More than half (55%) of manufacturers admitted technology was not part of their future vision and growth plan. This was highest among micro-businesses (60%).
Further probing found that business leaders were more likely to upgrade existing technologies to maintain continuity rather than to improve productivity.
The research suggests too few are approaching the opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in a planned, strategic manner.
Donna Edwards, programme director for the Made Smarter North West pilot, says the answer to a successful digital transformation is a holistic approach.
“What is clear from our survey is that manufacturers recognise that digital tools and technology are essential to remain competitive, cut costs, increase growth, and enhance the customer experience, and without capitalising on the opportunities digital technology offers, they risk getting left behind,” she said.
“But it is also clear that too many makers have employed technology without the technical understanding of which areas to focus on first – which leads to disparate, disconnected equipment, and increases the risk of wasted time, money and effort.
"Whilst digital tools enable opportunities, it’s how we choose to use these that determines their success.”