Why plant resilience matters: unlocking productivity opportunities

Emma Botfield

Emma Botfield, UK and Ireland Managing Director, RS Components discusses why resilience matters more than ever and how plant sits at the heart of a resilient operation.

 As the world slowly emerges from the seismic impact of the global pandemic, many engineering companies are instigating plans and undertaking efforts to ensure a strong recovery.

This does, of course, raise questions about how prepared any organisation was in the first place, when it comes to withstanding the unique pressures of an unprecedented event such as the Covid-19 outbreak, that has touched all parts of the globe.

It, without doubt, highlights the critical importance of business resilience.

Rebounding from the past year’s events is an immediate priority.  But the fact that, if we transform manufacturing resilience over the long-term, we could add £26bn of much-needed productivity value to the UK economy, emphasises the importance of making the right strategic investment decisions to safeguard company resilience and drive future growth. This figure was revealed in The Resilience Index, our independent research that examined 20 years’ worth of data, and it’s certainly a significant revelation.

But what role does plant resilience play in helping industry grasp this productivity opportunity?

The findings of The Resilience Index tell us that by focussing on five investment areas, senior engineers can go a long way to building improved resilience that will support business security, enhance growth, and deliver commercial opportunity.

The five golden investment rules are:

  1. Anticipate Shocks – from cyber-attacks to changing trends in customer behaviour, using thorough research and analysis.
  2. Resist Disruptions – build resistance to disruptions for example, through flood or cyber defences, or relationships with trade unions.
  3. Absorb Shocks – this could be through establishing multiple production lines or facilities or adapting product lines or finding substitutes.
  4. Invest in Recovery – in the broadest sense, not just IT – such as insurance policies, systems and a culture that enables remote working and other measures to get back to capacity.
  5. Innovate for the Future – innovation requires an outward looking, agile company culture – just the kind of attitude that helps to progress the previous four resilience-building investment areas. Investing in transformation, including innovation and R&D is not just about making reactive incremental adaptions, but the proactive creation of new systems, products and, business models to ensure a business continues to be relevant. This type of transformation involves an element of target disruption to grow the business.

For senior engineers, these five areas help identify and inform where they need to invest to enhance their plant resilience. When combined with the creation of several scenarios of likely events through to extreme possibilities, and the support of ongoing inward investment to renew ageing assets, they can provide a roadmap to ensure long-term plant resilience, which should ultimately help unlock productivity gains.

Building supply chain resilience: panel session report

From RS’ perspective, we’re focused on helping senior engineers build that plant resilience by playing a strategic role in supply chains.  By offering bespoke services and solutions specifically aimed at helping across plant, from inventory and procurement to maintenance and design solutions, we work with senior engineers every day to help take on the challenges of building a resilient plant.

For the UK to unlock the £26bn opportunity available, it’s imperative we all work together across the supply chain to help build the nation’s plant resilience and ultimately, succeed together for the long-term.