new and memorable way. Done correctly, it gets heard by your audience, increases brand recall, and drives more sales.

4. Skills and Talent Acquisition

The skilled labour shortage has been a top hindering factor for manufactures the past decade, as noted in the executive survey. The top-level factors that drive employee acquisition and retention are:

  • competitive compensation
  • work-life balance
  • career development.

But there’s more that can be done to overcome this challenge. A strong employer brand, amplified through digital channels can make a significant difference. Highlighting a company’s culture, innovation, and commitment to values can attract the right talent, addressing the skills gap in the sector.

5. Innovation and Product Development

Continuous innovation ensures a competitive edge. The research reveals a focus on R&D and product development as manufacturers seek to meet evolving market demands. Marketing can play a crucial role here, creating buzz around new product launches and demonstrating a company’s innovation leadership through written case studies and thought leadership content.

6. Overcoming Supply Chain Disruptions

The last few years have demonstrated the vulnerability of global supply chains. Already manufacturers over the world are considering sourcing goods more locally, which makes sense for UK manufacturers to consider adopting a similar strategy. But proactive communication can mitigate risks posed with supply chain disruptions, building resilience through stronger relationships with suppliers and customers. Sharing stories of how companies navigate these challenges, perhaps through adopting local supply chains or investing in technology that predicts disruption, can inspire confidence among stakeholders.

It’s clear that despite the difficult path manufacturing has navigated in recent years, the research conducted by Make UK and PwC shows a tangible wave of optimism. It showcases a resilient industry that is not only rebounding but now imagining its future. Manufacturers are actively seizing opportunities to innovate, invest, and integrate digital technologies, moving them towards a future where they are not just survivors but pioneers.

The six themes we’ve unveiled illustrate a roadmap for navigating the complexities and taking advantage of the opportunities. As manufacturers continue to adapt and evolve, the importance of strategic marketing in communicating what we’ve outlined cannot be overstated.

As we delve deeper into each theme in the coming weeks, our aim is to provide manufacturers with insights and strategies needed to thrive in the future. It’s a bright future for manufacturing, and through collaboration and strategic foresights, the sector is well positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Need a hand?

At Beach Marketing, we stand ready to partner with manufacturers, leveraging our expertise in the industry to deliver impact, growth, and ROI. Talk to us about outlining a future for your manufacturing business by filling out the form below.

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